Edwards Indictment Could Affect Local Political Races


CHARLOTTE, N.C.,RALEIGH, N.C. - One political expert said John Edwards' trial could affect certain local political races this fall, but the head of Mecklenburg County's Democratic Party disagrees.

Eyewitness News asked the party chairwoman, Aisha Dew, if Edwards' indictment was a black eye for the Democratic Party, especially in North Carolina.

"No, not at all," Dew said. "In either party, there are going to be people who do things personally, or even during their own campaigns, that are unfortunate and not positive. But I don't think it reflects directly on either party."

Political science professor Dr Michael Bitzer said it's been a bad week for Charlotte Democrats.

"With the melee on Speed Street this past week and then this Edwards indictment hitting at the end of the week, local Democrats have to be shaking their heads thinking, 'What else can happen?'" said Dr. Bitzer, of Catawba College.

Bitzer said this won't have an impact when the Democratic National Convention rolls into town next year but said it could play a part in a major local race.

"The real test is going to be this fall, with Charlotte's mayoral election. Anthony Foxx is going to be running again for re-election, and if there's any kind of impact, it may be there," Bitzer said.

Local Democrats said they're confident the Edwards scandal won't hurt their campaigns, despite the upcoming trial.

"We're going to stay on message and stay focused on what needs to happen," Dew said.

Bitzer said it's clear that President Barack Obama has once again made North Carolina a key battleground state and the trial is a distraction his campaign doesn't need.