Democrat Vi Lyles Elected as Charlotte's First Woman of Color Mayor

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Charlotte, NC, elected its first woman of color mayor on Tuesday night — Democrat Vi Lyles. Before she was elected mayor, Lyles served on city council and as assistant city manager.


With 95% of precincts reporting. Lyles easily defeated her Republican challenger, Kenny Smith. She won 58% of the vote compared to Smith’s 41%. According to The Charlotte Observer, Lyles won despite being significantly outspent. In a victory speech, Lyles attributed her win to a surprisingly high voter turnout.

“With this opportunity you’ve given me, you’ve proven that we are a city of opportunity and inclusiveness,” she told supporters. “You’ve proven that a woman whose father didn’t graduate from high school can become this city’s first female African-American mayor.”

Lyles also won despite a massive smear campaign launched against her by donors from outside the state. In October, The Observer reported that The Values Coalition, a group supporting Smith, sponsored a Facebook ad claiming Lyles endorsed “a radical national LGBT agenda.”

Tuesday’s election is shaping up to be historic in more ways than one: Minneapolis elected the first openly trans woman of color to its City Council, Andrea Jenkins, and Virginia elected the first openly trans woman to its state legislature, Danica Roem.

Night Editor, Splinter