CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a nice little mayor’s race in the largest city in North Carolina, considering that Charlotte has gone through a lot of mayors (seven) in the past nine years. And that’s even taking into account Democratic incumbent Jennifer Roberts losing, in the primary, her chance to defend her spot because of her part in a “bathroom” bill that labeled the state in all the wrong ways and her handling of protests that turned violent after a police-involved shooting.
But all that aside, the scorched-earth campaign between two mild-mannered city council members competing to move into the mayor’s office was a bit unexpected. It reached a heated crescendo with a digital ad from the N.C. Values Coalition, which supported Republican Kenny Smith. The ad said Democrat Vi Lyles “is Jennifer Roberts” and featured an ominous voice-over, a man entering a bathroom to the frightened chagrin of a girl already claiming the space, scenes of rioting and the image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a blurred severed head.