Originally published: Sept. 15, 2009, 9:48 a.m.
Updated: Sept. 15, 2009, 11:48 p.m.

CHARLOTTE — Incumbent Patsy Kinsey carried the day in the hotly contested Democratic primary for the City Council’s District 1 seat, beating openly gay Owen Sutkowski 67 percent to 33 percent.

Kinsey’s win in the Sept. 15 primary ensures she’ll serve a fourth term. No Republican or third party candidate has filed to run in the general election.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting voting results, Kinsey garnered 1,272 votes. Sutkowski received 626.

Born and raised in Charlotte, Kinsey was first elected to the city council in 2003. She faced primary challengers in 2005 and 2007. She chairs the council’s Government Affairs Committee and is vice-chair of the Community Safety Committee. She works as director of community relations at Pease and Associates, an architectural, engineering and construction services firm.

A newcomer to Charlotte and local politics, Owen Sutkowski, 26, would have been one of the youngest people elected to city office if elected. He’d also be the first openly gay elected official in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County and one of only nine statewide. He was the only openly gay candidate on the ballot this year.

Both candidates ran extensive campaigns, meeting with local neighborhood associations, going door-to-door and attending forums and panels.

Although both received endorsements from the Mecklenburg Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), candidate campaign finance filings show the group contributed $1,000 to Sutkowski’s campaign and only $250 to Kinsey. Sutkowski also received endorsements from the Eastside PAC and the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Kinsey was endorsed by the North Carolina Women’s Political Caucus and SPACE PAC, a committee of the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition.

Sutkowski was also endorsed by The Charlotte Observer. In the endorsement, the editorial board said Kinsey was “out of touch” and questioned two of her votes on the City Council. In one vote, Kinsey opposed a citywide bicycle plan, which was also opposed by the developers’ lobby. District 1 is among the most bicycle-friendly districts in the city.

Board of Elections officials had expected a five or six percent voter turnout. At the end of they day, only 4.3 percent of registered voters participated in the primary election. Less than 1,000 participated in early voting.

By the numbers

Information compiled from 35-day and Pre-Primary candidate campaign finance filings with the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

Patsy Kinsey Owen Sutkowski
Total raised this election cycle $7,876.96 $4,464.89
Cash on hand, Pre-Primary $24,675.22 $697
Individual contributions this cycle $7,126.96 $1,880
Personal loans None $1,384.89
MeckPAC contribution $250 $1,000
Developers/Real estate lobby* $1,850 None
Total expenses, July-Pre-Primary $8,313.81 $3,767

Patsy Kinsey

Owen Sutkowski

Total raised this election cycle

$7,876.96

$4,464.89

Cash on hand, Pre-Primary

$24,675.22

$697

Individual contributions this cycle

$7,126.96

$1,880

Personal loans

None

$1,384.89

MeckPAC contribution

$250

$1,000

Developers/Real estate lobby*

$1,850

None

Total expenditures, July-Pre-Primary

$8,313.81

$3,767

* – Total Developers/Real Estate lobby contributions are compiled from 35-day and Pre-Primary reports and include funds from owners of several real estate, development and building companies and SPACE PAC, a committee of Charlotte’s Real Estate and Builders Industry Coalition.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.