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.

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