Monday, November 3, 2014



DEMOCRATS SWEEP WAKE COMMISSION RACE - Democrats in Wake County celebrated as (left to right) Jessica Holmes, Matt Calabria, John Burns and (not pictured) Sig Hutchinson swept four Republican incumbents off the Wake County Commission Board. Democrats will now occupy all seven seats, and promise better progress on growth management, public transportation, and school construction [photo courtesy of Sarah Lien Finnerty]

By Cash Michaels

            In the midst of key Republican midterm election victories statewide and nationally Tuesday might, four Democratic candidates for the Wake County Commission Board defied the GOP trend, sweeping four GOP  incumbents, and giving the board a pure Democratic  Burns, Matt Calabria and Sig Hutchinson gave Democrats something to smile about on an otherwise bleak evening, ousting GOP incumbents Rich Gianni, Joe Bryan, Paul Coble and Wake Board Chairman Phil Matthews.
            The Democratic four used a unique strategy to win – they ran as a team on the issues of better managing growth, investing in public transportation, and developing a better, more congenial relationship with the Democratic-led Wake Board of Education.
            The current GOP-led board fought and threatened the school board relentlessly, going to the Legislature to change the school board elections for 2015, and seeking to takeover school system properties since the county commission dictates the system’s budget.
            It is expected now that discussions between the two Democratic boards about school construction and improving teachers’ salaries will go more smoothly.
            The individual contests were surprisingly not even close.
            In District 3, Holmes defeated Gianni 56 to 44 percent; Hutchinson over Bryan 55 to 45 percent to take District 1; District 7 saw attorney John Burns oust former Raleigh Mayor Paul Coble; and Matt Calabria was victorious over Board Chairman Phil Matthews in District 2, 56 to 44 percent.
            Published reports note that the Democratic candidates raised, according to the most recent campaign report, approximately $750,000, more than their GOP opponents.
            The “Democratic Four” will serve for the next four years, meaning that Republicans won’t be able to vie to take the Wake County Commission back until 2018.
            The Wake Republican Party had tried to derail the Democratic victory rpior to election night, charging that the four would “…rubber stamp Rev. Barber’s Moral Monday demands all over our county.”
            Rev. Barber, in response, called the Wake GOP charges “race-baiting….(and) and “scare tactics.”
            In other Wake County election results, Republican incumbent Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison defeated Democratic challenger Willie Rowe, a former sheriff’s department investigator, 59 to 41 percent.
            Democrat Lorrin Freeman defeated Republican John Bryant, 56 to 44 percent, to become the new Wake District Attorney.
            Southeast Raleigh incumbents did well at the polls, as expected. State Sen. Dan Blue, Rep. Rosa Gill and Rep. Yvonne Holley all won their seats.
            Republicans Chris Malone, Gary Pendleton, Marilyn Avila, Nelson Dollar and Paul Stam won their respective contests for the state House, while Democrats Gale Adcock, Darren Jackson, Duane Hall, and Grier Martin were all victorious.
            On the state Senate side, where Democrats had hoped to gain at least four seats to cripple the Republican 33 seat super majority, that effort failed, even though
Democratic incumbents Josh Stein and Dan Blue won re-election. Republican incumbent senators Chad Barefoot and Tamara Barringer won, while GOP candidate John Alexander defeated former Raleigh Mayor Tom Bradshaw, though by only just 700 votes, enough to probably prompt a recount if requested.
            The race for Wake clerk of court is also tight, as approximately 2000 votes separate Republican Jennifer Knox and Sam Bridges, both garnering 50 percent. Knox, with all precincts reporting, has that edge.
            District Court judges Keith Gregory and Vince Rozier, Jr. ran unopposed, while Craig Croom defeated incumbent District 10 Judge Charles Gilliam.
             The Raleigh parks and rec facilities bonds overwhelmingly passed, and Jennifer Austin Wadsworth and Matt Overby both won for Wake soil and water conservation district supervisor.



Congressional races

            If North Carolina Democrats were seeking to gain seats in Congress during Tuesday’s midterm elections, they were sadly mistaken. They only won three of thirteen Congressional seats.
            While incumbent Democratic Congressman G. K. Butterfield easily won re-election in the First Congressional District, former “American Idol” entertainer Clay Aiken failed to unseat Republican Rep. Renee’ Ellmers in District 2. District 3 Republican Congressman Walter Jones had no problem keeping his seats, and nor did Democratic incumbent David Price in District 4. Tea Party favorite Virginia Foxx was again re-elected in District 5, while fellow Republican Mark Walker easily took the first time victory in District 6.
            In the Congressional District 7 race, Republican David Rouzer trounced New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield to win the seat formerly long held by Democrat Mike McIntyre. Republican Richard Hudson was victorious in District 8, and with no competition beyond a write-in candidate, Republican Robert Pittenger romped to a 94 percent victory.
            The Congressional 10 District race saw another Tea Party favorite, Patrick McHenry, slid to easy victory, as did GOP’er Mark Meadow in District 11.
            Perhaps the most impressive victory, however, was in the Congressional District 7 race between veteran state House Rep. Alma Adams, a Democrat, and black Republican talk show host Vince Coakley. Adams crushed Coakley 75 to 25 percent to win the congressional seat formerly held by Rep. Mel Watt. By doing so, Adams immediately assumes the unexpired term of Watt, and also won a full term in office.
            And finally, in the 13th District, former US Attorney George Holding, a Republican, won re-election to a second term.
State Judicial races

            In the race for NC Supreme Court associate justice, incumbent Cheri Beasley holds slim 3,000 vote lead over attorney Mike Robinson as both are tied at 50 percent each. At press time, no winner had been called because of the close numbers.
            In other nonpartisan state Supreme Court races, Chief Justice Mark Martin easily held off a challenge by Judge Ola Lewis, 73 – 27 percent, while incumbent Justice Robin Hudson won re-election, and Sam Ervin defeated Robert Hunter for a state Supreme Court seat.
            On the state Appellate Court side, Judge Mark Davis, who, as Gov. Beverly Perdue’s General Counsel, helped to bring about pardons of innocence for the Wilmington Ten, easily won his race, as did Judge Donna Stroud, who ran unopposed. Lucy Inman defeated Bill Southern in a close race for the third appellate court seat.
            Of the 19 candidates running for the seat of retired Appeals Court Judge Martin, former Appellate Court Judge John M. Tyson led the pack with 24 percent.

Legislative races

            Because of the 2011 redistricting by the Republican-led state Legislature, no one was expecting that Democrats would, or even could, take back the NC General Assembly during the midterm elections. There was hope, however, that Democrats could at least win four seats in the state Senate, thus knocking the GOP advantage there down from 33 to 29 seats, and eliminating the Republican super-majority there, which allow them to override the governor’s veto.
            That didn’t happen, and in fact, the Republicans actually added a seat, reinforcing their super-majority.
            In New Hanover County, for instance, Republican Michael Lee defeated Democrat Elizabeth Redenbaugh 56 to 44 percent in the state Senate 9 race to replace Republican Thom Goolsby. In District 8, Republican Bill Rabon trounced Democrat Ernie Ward, 57 to 43 percent.
            In the state House, Democrats picked up a handful of seats, but not nearly enough to overcome House Republicans 30-seat dominance.
            So the Republican-led NC General Assembly remains veto proof.

New Hanover County races

            With a 41 percent overall voter turnout, for the New Hanover Board of Commissioners, Republican Skip Watkins and Democrat Rob Zapple were both elected. Zapple joins Jonathan Barfield as the only two Democrats on the board.
            Incumbent New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon won re-election, and in the race for four open seats on the New Hanover County School Board, four Republicans – incumbents Janice Cavenaugh, Don Hayes, Ed Higgins, and newcomer Bruce Shell – all won, leaving their three Democratic opponents behind.


            In a startling report from the Durham Police Dept., approximately 84 percent of traffic stops by the Durham P.D. for the first half of this year were black motorists. 762 out of 910 people pulled over by traffic officers between Jan. 1, 2014 through June 30th, 2014 were African-American because, according to Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez, because most of the stops were in a small, predominantly black portion of town that his department considers “high-crime.” Lopez said the high number of black traffic stops were not the result of racial profiling. In recent months, various groups have accused the DPD of targeting black drivers because of race. The City Council has now required routine reports from the police department.

            A person who came into the United States from Liberia last weekend through Newark Airport, took a bus to Durham, and then developed a fever while staying in Person County with family members Sunday, has tested negative for Ebola, North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services officials said Monday. That person, whose identity was protected, had been taken to Duke Medical Center in Durham for examination and tests. Those tests proved negative for Ebola, and the patient was declared noncontagious. This was at least the third false alarm for Ebola in North Carolina over the past two weeks.

            With a possible punishment from the NCAA still looming, UNC – Chapel Hill students gathered last week on campus to share their concerns about the explosive Wainstein report, and how it has put the academic reputation of the state’s flagship school under a dark cloud. The report, issued two weeks, detailed how 3100 UNC students, mostly athletes over an 18-year period, were able to pass “paper” classes in the African and Afro-American Studies Dept. because their grades were fraudulently awarded without their having to do any work. Students said tighter controls and supervision need to be in place to ensure that that doesn’t happen again.

SEN. HAGAN LOSES IN SQUEEKER - Democratic incumbent Senator Kay Hagan, after leading in the polls for several weeks, finally lost to Republican challenger Thom Tillis 49 - 47 percent Tuesday in what many observers say was the most expensive US Senate race in history with over $110 million spent. Like other Democratic senatorial candidates. hagan tried to distance herself from Pres. Obama. [Cash Michaels photo] 

By Cash Michaels
An analysis

            With the most expensive US Senate race in history now over, NC Democrats are licking their wounds, wondering what more they could have done to get their statewide standardbearer, Sen. Kay Hagan, over the finish line to re-election victory.
            The first term Democratic incumbent lost her re-election bid in a squeaker Tuesday evening to Republican challenger Thom Tillis, the state House speaker, 49-47 percent. Libertarian Sean Haugh and several write-in candidates made up the four percent balance.
            Political observers estimated that the Hagan – Tillis race cost upwards of $110 million, with a plethora of campaign television attack ads between the two candidates, many of them paid for by outside groups whose funding is legally untraceable.
            Sen. Hagan, who had refused to definitely reach out to the Democratic African-American base during the three debates she had with Speaker Tillis, apparently peaked too soon as she held a consistent 3-4 point lead over the Republican for several weeks going into election night.
            GOP observers, however, credited  the Tillis get-out-the-vote machine with building momentum going into the homestretch. As a result, while a record 2.7 million voters took part in the NC 2014 midterm elections – 1.1 million of them early voters of which African-Americans made up 25 percent, turnout in several key areas of the state was lackluster enough to cost Hagan the 3,500 votes she needed for victory.
            The Hagan loss is also a blow to the Obama administration, putting a definite nail in the coffin of any chance that the president could retain a Democratic majority in the US Senate. With the Republicans nationally claiming the Senate majority for the first time since 2007, and the Republican –led US House only strengthened by Tuesday’s midterm results, most observers see the president’s agenda going nowhere during the last two years of his presidency, unless he jumps when the GOP-dominated Congress says jump.
            Observers are calling it “Red America” now, thanks Republicans now having 52 of the US Senate’s 100 seats in their column.  Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina, and other Republican-leaning states contributed to the GOP victory, as Republican gained at least seven new seats.
In addition, GOP victories in governors’ races nationally in normally Democrat-leaning states like Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts added to the Republican stronghold of state governments that could be counted to champion conservative policies.

By Cash Michaels

DEMOCRATS BLUNDER – This is being written actually before the Tuesday, Nov. 4th elections, so I have no idea what the results will be. That being said, if the Democrats lost big, as was being widely predicted, there’s a very bad reason for it.
They haven’t got the guts to fight for the freedom they profess to cherish.
Put a pin in it here for just a moment, and let’s take a look at the Republicans.
No, I don’t like their “conquer the world” policies either, and indeed, most Americans don’t. And yet, citizens favor the GOP over the Democrats because at least the Republicans have the strength of purpose for their crazy convictions.
They have guts; they’re willing to go full throttle no matter how Lord-have-mercy-wrong they are.
They are willing to fight for what they believe. As far as they’re concerned, they “own” America. This is “their” country (delusional, aren’t they?), and they do what’s necessary to keep it.
The GOP are willing to FIGHT, and fight HARD, for what they believe in.
And that’s the reason why they’re able to run the table in almost every election in recent years. The exception, of course, was 2008, when folks were so sick and tired after eight years of George “Dubya” Bush, that voting for Barack Obama for president was a true breath of fresh air.
The presidential election of 2012 was basically handed to Pres. Obama  by Republican Mitt Romney because Romney kept putting his rich foot in his mouth (remember the “…47 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes…” remark?).
The Republicans, and specifically the Tea Party, took over Congress, and most of the governorships and state legislatures in 2010 and 2012, including here in North Carolina, and the world has been upside down every since.
And I’m not writing this as a partisan. If the Democrats had been acting this way recently I would be calling them out too. As a democracy, we’re supposed to have a vibrant two-party system, where the best ideas are placed on the table for the electorate to evaluate, and the people decide.  And the two respective parties are supposed to do what they did in the old days, namely debate the issues, come to a compromise, and then move forward knowing that they did the best for their constituents, and ultimately the nation.
That’s really what the American people want, which is why, for a while, it seemed like a good idea to vote for a divided government – a way to keep both the president and the Congress, or the governor and the state legislature, in check if opposing parties had some modicum of control.
Well Lord knows that idea has now gone to hell in a handbasket. Divided government today means one side trying desperately to destroy the other, a la’ the Tea Party-led Congress doing everything it could to destroy the first African-American president of the United States for the past four years.
And yet, as disgusting as it was, and still is, look at the focus and dedication of these folks, albeit twisted. They shutdown the federal government twice, they voted over 50 times to repeal Obamacare, they refused to work with the president on any meaningful legislation to improve the economy, and they have fought him to the point of threatening to both sue and impeach him from office, which they vow to do if the GOP takes over the Senate.
Again, these people are bat-boat crazy. But you have to admire their commitment to FIGHT hard for what they believe in.
Well, what are Democrats willing to fight hard for? Name one thing, please.
As MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow astutely pointed out last week, The economy is on a definite upswing; gas prices are $3.00 per gallon or way below for the first time in four years; the stock market overall is making money; we’ve had 56 straight months of uninterrupted job growth; the Affordable Care Act has signed up over 8 million people for better access to affordable health care; unemployment nationally is below 6 percent…this is the kind of news any candidate whose party is currently in the White House would kill to campaign on.
Instead, Democrats are actually running away from that great news, simply because of the name attached to all of it….President Obama. His poll numbers are reportedly in the low 30’s, making him poison, these Democrats in swing states say, to their candidacies. They run from him, they criticize him,…and some are too scared to even admit that in 2008 and 2012, they actually voted for him.
The Republicans have done an absolutely superb job of making Democrats deftly afraid of their own leaders, and their own shadows. Dems are afraid to spread the good news, so instead, they ran around bragging about how “conservative” they are.
Democrats, so afraid to run on the truth, that they allowed Republicans to define the rules of engagement. Keep in mind, now that it was the GOP that virtually brought the nation to its knees by closing the government twice, doing nothing about the economy, and trying to stop affordable health care from going forward. There is a lot there that the Democrats could have made the Republicans pay for during this election. And if the Dems were smart, they could have, and should have, tied any GOP candidate to the very unpopular Congress, whose poll numbers are in the teens…even lower than the president’s.
Democrats should have made Republican candidates ashamed of wanting to even be associated with the GOP in Congress. Instead, they spent more time trying to run away from Pres. Obama.
So call this the “run scared” midterm election of 2012, the election where Democrats had all of the moral fortitude of wet toilet paper. Instead of fighting on their successes, they ran like rabbits. The party needs backbone and commitment to principles. It needs to face down its adversaries and make them pay for the harm they’ve done to the nation, and to the divisions they’ve caused.
The Dems desperately need to grow a pair, because if they’re not willing to do even half of what the Republicans have done to win control of this nation, then Dems might as well hang it up.
No one wants to be associated with cowardice!
 Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.

No comments:

Post a Comment