by Michael Lowrey
Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal has a piece out speculating on who will run for office in Charlotte this fall. The big question, of course, is what the mayor will do.
Anthony Foxx most certainly is an ambitious young politician. That the DNC came off as well as did is a major plume in his cap. Unfortunately for him, that’s about the only thing that’s really gone right in the past year. The failure to pass a capital budget despite having a 9-2 Democratic majority on Charlotte City Council calls into question his leadership ability. Merging city and county government, an idea that Foxx strongly pushed, isn’t going to happen either. The Panthers stadium negotiations make all involved in city government look like clowns. While Foxx probably isn’t the biggest clown, there’s more than enough blame to go around for the city adopting a nonsensical negotiating position that predictable ended up promised the Panthers a ridiculously large amount of money only to find out that city can’t deliver on what Foxx and company promised. Oh, and Anthony Foxx may well be the mayor that sees the city lose control of the airport.
Politically, I’m not sure that being mayor of Charlotte has much of an upside for Foxx. His resume probably has gotten all the boost that it’s going to get from holding the job. The biggest thing he can pull off as mayor is almost certainly behind him (the DNC).
I doubt being mayor is going to be a lot of fun for Foxx. The city’s relationship with the General Assembly is going to be stormy at best. Until the economy improves and sales tax revenues recover, the city won’t have a lot of money to spend. Foxx’s performance has been weak enough that he may draw more than token opposition in the fall.
Still, a pol needs a job, so I suspect Foxx runs for reelection unless he can land a better gig, with a better gig being in Washington.
Foxx’s setbacks aren’t well known in Washington, so a federal appointment could still be in the offing. That’s probably a temporary gig (through the remainder of the Obama Administration) though, because Foxx’s long-term goal is likely to succeed Mel Watt in Congress. The question is just when that happens. Watt is 67 and in an extremely safe district. He could retire in two years years or maybe continue in office for another decade or more. Or Watt could take a job like heading the Federal Housing Finance Agency, opening up the 12th District Congressional seat for Foxx.