Friday, June 28, 2013

What’s Going On With the Watauga County Board of Elections?

Jim Hastings
As you should know, the administration of local boards of elections (BOE) changes with any partisan turn-over in the governor’s mansion. With the election of McCrory, the personnel of every county BOE becomes two Republicans to one Democrat. The governor’s office makes the appointments from lists of preferred candidates forwarded to Raleigh from county parties.

When the new county BOE lists were posted on the State Board of Elections website, we were somewhat surprised by the two Republican appointees:
Jim Hastings, host of “The Right Side” on WATA-AM
Bill Aceto, a realtor with Blue Ridge Realty
Wait! Jim Hastings? Not Stacy Eggers IV (“Four”), who has been the Republican member of the local board for several years and who was the top pick of the local Republican Party to take over the board under Republican rule. Something happened to upset that apple cart.

We’ve had a problem with the dual roles Mr. Eggers was already filling, as both a member of the Board of Elections and as the county attorney serving the Republican majority. We were going to have an even bigger problem with Mr. Eggers as chair of the BOE, had that happened, since he would appear to have a glaring conflict of interest in managing an election process without also tilting the playing field to advantage his Republican bosses on the Board of Commissioners. Perhaps someone in Mr. McCrory’s administration noticed the conflict too.

Instead, the governor has given us Jim Hastings, a flesh-eating partisan who has made his weekly radio show a virtual acid bath of nastiness sprayed on Democrats in general and on the Town of Boone in particular. Yeah, he’ll be fair!

But he’ll also be pinched by North Carolina statutes governing the political activities of members of local boards of election. G.S. § 163-39, “Limitation on political activities,” will put the kibosh on Mr. Hastings’ radio career, though we suppose he might convert it to a cooking show.

A dead give-away of something unusual going on behind the scenes: no one in the Watauga GOP wants to talk about it. Aceto told the Watauga Democrat that he’s leaving the country any minute and didn’t have time to talk. Jim Hastings couldn’t be reached. And Anne Marie Yates, chairwoman of the party, said “she was not yet ready to give an interview about the appointments.”

That’s not a particularly good look for a party chair.


Anonymous said...

JW, you should recognize most of the following:

“(JW Williamson), a flesh-eating partisan who has made his (blog) a virtual acid bath of nastiness sprayed on (Republicans) in general and on the (Watauga County Commission) in particular.”

Funny enough, you and Jim Hastings are really the same person, just on different sides of the political spectrum.

Brothers, how sweet.

Anonymous said...

When I read that Hastings had been indicted for not filing income taxes for several years, I just naturally assumed he was a Democrat.