CHARLOTTE — Polls across the state opened this morning at 6:30 a.m. On the ballot are dozens of city and county races. In Charlotte, voters will pick their choices for city council and three at-large seats on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education.
Out Democratic candidate LaWana Mayfield will face Republican Ed Toney for an open District 3 seat on city council.
Mayfield has led a strong campaign. She won 51 percent of the vote in her primary, ousting incumbent Warren Turner who faced allegations of sexual harassment last year. Mayfield also garnered endorsements from the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee, Mecklenburg County Black Political Caucus, this newspaper, The Charlotte Post and The Charlotte Observer.
As of her pre-election campaign finance report, filed on Oct. 27, Mayfield had raised a total of $42,881.87. Toney’s pre-election report, filed on Oct. 28, showed total fundraising at $5,190.99.
Mayfield has received political and financial support from outside of Charlotte. In July, she received a national endorsement from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. In October, Mayfield distanced herself from attack ads on primary opponent Turner. The flyers, which cost $14,227 and were headlined “Warren Turner’s Baggage,” were paid for and sent by the Raleigh group Common Sense Matters. The group was started by openly gay Raleigh businessman Alan King.
If elected, Mayfield will become Charlotte’s first openly gay or lesbian elected official.
Other openly gay candidates across the state are also facing elections today.
In Chapel Hill, voters will decide whether or not to send incumbent Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt back into office for a second term. Twenty-two-year-old Lee Storrow also hopes to win a seat on the town’s council. If he wins, he’ll be Chapel Hill’s youngest town council member in 20 years.
In nearby Carrboro, incumbent Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle faces reelection. She and three other at-large candidates are vying for two seats.
In Greensboro, Democratic candidate Wayne Abraham hopes to take an at-large seat on city council and become that city’s first openly gay or lesbian elected official. Abraham is a founder of Triad Health Project and a former member and chair of Greensboro’s Human Relations Commission.
Polling locations close at 7:30 p.m. tonight.
Stay tuned for more election news today.
Want more information? Visit our Charlotte Election Central 2011 at goqnotes.com/clt11/ for more information on voting locations, hours and elections endorsements in Charlotte.
[Ed. Note — The original version of this article said Douglas Arbogast was running for election in Tryon, N.C. That information is inaccurate. Arbogast ran in 2009. We have updated the article. We regret the error.]