Charlotte Talks: Election Season Kicks Off / Update on Charlotte's Grocery Wars

Jul 10, 2017

Priscilla Johnson, a candidate for Charlotte City Council District 4, was among the first to file for the 2017 election.
Credit Diedra Laird / The Charlotte Observer

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The unfolding mayor’s race in Charlotte is bound to get national attention, even as money pours in from outside the city.  Guest host Erik Spanberg talks with two political watchers about the 2017 election, then gets an update on the grocery store wars and Amazon's entry into the supermarket game.


The gates have flung open on the race for Charlotte mayor. The contest is bound to draw national attention following House Bill 2 and riots surrounding the Keith Scott shooting.

Vi Lyles, center, speaks at an April debate with Democratic rivals Jennifer Roberts, left, and Joel Ford.
Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

It’s also attracting plenty of money, both local and national. Even before filing began, three candidates had already raised well over half-a-million dollars. By the time the votes are counted in November, the race could set a new record.

We get analysis of the unfolding race from a veteran Democratic strategist and a former two-time Republican nominee for the corner office on the Government Center’s 15th Floor.


Dan McCorkle, Democratic strategist

Edwin Peacock, former Republican nominee for mayor, 2013 and 2015; former Charlotte City Council at-large member (@EdwinPeacockIII)


The “store wars” have been playing out for several years in Charlotte as hometown favorite Harris Teeter faces competition from Publix and, increasingly, low-cost retailers such as Aldi and Lidl. Harris Teeter recently opened a new location in South End, a stone's throw from a Publix outpost.

Harris Teeter opened a South End store in June, less than a mile from a Publix store.
Credit Davie Hinshaw / The Charlotte Observer

Now, Amazon’s takeover of Whole Foods could open a new front in the battle for your grocery dollar, especially with HT-parent company Kroeger already reporting its first quarterly-sales decline in more than a decade.

We talk with two industry watchers about the ripple effect Amazon could have.


Phil Lempert, supermarket industry analyst, (@PhilLempert)

Katie Peralta, business and retail reporter, The Charlotte Observer (@katieperalta)