Thursday, November 21, 2019

A High-Level Republican Decides Against Running for Reelection in 2020

Rick Gunn, Republican Majority Whip in the NC Senate (District 24, Alamance and Guilford), announced yesterday that he would not be seeking reelection in 2020. Was that a surprise? To me, at least, it was, but he had obviously been planning the announcement for some time. His bowing out was covered in the same Burlington Times-News article that also provided a quick profile of his clearly anointed successor.

Amy Galey
Alamance County Commission Chair Amy Galey has been chosen -- by Gunn at least, if not by the Republican leadership in Alamance -- to run for Rick Gunn's seat next year. She looks formidable. Galey is a young 52. She ran for the Alamance Commission first time in the 2016 Republican primary, fell short by 40 votes, but won a special election the next year for an unexpired commissioner's seat and was promptly elected chair of the commission. She won reelection in her own right in 2018 as the top vote-getter.

Alamance is a very red county, though Galey sounds like a moderate: "I have supported public education while expecting accountability for taxpayer investment, supported farmland preservation, and worked on smart growth answers to Alamance County’s challenges." Talks like a pro-growth Democrat -- the importance of education, farmland preservation, and "smart growth." According to Isaac Groves, Galey is "often the swing vote" on the Alamance County Commission, "sometimes siding with the conservatives on the board" (interesting way to put it). "She also joined the 3–2 majority in June to approve an 8-cent property tax rate increase to fund the voter-approved $189.6 million education bond package and long-range capital plan County Manager Bryan Hagood introduced." Not the type of rural Republican we're used to these days. More of an urban type.

Now with the 24th Senate District an open seat, the winning path for Democratic candidate J.D. Wooten maybe just got a little easier. Wooten ran an energetic campaign for the seat in 2018 but lost. I extensively profiled both him and District 24 back in July after I discovered that he had announced he'll be trying again in 2020. Michael Bitzer rates the district as "Lean Republican," but Real Facts NC considers it among the flippable prospects next year. (FlipNC sees it as a "Longshot," which aligns more with Bitzer. The entry of Amy Galey would seem to bolster that view.)

Here's Wooten's bio in a little over a minute (he's upped his game):

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