Charlotte elects its first Black woman mayor

On Tuesday, Democrat Vi Lyles made history as the first Black woman to be elected mayor of Charlotte.

Lyles won with 58 percent of the vote, compared to 42 percent of the vote for Republican Kenny Smith, according to unofficial returns. She started out the night ahead and continued to hold her lead as she spread her message of unity in the face of two previous years of chaos and division.

“With this opportunity you’ve given me, you’ve proven that we are a city of opportunity and inclusiveness,” Lyles told supporters at Park Expo off Independence Boulevard. “You’ve proven that a woman whose father didn’t graduate from high school can become this city’s first female African-American mayor.”
Smith, in conceding the election, pointing to early vote turnout that was higher than expected as part of the reason for his loss. He said that even though the campaign was outperforming its targets for Election Day, they just weren’t able to keep up. Overall, turnout was 20 percent higher than officials had predicted it would be.

“It really caught us off guard,” Smith said. “That deficit just ended up being too much to overcome.”

Lyles’ win was one of many on Election Night that seemed to send a clear message to the current administration: the voters are done with divisiveness and intolerance, and instead, inclusion and diversity won the day for so many elections.