Charlotte Republicans file to run for local offices

CHARLOTTE — With a little pomp and circumstance, Charlotte Republicans have filed to run for office.

Stephanie de Sarachaga-Bilbao is running for mayor at the top of the ticket.

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“We have an incredible city, but I feel like the alma, the soul of the city, we have an opportunity to remake it,” she said.

De Sarachaga-Bilbao is a first-time political candidate with a background in media and finance, and says she grew up in the Queen City. She is married to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officer and says public safety will be at the top of her platform.

“I respect the current administration for their over 20 years of public service,” she said. “They have shepherded the city at various times, but I feel like it is time to move on.”

Councilman Tariq Bokhari is playing kingmaker, recruiting the mayoral, district and at-large candidates. He says in an election during the summer that has a low turnout that odds are favorable for the GOP to have success.

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“We’re expecting a red wave like we saw in Virginia, New Jersey and the San Francisco School Board,” Bokhari said. “If the turnout numbers are as low, which is not a good thing, but I expect them to be, what is to stop a wave of red sweeping in four Republican at-large people?”

In a city that’s 21% Republican, Democratic strategist Dan McCorkle says, “Good luck.”

“They are bunch of untested, basically rookie candidates,” McCorkle said. “That would be the biggest Houdini trick I’ve seen in my life.”

No matter how competitive the races end up, McCorkle says it’s voters who benefit by having choices.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” he said. “Let’s have competitive races through North Carolina and may the best candidates and voters win.”

Filing ends on Friday at noon and the primary is May 17. The general election for Charlotte races only is in July.

In response to the GOP filing, LaToya Evans, spokesperson for Mayor Vi Lyles, said the mayor is focused on her platform of improving Charlotte’s economic mobility.

“Mayor Lyles is focused on seeking a third term to continue creating a more equitable Charlotte through transportation, affordable housing and jobs while furthering the city’s historic growth under her leadership,” Evans said.

At-large candidates as of March 2:

Democrat:

  • Dimple Ajmera
  • Larken Egleston
  • LaWana Slack-Mayfield

Republican:

  • Kyle Luebke
  • David Merrill
  • Charlie Mulligan
  • Carrie Olinski

Mayoral candidates as of March 2:

Democrat:

  • Vi Lyles
  • Tigress Sydney Acute McDaniel
  • Lucille Puckett

Republican:

  • Stephanie de Sarachaga-Bilbao