Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Correction

I thought my readers should know that I've been sued for defamation by Mr. Don Blankenship, former Chairman and CEO of the Massey Energy Company of West Virginia. It appears Mr. Blankenship thinks I had something to do with his loss in the Republican senatorial primary in West Virginia in 2018.

I am one of what were originally 150 defendants. The top first-named defendant is Judge Andrew Napolitano of the Fox News Network (hence the suit is known as Blankenship v. Napolitano et al.). Others named as defendants include the Washington Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, Esquire magazine, Wonkette, the Huffington Post, Breitbart News -- the list runs to several pages. Some of these have now apparently negotiated their way out of the lawsuit.

On April 5, 2010, a huge underground explosion at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine in Raleigh County, W.Va., took the lives of 29 miners. As head of the company, Blankenship was subsequently prosecuted by the Federal government for that explosion. In a trial in West Virginia, Blankenship was acquitted by a jury of some charges, found guilty of one charge, and spent approximately a year in Federal prison.

When he left prison, he went into politics and ran for the US Senate in the Republican primary of 2018 with two other candidates who hoped to unseat Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

According to Blankenship v. Napolitano et al., WataugaWatch referred to Blankenship in a post on April 15, 2018, as a "recent felon … who's notorious in West Virginia without necessarily being electable." On the eve of the primary, May 7, 2018, WataugaWatch again mentioned Blankenship: "Holy crap! Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin has been considered the most endangered Democrat in the US Senate, but the Republican voters in their primary tomorrow may grant him a reprieve … if they choose felon coal baron Don Blankenship to run against him." 

It turns out that although Mr. Blankenship was charged with felonies, he was only convicted of a misdemeanor. By using the word felon, I am blamed for linking to national news sources and for following the language being used at the time in the mainstream press, which some sources later corrected. I was unaware of those corrections, and I was unaware that he had only been convicted of a misdemeanor. I thought my characterization was accurate. Most of the 150 defendants in this lawsuit -- perhaps all of them -- at some point used the word felon or the word felony in the same sentence with the name Don Blankenship, as did I.
Correction: My saying that Don Blankenship was a felon instead of his being convicted of one misdemeanor charge of conspiring to violate mine safety and health standards in relation to the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion -- for which his punishment was a year in jail -- was a mistake and unintentional. He was indeed acquitted of the felony charges. I meant no offense.

Blankenship lost the Republican primary on May 8 to Patrick Morrisey by 20,529 votes, coming in third in the primary out of a total of six candidates. The readership of WataugaWatch is primarily located in North Carolina, and principally in Watauga County of North Carolina. I don't know how many West Virginia voters might be reading a local North Carolina blog, but I don't think it's enough to have caused Don Blankenship to lose his primary race by over 20,000 votes.

Breaking News: On Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 -- yesterday -- a federal judge in West Virginia refused to toss the misdemeanor conviction of Don Blankenship for conspiring to violate mine safety laws.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Threat of White Populism

I'm reading Jill Lepore's "These Truths: A History of the United States," and I'm sort of hoping it never ends. I've read a lot of American history, but nothing I've read previously completely prepared me for the dish that Lepore serves up -- an American pie with a tough crust and ingredients you might just as soon not bite down on. It's essential reading, and such good writing. Her Chapter 8 alone, on the Civil War, moved me to tears in a way I wasn't expecting.

I've often considered myself a populist. If I'd been born in France in the 18th Century, there's not a doubt in my mind that I would have shown up outside Versailles with a pitchfork. In my view, Citizens United v. FEC is just another Versailles of privilege and judicial favoritism. Sure, sure I've read enough to know the dark side of populism, that agitating outside the gilded halls leads to entertainment at the guillotine. But Occupy Wall Street led to nary an execution, so far as I know.

Jill Lepore writes one paragraph that clarifies so much about American populism as variously understood by citizens who look in different directions for their enemies:
Populism entered American politics at the end of the nineteenth century, and it never left. It pitted "the people," meaning everyone but the rich, against corporations, which fought back in the courts by defining themselves as "persons"; and it pitted "the people," meaning white people, against nonwhite people who were fighting for citizenship and whose ability to fight back in the courts was far more limited, since those fights require well-paid lawyers.
The tension between those two vectors defines our Republic, and mars it, and coincidentally catches me in my own contradiction: I always wanted more populism from Barack Obama. And less from Trump (bless his heart).

I'm Counting on You, Gen-Z

The holy hell the student journalists at the Daily Tar Heel have been raising over the so-called "Silent Sam settlement" is just one more indication that the Baby Boomer Generation in North Carolina has become as moldy and full of worm holes as hundred-year-old Stilton and that our young people are our last best hope for saving us from backsliding into Lost Cause nostalgia. Among other things.

[NOTE: I'm not a Boomer, dammit! I'm older than that, born near the end of the Silent Generation's reign of indifference and smug complacency. I have my own demons.]

In case you don't follow the news out of Orange County, the UNC Board of Governors -- every last one of them a Republican Boomer appointed by the Republican bosses in the General Assembly -- did a secret deal with a white supremacist neo-Confederate group to accept $2.6 million to take the Silent Sam statue off the university's hands.

The Gen-Z journalists at the Daily Tar Heel began looking into that deal and completely scooped all the regular news outlets. What the reporters uncovered is plenty problematic, smelly enough that the Daily Tar Heel is also suing the Board of Governors for violating the state's open meetings law while arriving at their deal with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The 18-to-20 year olds now populating our university campuses were born when I was reaching retirement age, and the ones I've known and worked with -- several, and more all the time, because Gen-Z is nothing if it's not politically motivated to pay attention and do something -- give me inordinate hope. They say they are motivated by fear, and I can appreciate that. They've been watching the mess the Boomers created, and they can recognize a tipping point even if their elders can't.

I hear just this morning that more university campuses in this state will have on-campus polling stations this year, just like AppState fought so hard to preserve. That gladdens my heart. Just like the spectacle of the Daily Tar Heel suing the Board of Governors over violating the open meetings law brightens my gloomy day.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Elections of March: US House NC6

A First Look at what is likely a Democratic pickup next November. The winner of this Dems primary will likely be the next congressperson in DeeCee, representing all of Guilford and the most urban part of Forsyth. Greensboro and Winston-Salem -- together at last!

Democrats on the ballot March 3rd:

Bruce Davis, High Point, 62 years old, born in 1957, Baby Boomer, African-American. Perennial candidate: Going back to 2010 and 2012, he tried twice to oust Democratic NC Senator Gladys Robinson from her seat in NCS28. In 2014, he ran unsuccessfully in the primary for the old 6th Congressional District. But in 2016, Davis finally won a race -- in a crowded Democratic primary in the old CD13, he won the privilege to go up against newcomer Republican Ted Budd. Davis lost to Budd in the General, while taking a respectable 156,000 votes to Budd's 199,000. Then in 2019, he ran third in the non-partisan 2019 primary for mayor of High Point.
Rhonda Foxx, Greensboro, 37 years old, born in 1983, Millennial, African-American. First-time candidate. 2008 graduate of George Washington University Law School. Subsequently a rising attorney and congressional staffer in Washington, D.C. Until recently chief of staff to Congresswoman Alma Adams. The founder of the Black Women’s Congressional Alliance, a caucus of 175 black women working on Capitol Hill. BA from UNC-Chapel Hill. (Curiously, for such a political professional, Foxx's web presence is next to nil. An underdeveloped Facebook page. An underdeveloped Twitter account. That's all I find.)
Ed Hanes Jr., Winston-Salem, 47 years old, born in 1973, Gen-X-er, African-American. Represented District 72 in the NCHouse, 2013 to August 2018, when he resigned suddenly while under a cloud for campaign finance violations. He insisted that Winston-Salem city councilman Derwin L. Montgomery be appointed to his unexpired term in the NCHouse.
Kathy Manning, Greensboro, 63 years old, born in 1956, Baby Boomer. Ran unsuccessfully in 2018 against incumbent Republican Ted Budd in the old 13th Congressional District. Philantrophist. Self-described "business-oriented moderate." Demonstrated champion fundraiser.
Derwin L. Montgomery, Winston-Salem, 32 years old, born in 1988, Millennial, African-American. Long-serving member of the Winston-Salem city council (first elected 2009), representing the East Ward. Appointed August 2018 to Ed Hanes' unexpired term in NCHouse (Dist. 72). Won reelection in his own right to the seat in November 2018.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Elections of March: Can an Insurgent African-American Man Take Out a 9-Term White Woman in NCH102?

The Carney-Peebles Primary in NC House District 102

Becky Carney
Dist. 102 in north Charlotte is considered "Likely Democratic." No lie. Expected Democratic performance in a general election -- 79% of the vote (Bitzer).

Democrat Becky Carney has represented the district since 2002. She's a classic. Liberal Democrat, 75 years old, born in 1944, which makes her late-stage Silent Generation (same as me). I've seen Carney's employment listed as "homemaker." She's proud to be the mother of six and the grandmother of 14. And guess what? She represents a majority black district. She's a political power with an impeccable image and reputation.

She's also a survivor in the rawest, realest sense of that word. She suffered something called "sudden cardiac death" in 2009, the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness (according to the Mayo Clinic), and had successful open heart surgery in 2015. "Doctors implanted a left ventricular assist device. The LVAD is a mechanical pump that delivers blood from the left ventricle to the aorta and on to the rest of the body." (Charlotte Observer) Then she had a lumpectomy in June of 2018 and went on to win reelection to her seat that fall with 83% of the vote.

She's always mainly won reelection without any primary opposition (and with only spotty Republican opposition). She did have a primary opponent (weak ) in 2018 who got less than 19% against her. She seems invincible, especially considering that she was once also Outstanding Public Servant of the Year for the Charlotte NAACP, and a 2005 inductee into the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs Inc., Charlotte Club Women’s History Hall of Fame, and she served as a legislator on the founding board of the Minority Golf Museum and Hall of Fame (which maybe didn't pan out). And hey you hipsters, she's for the legalization of marijuana.

2020 Is Gonna Be Different
She has a formidable primary challenger this year in African-American Democrat Jonathan Peebles (and still more primary challengers in the margins who don't seem very significant, unless one of them splits the black vote -- see below). Peebles is a 32-year-old Millennial, and does he ever look ready for a campaign! With all the bells and social media whistles in place, including a useful introductory video for getting to know the guy (I'm including the 2 minute-plus version below, which contains more biography; there's a shorter 40-second version too):

Peebles has only been in Charlotte since 2012, but he's broken out as a community leader and organizer. He works in the world of non-profits, for the Latin American Coalition as its development and operations director. Bio from the Charlotte Post:

"A native of Springfield, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C., Peebles graduated Old Dominion University in Norfolk and ... he decided to pursue a master’s degree in public administration at UNC Charlotte, where he gained experience working in areas of nonprofit services, equity, and economic development."

He's also a member of the Black Political Caucus, president of the Young Democrats of Mecklenburg, and a member of something called the Eastside Education Think Tank Committee. Maybe more important than any of the rest for overtaking Becky Carney is Peebles' visible activism in the Mecklenburg Democratic Party. He's a part of the State Executive Committee, active in his precinct, a leader of other Millennials -- all of which could seriously erode Carney's party base for the first time.

Peebles campaign sites:;;; and

Kyle Kirby
Other Democrats in the Carney-Peebles Primary

Leroy Dean, a 51-year-old African-American who's completely invisible to the searching eyes of Google.

And Anthony E. Forman, a 66-year-old African-American who at least has a Facebook presence. He has no history with the Democratic Party and only started voting after the election of Trump. That's a prevalent sign of the times among some -- many? -- of the sudden candidates for office.

The Eventual Republican Sacrificial Lamb

On the ballot in November for NCH102 will be Republican Kyle Kirby, a 34-year-old Millennial who's running on the slogan "Love Your Neighbor." No kidding. That's a local Republican slogan in the Age of Trump. Kirby's also gay-friendly, says he's for LGBTQ+ rights, and he's also for legalizing recreational marijuana (while also taxing it, for revenue, and who says Republicans can't see clearly on a Wednesday?).

Hardly a Republican in the mold of Trump -- let alone the Berger-Moore type currently serving in the General Assembly.

Thursday, January 09, 2020

The Elections of March: Democrat Aimy Steele Has This, But Which Republican Will She Face in November?

NC House District 82 -- Cabarrus County

Republican incumbent Linda P. Johnson was first elected to the NC House District 83 in 2000 and was reelected in that district until redistricting turned it into District 82, and she was reelected in that district until she decided to retire ahead of the 2020 elections. She didn't publicly announce her decision to retire until December 19, though she had let her chosen successor know. Ultimately, three Republicans filed to replace her. Two Democrats also want the seat, which is now rated "Lean Republican" with a predicted Republican vote-share of 55.70% (even though the most recent redistricting removed 1.60% of that Republican base).

The Democrats

Aimy Steele ran for this seat against Linda Johnson in 2018 and did not stop running for a re-match throughout 2019 and into 2020. She's a 40-year-old Gen-X-er born in 1970. In 2018, Steele left her job as principal of Beverly Hills STEM Elementary School in Concord, N.C., to run unencumbered for the NC House. She out-performed Democratic expectations, earning 47.25% of the vote and losing to incumbent Johnson by 1,978 votes out of almost 36,000 total votes cast. (As of January 2018 there were 62,444 registered voters in the district. More on that number below.)
Steele announced way back in January of 2019 year that she "wouldn't be returning to the school house" because she intended to try again in 2020, "buoyed by her experience as a candidate and what she learned along the way." I went back to read what I wrote about Aimy Steele in 2018. Based on her personal history, I called her a "wonder woman," but I also acknowledged the giant windmill that an entrenched incumbent like Linda Johnson was going to represent. I titled the piece "Donna Quixote."
FlipNC rated the 82nd in its second tier of 2020 most flippable districts, saying they expect Democratic prospects to improve there by 3 points in 2020. I dunno. Michael Bitzer's calculation about the new district is included above in the headnote in the last sentence. Still a big windmill for Aimy Steele to tilt against.
But lookee here: In the 2018 election, some 26,484 registered voters didn't bother to show up in District 82. A total of only 35,960 votes were cast, out of 62,444 registered voters. Wow. That's an untapped source for any candidate who can stir some enthusiasm among the disaffected, the uninterested, the turned-off voters of Cabarrus. That poor voter turnout in 2018 appears to be not just typical of off-year elections in the 82nd, but plain typical. Turnout was higher in 2016, a presidential year, but not that much higher -- 42,636 total votes cast. Still a lot of disengaged votes left on the table (though clearly, from her losing margin in 2018, Aimy Steele got to some of them).
When Steele launched in January last year, she told Education Week that she would be using "two of the biggest lessons from the 2018 campaign to guide her this time around: start fundraising early and have a better ground game, with early organization and door-knocking in neighborhoods and precincts." With reference to the first, I intend to contribute to her campaign. (She's incidentally also been endorsed by Lillian's List and by the new Long Leaf Pine Slate.) With reference to the 2nd, "better ground game" is music to my ears. Retail politics. Knock on those doors of voters who aren't typically voting.
But first, you've got to find them. I hope Steele has a talented computerized data operative as well as a finance director.

William F. Pilkington is a 68-year-old Baby Boomer and retired CEO and Public Health Director of the Cabarrus Health Alliance, a 38-year job experience that's impressive on the face of it and under normal circumstances might look like a good foundation on which to build a political campaign. But considering Aimy Steele's commitment and past performance, I can't help thinking of Mr. Pilkington's entry into the primary as something akin to a "spoiler" candidacy. 
Because he seems utterly unprepared for a campaign. I haven't found a scrap of campaign infrastructure -- no website, not even a Facebook page. He's the invisible man, and white to boot, which suggests a certain assumption of privilege which I hope I'm completely wrong about.

The Republicans

Here's where it gets interesting, because there's an "anointed one" and a couple of insurgents who evidently didn't get the memo.

Parish Moffitt, the "anointed one," is a 45-year-old Gen-X-er born in 1974 who's been incumbent Linda Johnson's Cabarrus "liaison," which seems to mean that he represented her at meetings she didn't want to attend. He says that Johnson recruited him to run in her place, and she put out an endorsement message for him on the same day that she announced her retirement -- Dec. 18, near the close of candidate filing. If that late announcement was meant to keep down the competition, the plan didn't work.
Moffitt says he's an American Airlines pilot who also owns Aero Crews LLC, which appears to be mainly a pilot employment agency. His website is de minimis on content, so if you're looking for his political philosophy, the plastering of the word conservative will have to do as answer to all your questions. Oh, okay, say no more.
He has a Facebook page where he wears "Endorsed by Rep. Linda Johnson" like a beauty pageant sash.
I reckon this Republican primary will be a test of the power and influence of Linda P. Johnson, because Parish Moffitt hasn't offered much on his own.

Kristin Baker is a 56-year-old Baby Boomer born in 1963 and a psychiatrist with impressive credentials. She was Morehead Scholar who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Chapel Hill and went on to earn her medical degree from the UNC School of Medicine. She's been practicing for over 20 years and has served as medical director for Hospice of Cabarrus County. On her Facebook page, she wants you to know that she's a "Pro-Life Psychiatrist," which conjures for me certain memes that fill me with hilarity. Also fun: her campaign slogan of "Rooted. Ready. Real." Those periods are like thunderclaps, aren't they? 
She also parades the word conservative even more than does Parish Moffitt. "Conservative, conservative, conservative." But she throws in, for good measure, "political outsider," perhaps in reaction to the political annointment of Parish Moffitt for the seat by an incumbent who's perhaps been incumbent for too long.

Judge Hamby in 2012, with Marco Rubio
William G. Hamby Jr. is a 63-year-old retired chief district judge (first elected in 1993) and a boomer. He's been an attorney in Cabarrus County since 1983 and is perhaps resting on the laurels of a long legal career because he hasn't bothered to establish any campaign infrastructure for inquiring political minds -- no website, no Facebook page, no nuttin. If he offers any contrast to the above two, it's impossible to know it.
His retirement in 2018 occasioned a thumbnail biographical sketch about him in the Concord Independent Tribune:
"Judge Hamby has dedicated his entire adult life to public service. After Graduating from UNC- Chapel Hill, he began his career as a middle school teacher until he was called for jury duty for a second degree murder trial. This piqued his interest in the judicial system and led him to alter dramatically his life’s plans. He applied and was accepted to Wake Forest University Law School, where he graduated in 1983.
"After graduation, Judge Hamby moved to Cabarrus County and opened a thriving law firm. He then ran and was elected as a Cabarrus County Commissioner, where some of his most notable successes included improving the tourism industry, creating the Concord Regional Airport and building water supply stations throughout the county."
Sounds like a reasonable guy. The NCGOP could use more judicial temperaments.
Hamby served as a North Carolina delegate to the Republican National Convention in 2012 and helped nominate Mitt Romney for the presidency. He doesn't look like a Trumper. But is his mojo distinguished enough in Cabarrus to overcome the anointed one and the pro-life psychiatrist? 

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The Elections of March: Brian Farkas v. Jake Hochard in Pitt County

NC House District 9 -- Pitt County

Former incumbent Republican NC House member Greg Murphy ran successfully last year for the US Congress in NC-3 in a special election. Republican Perrin Jones was appointed to his empty seat in the NC House and is running for election. Two Democrats have also filed and will face one another in the March 3rd primary. Following the most recent remapping of General Assembly districts, NCH9 lost over 6% of its likely Republican vote, so the district is now rated "Competitive -- Lean Democratic." This district ought to be one of the easier "flips" this year, but everything depends on whom the Democrats nominate.

Democrat Brian Farkas is a 32-year-old millennial born in 1987, raised in Pitt County, and he's running an energetic campaign and attracting some significant support. Freshman Rep. Zack Hawkins of Durham County gave the keynote at the Farkas launch party (Rep. Joe Sam Queen of western NC also attended along with Jenna Wadsworth, who is making some waves herself as a new kind of candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture). Farkas has been endorsed by Now Or Never NC, an organization that backs candidates who support public education, redistricting reform, voter access, and local governance, and by the Long Leaf Pine Slate, a project by Blair Reeves to help favored Democratic candidates raise money.
Four years ago, while he was still in his 20s, Farkas challenged Greg Murphy for this seat. Farkas understood the importance of a good ground game for an under-funded campaign, and he got 17,000 votes to Murphy's almost 23,000 -- a loss, yes, but a loss that showed some promise for the future, especially considering Farkas's age at the time.
He's a graduate of UNC-Charlotte and earned a Master's of Public Administration at Chapel Hill. He interned with Congressman Brad Miller in DeeCee in 2007, worked almost three years in the US Attorney's office in Charlotte, spent ten months as a graduate assistant in the School of Government at UNC, worked 20 months as a program specialist with the National Institute of Environmental Health at Research Triangle Park before joining the JKF Architecture firm in Greenville as Director of Client Relations and Development, where he's been since 2013. A man on the move, picking up experience in all sorts of real world arenas.
He's also been very active as a volunteer with many local development and eleemosynary orgs including the Greenville Museum of Art, the Rocking Horse Therapeutic Riding Program, and the Greenville-Eastern North Carolina Alliance for economic empowerment.

Democrat Jake Hochard is also a 32-year-old millennial born in 1988 and an economics professor at East Carolina University. He earned his bachelor's degrees in economics and environmental studies from Gettysburg College in 2011, and a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Wyoming in 2015. He did not start voting in North Carolina until the 2018 mid-terms, and he's never run for office before. 
Hochard's career experience includes working as a poverty and environmental economist, and he served as a technical and scientific expert for the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuarine Partnership, and as a research fellow with the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute and the Center for Natural Hazards Research. 
He wrote about himself for a Ballotpedia candidate survey: "Like many ECU students, Jake is from a blue-collar family, is a first-generation college student and self-financed his education. Jake specializes in the study of economic conditions that alleviate poverty while promoting growth and has brought nearly $1 million in research funding to ECU, taught 800+ students and employed 30+ students to better understand conditions of poverty, healthcare and natural disasters in eastern North Carolina."
Hochard offers a contrast to Farkas, certainly in style and image in not in basic democratic beliefs. Both, we suspect, will be trying to mobilize student voters at East Carolina University. Hochard may have the edge there, but Farkas has more of the volunteer base of the local Democratic Party.

Republican incumbent (since October 2019) Perrin Jones has the advantage of incumbency. Plus perhaps an advantage of status as a respected anesthesiologist and some might say an advantage of age -- he's a 47-year-old Gen-X-er born in 1972 in Charlotte. He was educated at UNC-Chapel Hill and at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest. He also has the advantage of serving such a short time in the NC House that he doesn't have his name on any controversial legislation and is virtually a blank slate.
As far as I can tell, he has no campaign website and only a Facebook page, to which he's posted infrequently and certainly nothing controversial. That lack of campaign infrastructure will likely change after the Democratic primary, along with his image as a "soft Republican."
How Trumpy will be go? 

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

The Elections of March: Why a Democratic Primary in NCS38?

NC Senate District 38 -- Mecklenburg County

Primary challengers have popped up in some unlikely races this year, none perhaps more surprising than the two Democratic challengers to the incumbent Democratic senator in this Mecklenburg district. The winner of the primary is almost guaranteed to take the seat against weak Republican opposition next November.

Incumbent Democrat Mujtaba Mohammed is a 35-year-old millennial (born in 1985 in Toledo, Ohio, to immigrant parents from India) who earned his law degree from NC Central and who works primarily as a public defender. He took over 81% of the vote for the seat in 2018, which is why this district is rated "Likely Democratic." But before he got to the fall election in 2018, he had taken out three-term incumbent Democrat Joel Ford, who had regularly inserted his thumb in his caucus's eye by voting repeatedly with the Senate Republicans.
Mohammed has been active in the Senate as primary sponsor for bills relating especially to the welfare of children and to education. Never mind that the Republican overlords often maroon those bills in the Rules Committee. He was primary sponsor for bills to restore a child care tax credit, restore a bump in teacher salaries for a Master's degree, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bill to Reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit, a bill to raise the minimum wage in North Carolina, a bill to fully fund school counselors and psychologists, and a full repeal of HB2 (among others).

Democrat Laura Anthony is a 50-year-old Gen-X-er born in 1970 who appears to have been spurred to political activity by the Rise of Trump. As far as I can tell, she voted for the first time ever in 2016 and then again in 2018, but her Twitter feed strikes resonate progressive themes. She wrote on December 12, "Going into politics was not my plan. But our democracy is at risk. Access to healthcare is at risk. Women Rights are at risk. Free and Fair elections are at risk And that’s why I’m asking you to join me." Her first run for any public office.

Democrat Roderick Davis is a 36-year-old millennial born in 1984 and a perennial candidate. He ran for mayor of Charlotte in 2015, for the NC Senate seat in both 2016 and 2018, and for an at-large seat on the Charlotte City Council in 2017. In the 2018 primary for the senate seat, he got 631 votes out of 13,284 total votes cast. 

Republican Jack Brosch is a 61-year-old baby boomer born in 1958. He previously ran for Congress against Mel Watt in 2012, so self-immolation is sort of his MO.

Monday, January 06, 2020

The Body Count -- Eric Chewning, Chief of Staff to SecDef

A Reoccurring Feature on Who's Jumping Off Luxury Liner Trump

Eric Chewning, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, will step down at the end of this month, his exit apparently accelerated by Trump's latest wild swings against Iran. 

Chewning, a former Army intelligence officer and combat veteran, joined the Pentagon in 2017 and was later promoted to chief of staff by then-Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan.

Chewning will return to the private sector where rational decision-making is still practiced.