CHARLOTTE, N.C.,None - An important trend emerged after Tuesday night’s votes were tallied that could play a major role in next year’s gubernatorial and presidential races.
Straight party ticket votes helped swing the Charlotte City Council to a 9-2 majority.
Republicans may be running the state legislature, but Democrats are firmly in control of the city of Charlotte. The flexed their party muscles Tuesday night with turnout and straight-ticket voting that is changing the political landscape.
It was more than just a victory for Mayor Anthony Foxx; it was a red-letter day for the blue party in Charlotte, led by a “Get Out The Vote” machine set up by Obama campaign in 2008. County Democratic Chairwoman Aisha Dew says the machine and the party base are still energized.
“We knocked on more doors. We made more phone calls. We did more outreach. We utilized more social media,” she said.
In the end, that effort convinced more Democrats to vote a straight ticket, by pushing one button for every Democrat on the ballot.
New voting numbers show it worked. Nearly 23,000 Democrats voted straight ticket. By comparison, only 11,000 Republicans did.
It was a Democratic landslide that some experts said could spell trouble for Pat McCrory, the former Charlotte mayor expected to challenge Gov. Bev Perdue in next year’s election.
“McCrory’s got to be concerned about the urban vote going more and more democratic. He’s got to play in rural areas and he’s also got to battle in suburban areas,” said political expert Michael Bitzer.
For now, Democrats are basking in their victories, including the new majority on the city council. Not even the mayor is sure what to make of the democratic swing.
“I’ve never been in that boat. I don’t think anyone’s been in that boat, so we’ll be in that new boat together,” Foxx said.
Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to recover from low voter turnout and a sound defeat.
“This has got to be the ‘Big Ben’ of wake up calls for the GOP in Mecklenburg County, and particularly in Charlotte,” Bitzer said.
McCrory did not return calls seeking comment on the election results.
The chairman of the county Republican party said his party needs to re-energize the base.
Previous Stories: November 9, 2011: Foxx: 1st Democrat to win second term as Charlotte mayor since 1985 November 9, 2011: Landis mayoral race ends in a tie November 8, 2011: County-by-county election results November 7, 2011: At-large council candidates’ war chests vary greatly November 7, 2011: Mayoral candidates reach out to voters before election November 7, 2011: School Board election will shape future of CMS