Democrats Take All Nine Seats on Mecklenburg County Commission

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Local Democrats riding a blue wave to take all nine seats on Mecklenburg County Commission.

The body controls how much you pay in property taxes and helps fund CMS.

Suburban voters ousted three Republican commissioners – District One’s Jim Puckett, Matthew Ridenhour in District Five, and 22-year District Six representative Bill James, known for courting controversy.

“In that 22 years, District Six has changed, a lot of things have changed,” says District Six representative-elect Susan Rodriguez McDowell.

McDowell defeated James, crediting a strong ground game and people angry about the current state of politics.

Though the new board isn’t sworn in until next month, James was nowhere to be found at Wednesday night’s County Commission Meeting, his name plate taken down.

“I think we’re ready to progress from the negativity, and that sort of identity politics stuff, that’s what Bill James represented,” McDowell says.

She joins newcomers Susan Harden – who beat Matthew Ridenhour. And Elaine Powell – who defeated Jim Puckett.

Analysts say a solid blue County Commission doesn’t necessarily mean harmony on the often-contentious board.

“Any intra-party differences they have, not only going to be exposed, they’re going to be magnified. So we are going to see them in a way in which we never saw them playing out before,” says Winthrop University Political Science Professor Dr. Scott Huffmon.

Commissioner Trevor Fuller says having a total majority also brings greater responsibility.

“We have to make sure to check ourselves, when it comes to transparency, when it comes to process, when it comes to hearing from citizens,” Fuller says.

Outgoing Commissioner Ridenhour stayed optimistic about his loss in a Facebook post.

“I think that I just, you know, there were enough people that just went down the ballot with D’s and so here we are,” he said.