New endorsements by Charlotte’s Black Political Caucus may be as notable for who wasn’t endorsed as who was.
For the first time in memory, the caucus did not endorse two incumbent lawmakers — both African-American Democrats.
In the Democratic primary in Senate District 38, the caucus backed challenger Mujtaba Mohammed over Sen. Joel Ford. And it endorsed former Charlotte City Council member Nasif Majeed in House District 99 over state Rep. Rodney Moore.
The endorsements reflect the Sunday votes of 118 caucus members. The caucus endorsement is coveted in a county where African-Americans make up a third of registered voters and 60 percent of registered Democrats. The caucus flexed its muscle last fall when almost all the candidates it endorsed in the city elections won their primaries.
On Monday, caucus Chair Arthur Griffin met with a dozen African-American ministers at Little Rock AME Zion Church to remind them of their role in turning out voters.
The endorsements, Griffin said, “will translate very well in terms of ‘souls to the polls’ (and) in terms of getting the African-American community excited.”
In the Senate primary, the caucus endorsed Mohammed, an assistant public defender and former official of the county Democratic Party. He’s a former staff attorney at the Council for Children’s Rights. In a caucus-sponsored forum, Mohammed argued that Ford has sought to “appease” the Republicans who control the N.C. Senate.
“Why is it that as Democrats we should give up our values and our principles just to make (Republicans) happy?” he said at the forum. “Why do Democrats constantly have to move to the center while they move further to the right?”
“Our message has been really resonating,” Mohammed said Monday. “Just because we got the BPC endorsement doesn’t mean we’ll be complacent.”
Ford is a moderate Democrat who occasionally has sided with Republican leaders. He was, for example, one of four Democrats who joined Senate Republicans in voting for the final legislative budget. He has said get can get more accomplished in a legislature where Republicans enjoy super-majorities. For example, he touted the fact that the budget included $25 million for Charlotte Douglas International Airport and $250,000 for a childhood education program in west Charlotte that he championed.
Ford said he was not totally surprised after the caucus failed to endorse him in the mayoral primary.
“While I am disappointed I didn’t get it, I am still encouraged by my base support and that I’ve got a ton of energy in my campaign,” he said. “I have to work harder and contact more people to make sure I get my vote out. I’m not giving up.”
In the House district, the caucus chose not to endorse Moore. He faces investigation by the state board of elections for failing to report at least 19 political action committee contributions totaling more than $10,000.
Moore could not be reached Monday.
Majeed said he believes that played a role in the endorsements.
“People are seeing that my opponent should get his house cleaned up as far as his finances are concerned,” he said.
The caucus also endorsed the following Democrats:
▪ Alma Adams in the 12th Congressional District and Dan McCready in the 9th.
▪ Garry McFadden for sheriff.
▪ Spencer Merriweather for district attorney.
▪ Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Ella Scarborough for county commissioner at-large.
▪ Vilma Leake, George Dunlap and Mark Jerrell for commissioner in Districts 2,3 and 4.
▪ Ann Harlan for Senate District 39
▪ House candidates Christy Clark (District 98), Carolyn Logan (101), Becky Carney (102) and Carla Cunningham (106).
Jim Morrill, 704-358-5059; @jimmorrill