CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In a surprise to some, Mayor Pro-Tem Vi Lyles beat out incumbent Jennifer Roberts Tuesday.
Republican challenger Kenny Smith will go head-to-head with Lyles in November’s election.
“It's not just surreal, it's humbling,” Lyles said.
Lyles said on Wednesday she has been preparing for months to fight Smith in the general election.
“We've talked about where are we alike, where are we different,” Lyles said.
One big difference is the experience.
Lyles is serving her second term on council and worked for the city for nearly 30 years.
"I've been in the city a very long time and I have got the experience to talk about where the money is, where it goes, how we should get there and the commitment to the community.”
Smith said a vote for Lyles would be like voting for Mayor Jennifer Roberts all over again.
“Lyles has voted for all policies the mayor put forth,” Smith said.
Smith said he is the candidate that will bring change.
“We have a vision for the city. We have the record furthest from Jennifer Roberts,” Smith said. “We have the leadership, skill-set necessary to implement the long-term vision this city needs.”
Lyles said Tuesday night’s vote proves she is distinct from Roberts and voters can trust to move the city forward.
Lyles said if you work in Charlotte you should be able to live here. That’s the top priority she will tackle if she wins the general election.
Smith is putting a plan in place so that Charlotte can manage growth over the next 25 years.
Mayor Pro Tem Lyles defeats incumbent Mayor Roberts in primary
The woman who is second in command to the mayor of Charlotte has won a bid to replace her.
Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles defeated incumbent Jennifer Roberts in the Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday. Before all the votes were counted, Roberts conceded the race to Lyles.
With 88 percent of the precincts reporting, Lyles had 46 percent of the vote, to 36 percent for Roberts. State Sen. Joel Ford was third with 15 percent.
Lyles will face Kenny Smith, the runaway winner in the Republican primary who served with Lyles on the Charlotte City Council. Smith had garnered nearly 89 percent of the vote with most precincts reporting.
The general election is scheduled for Nov. 7.
Lyles said she worked very hard to get out her message and will continue to push that message into the November election.
“It is about a progressive agenda. It is about providing those things we talk about: economic opportunities, affordable housing, great communities.”
State election officials had initially expressed concern that Hurricane Irma could impact the primary, but the storm's course veered away from the state and has lost much of its strength inland before ballots were cast.
Lyles is the first African-American woman to be nominated for Charlotte mayor.
In addition to a new mayor, City Council will also get at least two new at-large-members and new representatives in four districts.
At-large incumbent Claire Fallon did not make the cut for the general election.
Braxton Winston and Dimple Ajmera will join incumbents James Mitchell and Julie Eiselt on the November ballot. They'll run against Republicans and a Libertarian who did not have a primary.
Districts 1, 2, 5 and 6 will also get new representatives.
Patsy Kinsey lost her District 1 seat to Larken Egleston. District 2's Carlenia Ivory did not run for re-election, and a new candidate will fill seats left open by Kenny Smith and Ajmera.
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