Election season is officially here. In-person early voting for the 2022 general election began Oct. 20 in North Carolina and will end on Nov. 5. Absentee ballot requests must be in by Nov. 1 and Election Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
There are over 20 early voting sites across Mecklenburg County, including Bank of America Stadium in Uptown Charlotte, where you can cast your ballot early for races ranging from U.S. Senate to Mecklenburg County Commissioners.
We put together a guide to who’s on your ballot if you live in Mecklenburg County, and if you’re unsure about where you fit into all this, the NC Board of Elections has a nifty Voter Search tool to help fill you in on where you’re voting and what you’re voting on, among other things.
This is arguably the biggest race in North Carolina, and one of national importance, as candidates will fight to fill a seat that’s been held by Richard Burr for nearly 20 years.
- Cheri Beasley (Dem)
Beasley was the first Black woman to serve as the chief justice of the NC Supreme Court, doing so from 2019-20. She ran for a full term in 2020, but lost by only 401 votes to Associate Justice Paul Newby. She’s running on a platform that includes lowering costs, creating good-paying jobs and expanding access to health care statewide.
- Ted Budd (Rep)
During a debate against Beasley in early October, Budd said he agreed with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, insisting that decisions on abortion rights should belong to each individual state, and stated that President Joe Biden’s recent decision to pardon all federal possession of marijuana charges “sends a bad message to children.”
- Shannon W. Bray (Lib)
Bray’s website states that he works at the Department of Defense, though he described himself as a “tech entrepreneur” to the Charlotte Observer. His main platform issues involve investigating the government for spying on its residents, lowering taxes and repealing the War on Drugs.
- Matthew Hoh (Green)
In August, Hoh won a court battle to put his Green party on the ballot this election after they faced allegations of fraud during the petition process. Hoh is running on an anti-war platform, but not just overseas, “it’s also the wars against the working class, the continued racial injustices, the War on Drugs, the criminal for-profit health care system, [and] our unsustainable housing crisis.”
US HOUSE (12)
- Alma S. Adams (Dem) — Incumbent
Adams has served in the 12th District since winning a special election to replace former rep Mel Watt in 2014. She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Arts Caucus, and was a staunch opponent of President Donald Trump during his time in office.
- Tyler Lee (Rep)
A real estate investor who says he was inspired to run in 2020 when the government called strip clubs essential, Lee wants to put a freeze on all immigration to the United States and increase funding to the military to stand up to China and Russia.
US HOUSE (14)
- Jeff Jackson (Dem)
NC Sen. Jackson bowed out of the Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate against Cheri Beasley in December 2021, throwing his support behind her before hopping into the race for the House of Representatives’ 14th, which covers much of Gastonia and southern Mecklenburg.
- Pat Harrigan (Rep)
A veteran like Jackson, Harrigan went into firearms manufacturing while his opponent practiced law following their respective years of military service. He has spoken in support of reforming the country’s gun laws and immigration policies.
NC SUPREME COURT ASSOC. JUSTICE SEAT 3
- Lucy Inman (Dem)
Inman was a court reporter before joining the courts herself. In 2010, she was appointed by Gov. Beverly Perdue to act as a special superior court judge, and in 2014 won her appointment to the statewide Court of Appeals, where she’s authored more than 500 decisions.
- Richard Dietz (Rep)
Dietz serves alongside Inman on the NC Court of Appeals, to which he was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory in 2014. Dietz has argued at the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of “straw purchases” of guns, which allow for someone to buy a gun on behalf of someone else.
NC SUPREME COURT ASSOC. JUSTICE SEAT 5
- Sam J. Ervin IV (Dem) — Incumbent
As an incumbent, Ervin has been a member of the NC Supreme Court since 2015. He served on the North Carolina Court of Appeals before that, from 2009 to 2015, and before then was a member of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
- Trey Allen (Rep)
Allen works as general counsel for the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts. He began as a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps, then completed a clerkship with then-Justice Paul Newby, of the NC Supreme Court.
NC COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 8
- Carolyn Jennings Thompson (Dem)
Thompson is a former District Court judge and Superior Court judge with over 25 years of combined legal and judicial experience.
- Julee Tate Flood (Rep)
According to her website, working as in-house counsel and advisor for a multi-state veterinary services business she co-founded with her husband as well as an attorney at the Court of Appeals has given Flood “diverse legal, business, and institutional experience.”
NC COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 9
- Brad Salmon (Dem)
Brad Salmon is a founding partner at the Salmon Law Firm. Previously, he served as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for District 51 and a legislative liaison at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Gov. Roy Cooper appointed him to serve as District Court Judge to Judicial District 11 in November 2021.
- Donna Stroud (Rep) — Incumbent
Chief Judge Donna Stroud has served on the NC Court of Appeals since her election in 2006 and began serving as chief judge in January 2021. She spent 16 years in private practice until her election in 2004 as a District Court Judge in Wake County.
NC COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 10
- Gale Murray Adams (Dem)
Upon graduating from law school, Adams joined the United States Navy as a Judge Advocate General (JAG), where she represented defendants who were charged with various criminal and military offenses or who were being administratively processed out of the military. Since then, she has worked in private practice, served as assistant district attorney, and as a public defender.
- John M. Tyson (Rep) — Incumbent
Judge John M. Tyson was elected statewide in 2014 and presently serves on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. He also served as an elected Republican judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals from 2001-2009 and was commissioned as a recall judge from 2009 to 2014.
NC COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE SEAT 11
- Darren Jackson (Dem) — Incumbent
Jackson is running for his first full eight-year term after being appointed to the NC Court of Appeals by Gov. Roy Cooper in 2020.
- Michael J. Stading (Rep)
Stading worked as a prosecutor in Mecklenburg County, then became a District Court judge. In 2016, he became a JAG officer in the United States Air Force, where he continues to serve as a Captain today.
Thanks to the News & Observer’s Project 170, funded by a grant from the American Press Institute, we were able to provide a little more detail on candidates for the North Carolina House and Senate based on in-depth questionnaires they filled out. You can find the full responses from all candidates that participated in the links after their names.
NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 39
- DeAndrea Salvador (Dem) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
- Mark Robeson (Rep) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 40
- Joyce Waddell (Dem) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
- Bobbie Shields (Rep) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 41
NC STATE SENATE DISTRICT 42
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 88
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 92
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 98
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 99
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 101
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 102
- Becky Carney (Dem) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
- Cynthia Eleanor Clementi (Rep) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 103
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 104
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 105
- Wesley Harris (Dem) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
- Joshua Niday (Rep) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 106
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 107
- Kelly Alexander (Dem) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
- Mark Alan Cook (Rep) – Project 170 Questionnaire Answers
NC HOUSE DISTRICT 112
- Tricia Cotham (Dem)
- Tony Long (Rep)
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AT-LARGE
- Pat Cotham (Dem) — Incumbent
Cotham is serving her fifth term on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, her first elected office. She is a trustee to the N.C. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, a Democratic National Committee member and a delegate member of the Executive Council of the N.C. Democratic Party.
- Arthur Griffin Jr. (Dem)
Griffin was born in Charlotte’s Good Samaritan Hospital and raised in its First Ward neighborhood. He worked as a litigation paralegal at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont for 20 years and has served as a member of the Central Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees as well as on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education for 17 years.
- Leigh Altman (Dem) — Incumbent
Before serving on the Board of County Commissioners, for which she is currently in her first term, Altman worked as a public-interest attorney for over 17 years, including serving as an assistant attorney general for the State of Georgia, a guardian ad litem for seniors in Mecklenburg County, and a staff attorney at Charlotte’s Council for Children’s Rights.
- Tatyana Thulien (Rep)
According to her website, Tatyana Thulien is a public figure, speaker, journalist, and instructor who hails from Kiev, Ukraine. She states her platform issues as including “fair property taxes, public health, education, harmonical development, [and a] safe and friendly environment.”
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS BY DISTRICT
- Elaine Powell (Dem) — Incumbent
Currently serving her second term, Powell was a longtime volunteer in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools before joining the Board. She is running on a platform of citizen engagement, stewardship, public education, economic growth, and community health and livability.
- Ross Monks (Rep)
Monks is a US Army Veteran of the First Gulf War and has 30 years of experience in Fortune 100 companies in the manufacturing and industrial services sectors. He is anti-medical mandate, anti-property taxes, and pro-Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department.
- George Dunlap (Dem) — Incumbent
Having served 14 years as District 3 rep, Dunlap currently chairs the Board. According to his website, he prioritizes affordable housing, economic development, community safety and education as the issues he is most passionate about.
- Dianna Benson (Rep)
As Voter Registration Co-chair with the Mecklenburg County GOP, Benson is an active member of the Mecklenburg Black Republican Club, closely follows local government, including speaking at board and council meetings, and wants to reach out to the Black and Christian conservative communities.
- Mark Jerrell (Dem) — Incumbent
Currently in his second term on the Board, Jerrell says he is focused on efforts to support social justice, equity and improving the lives of all people in Mecklenburg County. He currently serves on the Inter-Governmental Relations Committee (Chair), as well as the Economic Development, Environmental Stewardship and Health and Human Services committees.
- Raymundo Fuentes (Rep)
Fuentes worked for Charlotte Water for eight years followed by 27 years as the Environmental Compliance Manager for Coca-Cola Consolidated. He wants to work to make Mecklenburg County more safe, clean and affordable.
- Laura Meier (Dem) — Incumbent
Currently in her first term as District 5 rep, Meier chaired the Charlotte Women’s March’s Racial Equity Group in 2017 and, before that, worked as a teacher at a high school that focused on drop-out prevention and as director of an after-school program for middle school students from the Brookhill neighborhood.
- Matthew Ridenhour (Rep)
Ridenhour served on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners for three terms before being unseated by Susan Harden in 2018. This year’s election is a rematch of the 2020 match-up in District 5, which Meier won by less than 3,000 votes.
- Susan Rodriguez-McDowell (Dem) — Incumbent
Currently serving her second term on the Board, Rodriguez-McDowell describes herself as “a leader who follows science, values life and believes in a woman’s right to decide.” She currently serves on nine committees.
- Jeremy Brasch (Rep)
Brasch is an Air Force veteran who has volunteered with Wills for Heroes and believes that inflation is the number one threat facing Americans today, and would therefore like to lower property taxes.
CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG SCHOOL BOARD
- Rhonda Cheek — Incumbent
First elected to the Board of Ed in 2009, making her the longest tenured member, Cheek announced she would not be seeking a fourth term, then changed her mind and filed before the August deadline. She now faces a crowded race in District 1.
- Melissa Easley
Easley has worked as a science and social studies teacher in CMS for 10 years and co-founded North Carolina Teachers United, the largest pro-public education support and resource group in the state. She aims to repair relationships with teachers, staff and community; bring equitable resources to the lowest performing schools; and create student-focused goals to support high academic achievement.
- Hamani R. Fisher
Since moving to Huntersville in 2005, Fisher has served as director of student ministries at New Birth-Charlotte, a ministry dedicated to children in grades K-12 and their families. He currently serves as the Pastor of Life Center International Ministries and president of City Dive Inc, a 501c3 outreach organization.
- Bill Fountain
Having retired in June 2020 after 10 years of teaching in CMS and Christian private schools, Fountain has become a fixture at county meetings, decrying any number of the district’s policies that he claims are brainwashing children. His LinkedIn page says he is running to “arrest wokeism” at CMS and has sent text messages to voters claiming he will “stop CMS school board from transgendering our children.”
- Ro Lawsin
Lawsin is a 21-year Mecklenburg County resident who served in the US Air Force before retiring and becoming actively involved in his children’s schools. He’s running on a platform of school safety, student outcomes and accountability/transparency.
- Juanrique Hall
Hall is a long-time volunteer and football coach at West Charlotte High School, and since December 2021 has been serving with the city’s Alternative to Violence pilot program along the Beatties Ford Road corridor.
- Monty Witherspoon
Learning that a child’s zip code often determines their quality of education inspired Witherspoon to get involved with schooling after reflecting on his own experience in CMS. Out of that reflection he launched the #Witherspoon4Students movement.
- Thelma Byers-Bailey — Incumbent
Byers-Bailey was elected to the Board of Education in 2013 to represent District 2. A native Charlottean, she graduated from West Charlotte High School before earning a bachelor’s degree in physics and math from Fisk University. She holds a law degree from St. Louis University Law School and master’s degree from the St. Louis Joint Degree Program.
- Gregory “Dee” Rankin
Early in his career, Rankin was an educator in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and also taught in the charter and private school system before entering the nonprofit sector. He founded the nonprofit Future L.E.A.D.E.R.S. in 2007, through which he has mentored, provided leadership and life skills workshops, and given scholarships to youth in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.
- Steven Rushing
Rushing launched a “kid taxi” company that brings kids to school and drops them off for a fee.
- Carol Sawyer — Incumbent
Running for a second term on the CMS Board, Sawyer has been an active CMS volunteer — serving as a ‘reading buddy’, tutoring students, organizing field trips, and leading science activities. “As an education advocate I have worked to reduce class sizes and high-stakes testing, and increase educational equity in our schools,” she says.
- Stephanie Sneed
Sneed says her vision is that all students regardless of race, gender, nationality or socioeconomic class are college- and career-ready upon graduation.
- Clara Kennedy Witherspoon
Witherspoon retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools System on Jan. 1, 2022, after working in the district and supporting school leaders in implementing a multi-tier framework to provide academic and behavioral interventions for students needing more support.
- Lisa Cline
Cline’s vision is to raise learning and performance expectations for students while “empowering teachers to teach the North Carolina Standards using creative methods rather than giving them a prescribed curriculum purchased by taxpayer’s dollars.”
- Trent Merchant
Merchant served on the CMS Board from 2006-11 and would like to help steer the search for a new superintendent after a recent string of short-term office holders.
- Summer Nunn
Nunn says she is running for the CMS Board because “CMS has seen inconsistency in leadership and planning accompanied by a lot of noise and costly mistakes that are causing frustration among parents, CMS employees, and the community.”
- Sean Strain — Incumbent
Strain is seeking a second term on the Board after a first-term that saw him butting heads with his more progressive colleagues over issues such as COVID-19 policies and the search for a lasting superintendent.
- Michael Watson
During his seven years of living in District 6, Watson says he has had the opportunity to be both an active father maneuvering through elementary, middle, and high school; and also an engaged community volunteer. He has served on an administrative team for All Pro Dad, as well as been an active member of the School Improvement Team and PTA Vice President of Events at Polo Ridge Elementary.
NC SUPERIOR COURT DISTRICT 26A – SEAT 1
NC SUPERIOR COURT DISTRICT 26B – SEAT 1
Mecklenburg Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor