It's hardly breaking news to say that Anthony Foxx, the telegenic 41-year-old mayor of North Carolina's largest city, will likely shift his gaze to higher office sometime. But this week's convention brings renewed attention to what many conclude is a fait accompli.
For now, Foxx vows he's intent on running Charlotte and helping President Obama duplicate his 2008 victory here. Democrats doubt that will keep him content for much longer. "Anthony Foxx is an individual who has spent a lifetime preparing for public service," said Parks Helms, a longtime prominent Democrat from Charlotte. "It will lead him to some more important role than being the mayor of the city of Charlotte. What that is, I don't know."
Foxx, a graduate of Davidson College, was first elected to the City Council in 2005. He ran for the open mayoral seat in 2009 at age 38, winning a close race to become the city's youngest-ever mayor and the second African-American to hold the job. He glided to an easy reelection last year after leading the effort to bring the Democratic convention to Charlotte.
His talent is obvious: He fielded a reporter's question about Obama's chances in the Tar Heel State (he thinks they're good) as easily as a question about what local barbecue restaurant was the best in town (he was careful not to slight any local establishments). It's the kind of skill he's developed from a lifetime spent around politics. His grandfather, a former teacher and principal, was active in the local Democratic Party after retirement. "The consistent thread between his career and his retirement was, he believed people could make a difference if they were given a chance," Foxx said. "He told me I could be successful, and I've been able to achieve things I never thought possible."