At-large City Council member Anthony Foxx announced today he's running for mayor next year regardless of whether incumbent Mayor Pat McCrory wins the governor's race.
Foxx, a Democrat, told me he's rounded up enough early support to go for it. Among those supporters, he said -- and I was prying, he wasn't just tossing out these names -- are retired Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. and local Democratic Party bigwig Cammie Harris. McColl usually -- but not always -- backs Democrats.
Foxx told me he had decided just within the past few weeks, although he's been thinking about running for months. But he sent letters to supporters or potential supporters late last week. "I would defind that as the point of no return."
He'll probably face impressive opposition, likely Republican council member John Lassiter (if McCrory is ensconced in Raleigh) and possibly Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Graham, who's also been thinking about running for mayor for some time. Both are generally well-regarded and, in my experience, do a good job as elected officials, as does Foxx.
"Why now?" I asked Foxx. He gave a thoughtful and even visionary answer, which in a politician is refreshing. (Note: Lassiter and Graham could probably do the same. Many elected officials can't.) Part of it was a discussion of the current problems the city faces and how many of them are, in fact, regional problems: The economy. Transportation. The environment.
"When I ask people where the city's going, it's a microcosm of the country," he said. "People don't know where we're going."
Foxx grew up in Charlotte, went to Davidson and NYU law school. He's been on the council since 2005.