CHARLOTTE — The young challenger to Patsy Kinsey’s District 1 City Council seat picked up a prized endorsement on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

Siding against incumbent Democrat Kinsey, The Charlotte Observer tapped 26-year-old Owen Sutkowski as its choice for the district’s next council member.

“He is pushing transparency and accessibility of city government and seems to have an ability to see the big picture in a confusing set of interconnected local governments,” The Observer wrote. “Voters must decide whether to stick with a known quantity who seems a bit out of touch with the district’s interests, or to gamble on an unproven newcomer who’s smart and energetic. We conclude it’s time for a change. We recommend Owen Sutkowski.”

In the endorsement, The Observer questioned two of Kinsey’s votes — one over a city-wide bicycle plan and the other over a historic preservation. In both instances, the paper’s editorial board said Kinsey’s votes seemed to be in stark contradiction to her district’s needs.

Sutkowski, who is openly gay, responded to the news in a press release: “I am exited to see the variety of community groups and citizens making their voices heard. They are urgently seeking a fresh perspective in local government and I look forward to working with the people of District 1, and across Charlotte, for change.”

Kinsey and Sutkowski face off in the Democratic primary on Sept. 15. There is no Republican challenger; whoever wins the primary will take the seat.

The full endorsement can be read here.

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