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Nooze Hounds: Joe Bruno Talks Charlotte City Council Elections

Episode 80

Joe Bruno and Justin LaFrancois stand in a crowd of people pointing their phones toward something off-camera
Joe Bruno (left) and ‘Nooze Hounds’ co-host Justin LaFrancois cover the one year anniversary of a mass shooting on Beatties Ford Road in 2021. (Photo by Grant Baldwin) 

On episode 80 of the Nooze Hounds podcast, we speak to award-winning WSOC reporter and anchor Joe Bruno about municipal election season in Charlotte, from the implications of low turnout during this week’s Democratic primaries to what he’ll be watching for in the upcoming general election on Nov. 7.

During the mayoral and Charlotte City Council primaries on Tuesday, Sept. 12, which included only voters registered as Democrat or unaffiliated, saw a turnout of under 5% — or 23,676 out of 482,577 possible voters.

Incumbents Dimple Ajmera, LaWana Slack-Mayfield and James “Smuggie” Mitchell Jr. were the top three vote getters in the at-large race, with current District 3 rep Victoria Watlington coming in fourth place for the final at-large seat.

Learn more: Incumbents, Tiawana Brown Cruise in Charlotte City Council Primaries

In District 3, Watlington’s move to an at-large campaign meant council was guaranteed at least one newcomer. Tiawana Brown won the race easily, more than doubling the vote count of her closest competitor, former council member Warren Turner. On the podcast, we discuss how Turner attacked Brown for her well-known past despite his own troubled past as a politician, and why that strategy backfired on him.

We also chat about the District 4 race, in which incumbent Renee Johnson was able to ward off a run by Wil Russell, whose campaign earned a rare endorsement from Mayor Vi Lyles.

We also look ahead to the general election, during which the District 6 race between incumbent Tariq Bokhari and challenger Stephanie Hand, who lost the same race by just 357 votes in last year’s race, looks to be the only competitive one on Charlotte City Council. November’s election will also include three at-large seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education and multiple referendums.

Learn more: Mecklenburg County Election Guide 2023

Remember you can catch Nooze Hounds on Spotify and other places where you find podcasts and be sure to check out Queen City Podcast Network for a slew of other great Charlotte podcasts that aren’t quite as good as ours but pretty damn close. Find past Nooze Hounds episodes here.

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