Charlotte Democrat Beverly Earle has won seven straight elections to the N.C. House. But it's been a long time -- seven years -- since she's been in a competitive race. This week, the rust showed.
Earle, 63, is running for mayor against Republican Pat McCrory. It's her first race outside her district in north and west Charlotte.
When she filed last month, she made a brief statement but then brushed aside questions from reporters. In her first major public appearance as a candidate Thursday, she spoke to more than 60 people at the Uptown Democratic Forum. A friendlier audience would be hard to find.
Earle read a prepared speech that was mainly biographical. Then, answering questions, she passed up several opportunities to expand on her vision and plans for the city. How could Charlotte maintain itself as a world-class city? someone asked. Define world-class, she replied. What were the legal duties of the mayor? somebody else asked. "I can't tell you all the responsibilities," she said, adding that the mayor has to provide leadership and direction.
When thrown a softball by somebody blasting McCrory's leadership, she passed up an opportunity to score an easy point at his expense.
Running for mayor is different than running for a state House seat, especially when most of your elections have been unopposed. In a probable race against a guy who's won the office six times, that's something Earle will be finding out soon.