The Charlotte Observer on Sunday endorsed Democrat Anthony Fox to be the Qcity’s next mayor over his Republican rival John Lassiter.

In one of the most closely watched mayoral races in recent years, the Observer praise both candidates and said both are “intelligent, hard-working, committed to Charlotte and are within the city’s tradition of moderate, mainstream politics.”

But in the end, the newspaper said, it chose Foxx, 38, because it believe he would be more proactive and less policy focused.

“We believe the next mayor needs to be unusually adept at connecting with residents and uniting a diverse community,” the newspaper wrote. “He needs to use the mayor’s office as a bully pulpit. He should set the agenda and tackle our city’s toughest problems with new solutions. He must reach out to our neighbors in the region, in Raleigh and in Washington to seek collaborative approaches. He needs to imbue the city with confidence that we can navigate though this daunting time and emerge stronger than before. He should not do things the way we’ve always done them.

“We believe Foxx is best positioned to do those things and set a new tone,” the Observer concluded.

Political endorsements are made by the newspaper’s editorial board, not the newsroom staff.

Editor’s note: The Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum will host both candidates on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2400 Kendall Drive, just down the hill from West Charlotte High School. To accommodate the candidates’ schedules, the session will begin at 7:45 a.m.

Foxx and Lassiter also will face off in a televised debate six days before the Nov. 3 election. The Oct. 28 debate is sponsored by the Observer and its news partner WCNC-TV and will air at 8 p.m. It will be at the McGlohon Theatre at Spirtit Square. It is free and open to the public. Doors close at 7:45 p.m.

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