Charlotte’s Mayoral race heats up with mystery donors and national interest

Political race or chair-smashing cage-match?:

In a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-1, two prominent Democrats are challenging Mayor Jennifer Roberts in the primary. Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles and state Sen. Joel Ford have each raised a lot of money. Lyles has raised $215,000; Ford, $205,000. Republican council member Kenny Smith has raised $260,000. But candidates aren’t the only ones spending money.

At least two outside “dark money” groups that don’t have to disclose donors are getting involved. So is a super-PAC affiliated with the N.C. Association of Realtors. One of the so-called social welfare groups, Queen City Leadership, supports Ford. The other, called Forward Charlotte, is run by a former Republican operative. Democracy for America, a PAC founded by former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, is backing Lyles.

Not even going to try to read the tea leaves on the Democratic Primary, but I do hope it doesn’t get as nasty as I think it might. Whoever wins *should* have no problem in the General Election. But then there’s also Pat McCrory and Richard Vinroot. It’s not like Republican men have never succeeded in this effort. And this issue may also play a role:

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