CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Several new LGBT-friendly candidates were elected on Tuesday to the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners. They’ll join several familiar incumbents and a new Republican commissioner in District 5.

At-large Democratic newcomers Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Kim Ratliff won out over three Republican candidates and a Libertarian. Each were endorsed by the Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee, or MeckPAC.

Republican candidate Wayne Powers, who had been outspoken on a variety of LGBT equality issues, came in sixth in the seven-way at-large race. Powers had recently questioned several endorsements made by MeckPAC following controversy over hate group leader Louis Farrakhan and his recent events in Charlotte (see the archived stories at

Incumbent Democrats George Dunlap (District 3) and Dumont Clarke (District 4) ran unopposed and will serve another term on the county board, along with District 2 Democratic incumbent Vilma Leake. Incumbent Republicans Karen Bentley (District 1) and Bill James (District 6) also won reelection. Bentley’s and James’ Democratic challengers, Keith Bradford and Connie Johnson-Green, were both endorsed by MeckPAC, which had issued warnings to voters about Bentley’s and James’ anti-gay voting records.

Republican newcomer Matthew Ridenhour will succeed District 5 Republican Neil Cooksey, who recently passed away after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Ridenhour beat out Democratic opponent Paula Harvey, also endorsed by MeckPAC.

The new Mecklenburg County Commission

Pat Cotham (DEM)
Trevor M. Fuller (DEM)
Kim Michele Ratliff (DEM)

District 1
Karen Bentley (REP)

District 2
Vilma D. Leake (DEM)

District 3
George Dunlap (DEM)

District 4
Dumont Clarke (DEM)

District 5
Matthew Ridenhour (REP)

District 6
Bill James (REP)

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.