Bill James to run unopposed

MATTHEWS – Nine-term Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners member Bill James will not face a registered opponent in November’s election after no one filed to run against the county’s longest-serving commissioner.

Bill James

Bill James

James faced challengers in recent elections – including others from the Republican Party – but will at most have to deal with write-in candidates this year after no one filed in February to run against him in District 6, which in addition to Matthews and Mint Hill includes the Ballantyne area of south Charlotte and Pineville. And without a campaign to worry about this year, James said he is keeping his focus on county business and looking toward a couple key issues coming up in his next

“To me, I just think that this upcoming term is an opportunity to refine some of the policies that Republicans and some Democrats worked on,” James said. “We accomplished a lot in two years: a change over in management, (revaluation) redo, hiring of a new manager, restructuring of (county) government. So it has been a busy period recently.”

And it will continue to be busy for a county commission that next has to approve a budget and down the road will deal with another round of school bond money. As for the 2014-15 fiscal budget, James hopes to see a nearly 2.5-cent tax decrease to match a past tax increase from the county, though he said he isn’t holding his breath. The school funding debate could be more

“… I anticipate some of the debate deferred before will occur (toward the end of the next two years) because most of the (2013) bond money for schools recently approved focused on the inner city and didn’t have a lot for Districts 1 and District 6,” James said. District 1 covers the north Mecklenburg towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville. “One of the things … I do want to make sure is District 6 gets its fair share of capital dollars for new schools. … I have a very basic approach, which is to build as many schools in District 6 near neighborhoods as possible.”

James also mentioned the next phase of the Mecklenburg County Sportsplex in Matthews as a key for the next few months. The county is funding almost all of the project, which next will include, among other additions, a stadium-style field. Matthews leaders and businesses say they’ve already seen a positive financial impact from the sports facility, which opened last

James has become entrenched in his seat in the heavily Republican south Mecklenburg district. There are more than 46,000 registered Republicans in the district, compared to 37,000 unaffiliated voters and 35,000 Democratic Party

“I enjoy serving on the county commission and I know there are people who say I should go to Raleigh or do something else (in politics), but I actually believe I’m in a place where I can contribute the most because I can use my accounting skills during these various … budget problems that come up,” James said. “I was the first person in (1996) that said we needed a bond fund, (which) took me 16 years to accomplish. Sometimes in politics you just have to keep plodding along and trying to change things at a slow

“I feel like I’ve been successful. (We have) neighborhood schools in District 6 … we’ve received our share of park funds and school funds over the years. I think it’s just a question of standing up for the people that you represent. That’s the basis of the district system.”

Matthews and Mint Hill voters will see a contested election for the board of commissioners’ at-large seats, which are voted on county-wide. Five Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates are running for the three open at-large seats, meaning the Democratic candidates will face a primary vote on May 6. Democratic candidates include incumbents Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Kim Ratliff in addition to Elaine Powell and Ella

The three candidates with the highest number of votes will face the two Republicans for the three seats. The Republicans are Scott Carlisle and Emily Zuyus.

Matthews and Mint Hill voters also will see the N.C. Senate District 41 race on the November ballot, between Latrice McRae (D) and Jeff Tarte (R – incumbent). N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham (D) and N.C. Rep. Bill Brawley (R) will run unopposed for N.C. House of Representatives Districts 100 and 103, respectively.

Local voters also will see the U.S. Senate contest and U.S. House of Representatives District 9 seat on the ballot.

Contact information for local candidates

Find what district you’re in at

N.C. Senate District 39

(A mostly south Charlotte district that includes Plantation Estates)

• Matt Arnold (R)


• Bob Rucho (R – incumbent)


N.C. Senate District 41

(Covers most of Matthews and Mint Hill in addition to north Mecklenburg)

• Latrice McRae (D)


• Jeff Tarte (R – incumbent)


N.C. House of Representatives District 100

• Tricia Cotham (D – incumbent)


N.C. House of Representatives District 103

• Bill Brawley (R – incumbent)


Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners At-large

(Three open seats, open to entire county)

• Pat Cotham (D – incumbent)


• Trevor Fuller (D – incumbent)

• Elaine Powell (D)

• Kim Michele Ratliff (D)

• Ella Scarborough (D)


• Scott Carlisle (R)


• Emily Zuyus (R)


Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners District 6

• Bill James (R – incumbent)


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