Monday, December 31, 2007

The Races of '08

Filing to run for office in North Carolina in 2008 will open February 11th. The Watauga County ballot will include three County Commission races: the seats held by Commission Chair Jim Deal and commissioners Winston Kinsey and Mary Moretz will be contested, as will three seats on the county Board of Education. State Senator Steve Goss and state House member Cullie Tarleton will both be defending their seats, as will Madam Virginia Foxx, NC-5 representative in the U.S. Congress.

The ballot will also be crowded with state-wide races: Liddy Dole will be defending her U.S. Senate seat against the winner of the May 6th Democratic primary. There'll be a regular brawl for the governor's mansion, pitting whoever wins the two parties' primaries (which are already bare-knuckled fist-fights). The Lieutenant Governor's race will also be a battleground, and there are already five candidates total from both parties vying to replace Richard Moore as State Treasurer. (The N&O has a useful summary this a.m. of some of these key contests.)

One of the most important races on the '08 ballot, and one that will be overlooked or taken for granted by many voters, is the N.C. Supreme Court seat of Associate Justice Robert Edmunds, a Republican, who must run for reelection. Democrat Suzanne Reynolds, a law professor at Wake Forest University, has already announced her intention to run against Edmunds. The balance on the state's Supremes tips Republican at the moment, with 4 Rs to 3 Ds. As if we didn't already know what's at stake in this race, a Republican Appeals Court judge spoke publicly about it last October (summarized by the N&O):
"Judge Doug McCullough encouraged Republicans in Haywood County to re-elect Edmunds. He suggested that Edmunds would uphold GOP interests if the court considers a lawsuit over redistricting plans drawn up by the legislature. Edmunds has emphasized his impartiality and distanced himself from McCullough's comments."

Yeah, we know something about the "impartiality" of Supreme Court justices, especially the five who appointed George W. Bush president in 2005!

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