MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- The Democratic Primary for Mecklenburg County District Attorney may be a bit competitive.
D.A. Spencer Merriweather will face public defender Toussaint Romain. Merriweather has served as district attorney since last November and Romain became a peace-keeper during the September 2016 protests after the Keith Scott shooting.
Merriweather has spent the last 11 years working as an Assistant D.A., primarily working with families of homicide victims and domestic violence. He said his focus is renewing the community's trust in the criminal justice system.
"We've got to be responsive. We've got make sure that we are creative in our approaches to criminal justice and that means involving the community in what we do and that's who you earn people's trust,” said Merriweather.
Romain said he wants to reform the criminal justice system.
“Working to improve the system, working to make things fair, not everyone needs to be sent to prison forever and making decision that helps people know where we are with a system,” said Romain.
Both candidates said they want to tackle racial disparities within the justice system.
“To transform our system in ways that it’s fair for everyone so that means taking a hard look at the way we assess cases, the way that we treat people when they walk into our courtrooms,” said Merriweather.
“Because race does pay a role in the crimes and how gets prosecuted and who gets out and how those folks get back on their feet so all those are factors that have to be reformed,” said Romain.
Political experts say this race could down to voter turnout and name recognition.
“The name recognition that Merriweather has is being in the office, being steady and long record service and for Romain, it’s more his activism,” said Dr. Susan Roberts, Davidson College.
Primary day is May 8.