Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tedd Budd, Juvenile, Announces His Bid for US Senate


Congressman Tedd Budd said he didn't need monster trucks to announce his "liberal crusher" campaign for the US Senate ... while using monster trucks, featuring them in the video below. In other words, he's every bit the trifling apex of conservative values that we learned the Trump era was all about. Budd hits all the easy marks for a Republican Party completely out of ideas. He includes mentions of Dr. Seuss and defunding the police, as well as an image of a flag with a “thin blue line” representing police, and he says the U.S. Senate is the last line of defense against turning America into a “woke Socialist wasteland.”

Read more here:

Budd also looks to be the Club for Growth's last bulwark against the return of Pat McCrory, but one wonders if two congressional conservatives -- including ex-Congressman Mark Walker, who's already been campaigning for months -- might not split the right-wing vote and allow McCrory to waltz through with 30% (plus 1).

Budd was willing to overturn the 2020 election. He was among the first in Congress from NC to announce he would not vote for the certification of the election, and he wrote his fellow House members urging them to throw out millions of votes for Joe Biden because Donald Trump told him to. Even after the Capitol insurrection, he voted against the certification of both Arizona and Pennsylvania.

He makes his living selling guns.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sigh. Another Republican Seat in Congress


Busy news day yesterday, which included the totally unsurprising and wholly expected development that the US Census says North Carolina will get a 14th Congressional seat, due to our attractiveness to in-migrants. Naturally, the Republicans in the General Assembly will be totally fair in their drawing of new maps [snort!]. Right now the NC delegation in Congress is 9-4, Republican-Democrat, and we can just about guarantee that it'll be 10-4 after new maps are drawn and ten seconds before the lawsuits fly.

[Sorry, but I was wrong above. The current NC Congressional delegates is 8-5, majority R. The R majority in the General Assembly intend to right that historic wrong.]

Tim Moore.
Will NC's newest CD be gift-wrapped
for him?

Lekha Shupeck published on Twitter a screenshot, apparently from a Carolina Journal group (Art Pope), of what the Republican scheme might be:

Hmmm. Democratic representatives Alma Adams, David Price, Deborah Ross, and G.K. Butterfield left unmolested, with new Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning targeted for elimination, and the new 14th District drawn to accommodate the ambitions of House Speaker and champion at self-aggrandisement Tim Moore of Gaston County. Sounds about right. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Cheri Beasley Officially Launched Her Senate Campaign Today


The other shoe finally dropped.

Former NC Chief Justice Cheri Beasley officially launched her campaign for Richard Burr's Senate seat this morning, joining what Brian Murphy called "a robust field" of other candidates, some of whom have been campaigning for months.

Beasley is the fifth Democrat in the race, joining former state Sen. Erica Smith, state Sen. Jeff Jackson, virologist Richard Watkins, and Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton. Smith and Watkins are also Black. Realistically, the ultimate showdown will probably be between Jeff Jackson and Cheri Beasley.

Brian Murphy's reporting:

Beasley was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2012, then won her seat in 2014. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper elevated her to chief justice in 2019.

She has not run for partisan office before, and her launch offered few details about her positions on any hot-button or current issues before Congress. Instead, she called for opening doors.

“Whether it’s health care, education, or the ability to find work that supports a family and retire with dignity, too often Washington only responds to the well-connected. As we come out of this pandemic, now more than ever, that needs to end,” Beasley said.

Beasley's launch video is worth watching:

Monday, April 26, 2021

Joe Cunningham, Runing for Governor of South Carolina

In 2018, I was enthusiastic about Democrat Joe Cunningham, running in the 1st CD of South Carolina, which includes the bluish city of Charleston. Naturally, because I promoted him on this obscure North Carolina blog, he won that race, and not so wonderfully (but understandable, after all, ... because South Carolina) he aligned as a Blue Dog in Congress (and I am capable of capacious forgiveness when the majority is at stake).

Also, naturally, because South Carolina, and because of the surge in toxic Trumpism in 2020, Cunningham promptly lost his seat last November (by 1 measly percentage point). I mourned that loss along with several others I had cheered on in 2018.

Now Cunningham has declared his candidacy for governor of South Carolina next year. On Twitter someone who knows South Carolina better than I said, "Yes, Joe Cunningham will be a good candidate, and no, he can't win." I'm familiar with that let's-kill-our-chickens-before-they-hatch defensiveness on the part of Southern Democrats who are all too accustomed to useless gestures and doomed races, but I don't hazard any prognostications. Cunningham won his seat in Congress in an off year, and 2022 will be an off year again, so who knows. (The Shadow knows!)

“I think the test of a true leader is whether or not you’ll be honest with people about the real challenges facing our state and have the backbone to actually fix them,” Cunningham said in an exclusive interview with The Post and Courier on April 25. Current Governor Henry McMaster "failed that test, but I won’t.” One of the ways McMaster failed was in his cavalier disregard for the COVID pandemic, which cost lives.

“I’ve been thinking about what kind of future I want my son and other children and grandchildren to have here in this state,” Cunningham said. “I love this state and I will make sure that we’re living up to our God-given potential.”

Friday, April 23, 2021

Virginia Foxx Grabs #MadCaw Endorsement


Bo Hines (2nd from left), chatting
up the boys in the AppState
Young Republicans club

Virginia Foxx is bragging that immature adult human Madison Cawthorn has endorsed her for reelection to Congress.

Hardly seems like a natural fit, but it's interesting that Foxx bagged herself #MadCaw before her #MadCaw wannabe primary challenger Bo Hines could do so.

Bo Hines would seem much more the likely candidate for Cawthorn's endorsement. Hines is about the same age and casts approximately the same hard-right profile. He's all America First Trumpist and thinks Virginia Foxx has been in Congress past her shelf-life. You might suppose that an unlikely insurgent like Madison Cawthorn would be drawn to unlikely insurgent Bo Hines.

And why the massively studious Virginia Foxx would relish the endorsement of that ignorant man-child is passing strange. Except that Hines is working hard to undercut her with college-age voters.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Another Democrat Enters Already Crowded Primary in NC11


If freshman US Rep. Madison Cawthorn (#MadCaw) has done nothing else in his short time in Congress, he's energized a growing squad of Democrats who want to challenge him for his seat in 2022.

Bo Hess

The newest Democrat to declare candidacy is social worker and therapist Bo Hess. The following taken from his press release:

Bo's mom was also a social worker and his dad retired from the United States Air Force. Like them, Bo felt a call to public service. For nearly 20 years, he has been proud to call Western North Carolina home. Bo earned an Associate of Human Services Technology from Asheville-Buncombe County Technical College, a Bachelor of Social Work from Western Carolina University and eventually his Master of Social Work from WCU.

"For years I have listened to my patients, their struggles, their heartbreak, what keeps them up at night, what causes them to fall into despair. Lack of opportunities, the rising cost of healthcare and affordable housing has pushed people into hard times," said Hess. "I want to give the people of Western North Carolina a voice. I want to work everyday in Congress to create practical policies that will help real people in their everyday lives."

Here's the list of additional Democrats who've said they'll run in the NC11 Democratic primary next March (so far). (Links go to what we've written about them on WataugaWatch.)

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Josh Remillard

Ed Gash

Jay Carey

According to Western Carolina Univ. political scientist Chris Cooper, a young woman named Katie Dean has also filed paper with the Federal Elections Commish but has not so far formally announced her candidacy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

How/Why Speaker Tim Moore Punished Fellow Republican Julia Howard

Julia Howard and Speaker Tim Moore

Totally indebted to Jeffrey Billman's "Primer" and to "Under the Dome" for the information that follows. Billman first:

Check out this timeline:

April 13, 2:29 p.m.: Charlotte reporter emails House Speaker Tim Moore asking for an interview about a bill to change the tax code related to Paycheck Protection Program loans.

April 13, 5:36 p.m.: Moore tells reporter, “I just want you to know that I have not advocated for that bill.”

April 13, 6 p.m.: State Rep. Julia Howard, the chair of the Finance Committee, opens a committee meeting with “I was given orders from the Speaker that we would hear this PPP bill today.” ...

“If passed, House Bill 334 would exempt some federal coronavirus relief loans from state taxes. Records show some of the bill’s strongest backers would likely save thousands of dollars, including one lawmaker whose businesses could gain some $20,000. House Speaker Tim Moore’s law firm could stand to benefit a more modest amount, as much as $1,300.”

“Rep. John Bradford, a Republican from Cornelius and a supporter of the bill, for example, could see his businesses’ taxes owed reduced by up to $20,000. Bradford is the CEO of a software company and sole owner of a property management company.” (N&O)

So long as the change applies to all PPP recipients and not just the lawmakers’ companies, they don’t have to recuse themselves.

"Under the Dome" yesterday afternoon:

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore removed fellow Republican Rep. Julia Howard from her position as a senior finance committee chair Tuesday.

The move comes after Howard, one of the longest-serving members of North Carolina’s General Assembly, publicly opposed a bill that was backed by Moore and would benefit some North Carolina lawmakers who received federal coronavirus relief money from the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill, if signed into law, would give tax breaks to businesses that received those loans, including dozens of lawmakers’ businesses.

By revoking Howard’s chairmanship, Moore acted swiftly to punish a challenge to his control. With the legislature sharply divided along party lines, infighting in the speaker’s party presents a challenge to his ability to advance his, and his party’s, agenda....

Just on the face of it, Tim Moore lied to the reporter: "I just want you to know that I have not advocated for that bill." And when has Moore ever passed up an opportunity to benefit personally from the power of his office? 

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Case Against the Watauga County Commission


On April 16, 2013, the Republican majority on the Watauga County Commission -- Chair Nathan Miller and members David Blust and Perry Yates -- voted to redistribute county sales tax revenues on an ad valorum basis (based on the values of homes in the towns of the county) rather than on the previous basis of population (based on the numbers of people actually living in those towns), a move meant to punish the town of Boone for its stubbornness about zoning. Plus the Republican majority introduced a further ripple into their scheme, getting the governments of the wealthier towns to agree to "kick back" funds to county government to keep Watauga from hurting itself with the change. Democratic commissioners John Welch and Billy Kennedy voted "no."

Fast-forward five years, to 2018: The Town of Boone estimates that the punishment the Republican commissioners dished that April night in 2013 has amounted to a total loss of some $10 million in revenue for the town, about $2 million per annum.


Here's the thing: The Town of Boone collects between 60 and 70 percent of all the sales taxes collected in Watauga County. By 2020 under the method of distribution that Nathan Miller et al. engineered, the town of Boone only receives 12.29 percent of sales tax revenues.


Here's the other thing: By December 2020, Nathan Miller, David Blust, and Perry Yates were all gone from the commission. All five seats belonged to Democrats, none of whom show any inclination for righting an historic wrong.


Before he voted "no" in April 2013, John Welch made an impassioned speech about the revenge Miller et al. were poised to take against Boone:


“The main issue I have is, obviously, the lack of transparency and openness. To be honest, we’ve heard the threat of the sales tax change for however long here, but for me an issue that touches every taxpayer in this county should be done in the open, transparently with input with the towns in a joint meeting,” Welch said. “If there is an issue with the sales tax, by all means lets have an open and honest discussion, but I can’t be a part of a process that brings personal and professional vendettas that will not only hurt 17,000 county residents within the Town of Boone, but also county residents that own a business in the Town of Boone, does business in the Town of Boone, without having an open and honest discussion.” 


Here's the final thing: Arguably, statistically, the five Democrats on the Watauga County Commission owe their elections to the voters in the Town of Boone. Yet, the Democratic majority -- who retook control of the commission after the election of 2016, and they have to -- under state law -- reaffirm every April in its budgeting process the method of distributing sales taxes passed by Miller et al. There hasn't seemed to be much hesitation in maintaining a system of civic malfeasance that has hurt Boone's ability to maintain its infrastructure, keep qualified staff, and expand its programs.


Frustration with the commission's inertia led the Boone Town Council to sue for injunctive relief in February of 2020, which caused the Democrats on the commission to hunch their shoulders and go silent. That suit was summarily thrown out last month by Superior Court Judge Gary Gurganus, ruling that Boone doesn't have standing to sue. Whaaa? I certainly hope and trust that Boone will appeal.


I write this as a progressive activist. I live in the town limits of Boone and have admired all of our commission members. I worked to elect all of them. But I'm also feeling alienated from their continued willingness to continue a tax distribution policy that actually hurts their most loyal constituents.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Dozen North Carolinians Now Facing Federal Charges in Capitol Insurrection


According to the News and Observer:

Christopher Spencer, Pilot Mountain
Virginia Spencer, Pilot Mountain
Laura Steele, Thomasville
Grayson Sherrill, Cherryville
Matthew Mark Wood, Reidsville
Charles Donohoe, Winston-Salem
Stephen Ethan Horn, Wake Forest

Stephen Ethan Horn

The last two on the list:

Stephen Ethan Horn

Stephen Ethan Horn surrendered to the FBI on April 9 and made his initial appearance in Raleigh federal court. He is charged with three federal crimes.

A photo included in Horn’s court file shows the helmeted Wake Forest man standing above the Capitol fray while he appears to be filming with his phone.

In an FBI affidavit, Horn is quoted as saying that he did not take part in the violence or the protest and did not go into the Capitol in search of “cheap thrills.” Rather, Horn said, he entered to “accurately document and record a significant event.”

Bradley Stuart Bennett

Bennett was a QAnon devotee from small-town North Carolina (the Randolph County town of Trinity, population 6,600, about 75 miles north of Charlotte). He entered the Capitol on January 6th with his Texas girlfriend, who is also charged in the riot.

 He surfaced this week in Charlotte, where he surrendered to the FBI. Just before noon on Monday, he walked into an uptown federal courtroom charged with the now-familiar battery of charges tied to the effort by Trump supporters to overturn the presidential election.

“Patriots going to war,” is how Bennett put it in his video of the Capitol riot, the FBI affidavit shows.

Bradley Stuart Bennett

Bennett remained in custody Friday at the Mecklenburg County Jail, where he awaits transfer to the federal courts of Washington, which will prosecute his case.

In its affidavit, the FBI says multiple tipsters identified him as an outspoken adherent to the unfounded QAnon theory, which holds that former President Trump was fighting a Democratic Party conspiracy of demonic, cannibalistic pedophiles.

In the days leading up to Jan. 6, when Congress was scheduled to certified Trump’s electoral loss to now-President Joe Biden, Bennett said he would be in Washington for a Trump rally and urged others to join him.

“FAIR WARNING: If this election is stolen for Biden, Patriots will go TO WAR,’’ Bennett posted on Jan. 6, according to the affidavit.

Friday, April 16, 2021

With an Ego as Big as a Refrigerator


The election last fall of political novice Mark Robinson to the office of Lieutenant Governor stunned a lot of people. He had no qualifications (and admittedly, the office of Lite Guv requires few qualifications), but he excited the Republican base because he was a Black man mouthing conservative talking points and he had made himself notorious for a rant about guns in front of the Greensboro City Council.

While he campaigned in 2020, Robinson flaunted his refusal to wear a face covering in crowds, sealing his popularity with the Trumpists through denialism and knuckleheaded ignorance. He tweeted back in February, “The looming pandemic I’m most worried about is SOCIALISM.” Instead, he said, he was “earnestly praying that this virus will disappear faster than Christine Blasey Ford and a car load of witnesses against Hillary Clinton.”

In office now as Lite Guv (thank you, Rob Schofield!), Robinson -- with not much else to do -- has launched a crusade to "out" public school teachers who might be teaching about slavery and the history of racial inequality, items that Robinson equates with "fake news."

With not much else to do, Robinson is also exploring the possibility of jumping into the already crowded Republican primary for the US Senate seat (why, we'd hardly stopped laughing at Pat McCrory, and here comes another clown, though Robinson could probably win a Republican primary in North Carolina against squishy ex-Guv McCrory). Rob Schofield posted a blistering appraisal of Robinson this morning:

While perhaps a bit surprising given that the sum total of Robinson’s lifetime service in public office now stands at 98 days in a job with no real responsibilities ... Robinson is clearly possessed of at least three attributes that are vitally important for politicians in 21st Century America — especially in the Trumpified Republican Party.

First, he has no record of public service or accomplishment in government. Indeed, it’s a little unclear exactly what he did before he ran for office either .... perfect for a modern politician as, just as the case with Donald Trump in 2016, it give his opponents nothing in the world of government or policy for which to blame him.

Second, Robinson has apparently had his share of financial issues. This is the extent of what Wikipedia says about his personal life:

Robinson and his wife, Yolanda, have two children. They live in High Point, North Carolina. Robinson has filed for bankruptcy on three separate occasions, has been sued for payments, and had liens placed on him by the Internal Revenue Service as recently as 2012. He says that he has straightened out his financial problems.

This too, is perfect. What could be more in keeping with the numerous examples set by Trump than having an extended history of trouble with creditors and repeatedly finding yourself in court over financial disputes? Today’s Republican voters clearly appreciate a candidate who knows how to take care of Number One.

And third and finally, like Trump, Robinson clearly thinks big. After all, who would have thought that philandering, casino-owning TV barker with no record of public service or accomplishment could leap from the tabloids to the White House in a campaign rooted in a blatant lie about the birthplace of his predecessor?

If Trump could pull that off, who’s to say Robinson can’t follow a similar path to the Senate?

Indeed, given this backdrop, Robinson might as well go ahead and declare for the presidency in 2024 now and run two races at once. After all, has anyone really double-checked where Joe Biden was born?


Another Democrat Wants To Challenge #MadCaw in NC11


Jay Carey, a 50-year-old political novice from Hendersonville, has added his name to the growing list of Democrats who'll compete next March in the Democratic primary for the privilege of taking on Republican first-termer Madison Cawthorn in the NC11.

Carey appears to be basing his campaign primarily on his career as an Army combat veteran in the Middle East, and he says he thinks he'll win against Cawthorn because he'll get the independent vote. How that independent vote helps him in a Democratic primary is less clear.

Lurah Lowery of the Hendersonville Times-News got there first with a thorough profile.

Total number of announced Democratic candidates is now up to four in the 11th CD.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Pat McCrory Announces for the US Senate; Twitter Chortles


Sara Pequeno: Pat McCrory give it up babe

Brian Murphy: .@PatMcCrory announced his bid for governor Wednesday. Hours later, NC lawmakers debated a transgender sports bill. 5 years after HB2, McCrory is back and so are transgender debates. #ncpol
Erica D. Smith: As @Booker4KY would say, @PatMcCroryNC is a fool. Pat McCrory is a joke. Pat McCrory has done nothing for North Carolina. We deserve more.

BabyNP: Pat McCrory almost destroyed North Carolina. We’re not sending him to Washington DC.

efp: pat mccrory: works for electric monopoly duke energy for 29 years, later accepting $100k in donations 
pat mccrory: serves as mayor of charlotte for 14 years, then governor of north carolina for 4 years 
pat mccrory: loses his seat 
pat mccrory:

Dustin Ingalls: Time for @bullydoc to resurrect Puppet Pat. #ncpol #ncsen:

Brian Kennedy IIPat McCrory was a terrible governor who was more interested in virtue signaling than governing. I'd be surprised if he's actually interested in being a US Senator; this is more likely an effort to get national attention and become the next rush limbaugh.

Paula A. WolfWith Pat McCrory’s announcement this morning and this [Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson also reportedly considering the Senate race], there should be a study of the male ego and lack of self awareness necessary to declare for a job for which one has no qualifications.

Kate Frauenfelder: “N.C. Democratic Party chair Bobbie Richardson said in a statement. ‘We have some free advice — don’t quit your day job, Pat." #ncsen #ncpol

Stewart Boss: new R poll shows failed loser Pat McCrory trailing Lara Trump AND LG Mark Robinson in a hypothetical GOP primary, neck & neck with fellow losing gov candidate Dan Forest #NCSen #ncpol

Matthew Chapman: Pat McCrory is fantastically unpopular with the general electorate and ran four points behind Trump to a loss in 2016. Democrats would love to see him get the nomination.

Kevin Siers: New cartoon — Pat McCrory to run for the Senate, forgetting perhaps why he no longer held office in the first place. . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Conspiracy Theory To Beat Most Conspiracy Theories


Why is this man laughing?
When it comes to conspiracy theories, no one can beat a Trumpist for creativity. Here's a doozy of a Trumpist conspiracy theory about the supposed string-pulling by "RINO" forces ("Republicans In Name Only"), supposedly orchestrated by operatives tied to Sen. Thom Tillis and newly announced Senate candidate Pat McCrory to accomplish the following:

a. Scuttle the chances of Senate candidate Mark Walker, "a true conservative."

b. Enable that squish Pat McCrory to come up the middle and take the Republican Senate primary next spring with less than 40% of the vote.

c. Set up Congressman Ted Budd to take the nomination for governor in 2024 away from Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who's already become an embarrassment to RINOs and is clearly beyond anyone's rational control.

I'm indebted to Jeffrey Billman for unpacking the supposed conspiracy and for poking holes in its underlying assumptions.

But I'm mainly transfixed by the florid imagination that constructed the supposed conspiracy. Trumpists have reached end-stage paranoia about a world that is always eluding their grasp, from a stolen election ("the fraud was massive, I'm telling ya!") to imagining how their newest mortal enemies -- nominal Republicans exhibiting disloyalty to Trump -- can thwart their God-ordained rise to global domination.

I look for a Republican Senate primary in North Carolina with plenty of splashed acid and midnight shivs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pat McCrory, Reportedly in the Senate Race


Politico seems to have been first, confidently reporting at noon yesterday that former Gov. Pat McCrory would be announcing his candidacy this week for the US Senate seat that Dick Burr is giving up and that early polling has McCrory well ahead of both former Congressman Mark Walker and current Congressman Ted Budd in a Republican primary. 

At 2:03 p.m., Mark Walker, who's been in the race already for months, tweeted some sour grapes:

With taking back the Senate majority hinging on our success in North Carolina, why would we gamble on Pat McCrory - a career politician who has lost more statewide races than he’s won? McCrory has routinely attacked conservatives including President Trump...

He followed up two minutes later with this, alluding to the fact that McCrory had apparently been considered -- and was passed over -- for a job in the Trump admin: 

If Pat wasn’t good enough for Trump’s administration, he’s not good enough for NC. I am running to provide NC with its first real conservative Senator in years. at 97%, I was the most conservative and pro-Trump member from NC and would be the top member in the entire Senate.

Meanwhile, Lara Trump (who?) seems to be fading faster than cheap upholstery in the sun. The McCrory polling that found him far ahead of other Republicans in the race pointedly didn't poll for McCrory v. Lara Trump at all.

Trumpists seem to be banking on a Ted Budd candidacy, since they don't cotton all that well to McCrory, who's considered a weak vessel and squishy like cream cake. We remember McCrory most vividly for his claim that he was capable of stepping on the toes of the right as well as the pinkies of the left, an hilarious brag by a man who was always completely at Phil Berger's beck and call. Go no further than HB2, the notorious "bathroom bill" that McCrory signed and then regretted, as the state lost all kinds of investment.

McCrory has a juicy record for both conservatives and Democrats to dig into. After he lost reelection in 2016, he became a talk radio yakker in Charlotte, and seems to believe the path is now open for him to do a Thom Tillis into the US Senate.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Lara Trump, This Budd's for You!


Ted Budd
With hopes and fantasies fading for a Lara Trump run in North Carolina for the US Senate seat currently held by Dick Burr, US Congressman Ted Budd (13th CD) appears ready to elbow all the other Republican hopefuls aside and claim the Trump mantle for himself. That's my takeaway from reporting in this morning's NewsAndObserver.

I could never take a Lara Trump campaign seriously. Her husband's entanglement in various criminal investigations into the Trump Org could be a major drag, although I know all those Trumpists were salivating for multiple rally appearances in the state by her daddy-in-law.

Budd is the conservatives' dream candidate, apparently (if Lara isn't in), 'cause as a gun store owner, he can pass out assault weapons as party favors at every event. He cuts a more extreme figure than does former Congressman Mark Walker, who's already been running for months but who doesn't seem destined to ignite the Republican bully gene.

Still waiting for the old toe-stepper Pat McCrory to announce his own campaign.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Could Another Republican Defeat Madison Cawthorn?


Short answer: yes, in the 2022 Republican primary. Long answer: also probably yes, and maybe only another Republican, because the 11th CD of North Carolina ain't conducive to a Democratic victory. Things change, of course, but still.

Thing is, another Republican, yes, but probably not the one who has now declared she's running against Cawthorn in 2022. Cory Vaillancourt profiled her yesterday in the Smoky Mountain News:

...Asheville Republican Wendy Nevarez.

Nevarez’s profile on Linkedin says she holds a master’s in public administration and that she is a claims specialist for the Social Security Administration.

Her personal Facebook page says she’s a Western Carolina University graduate and had been an E-6 in the United States Navy from 2001 through 2017.

Her campaign Facebook page just launched, but a campaign website,, is not yet active.

Voter records show Nevarez voted in Pasquotank County from 2008 through 2012, and in Buncombe County thereafter. She pulled Republican ballots in each of those Primary Elections, except in 2020, when she chose a Democratic ballot.

A Federal Elections Commission search revealed that Nevarez established a campaign committee on April 7, but little else....

I don't see Nevarez motivating the Republican primary voters in the 11th District to kick out the polarizing Cawthorn. She looks like a moderate Republican woman, not someone who fits the conservative politics of that district (except maybe for Asheville itself).

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Democrats Lining Up For the Opportunity To Beat Madison Cawthorn


Madison Cawthorn (R)

This uneducated punk will be up for reelection in 2022 in the NC11. He's made a national spectacle of himself but is also the darling of the Right. He's said his main objective in office is to build a good "comms" operation, meaning he's much more interested in seeing himself in the news than in passing meaningful legislation for his constituents.

So far, three Democrats have declared their intention to compete in the spring 2022 Democratic primary to take on Cawthorn.


Buncombe County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara was the first Democrat to declare on March 3rd. Beach-Ferrara, who is both a gay woman and a Christian minister as well as the mother of three children, said, “I’m running because Western North Carolina families deserve better than they’re getting from Madison Cawthorn. My faith teaches me that leadership starts with empathy, compassion, and listening and then getting to work to help people. That’s the kind of leadership I want to offer instead of the division and mean-spiritedness we’re getting now. This is going to be a campaign built on bringing people together, finding common ground, organizing everywhere and talking about the issues that actually matter to people’s lives.”

Beach-Ferrara reportedly raised $380K in the first 29 days of her campaign.


Democrat Josh Remillard announced his candidacy on March 10th.

A former Army infantryman who served two combat tours in Iraq, Remillard ran previously in 2020 for the NC House Dist. 117, which Republican Tim Moffitt easily won with over 60% of the vote. According to Cory Vaillancourt, Remillard was born in Goldsboro, raised in Wilmington, and was in foster care until the age of four. "After leaving the Army, he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from the University of Washington. Remillard’s current occupation is serving as a stay-at-home dad."

“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do the hard work of strengthening our economy, fixing a broken health-care system, and improving our kids' education,” he said. “I am running to stop Madison Cawthorn and bring honor back to Congress.

The newest Democrat in the race: Ed Gash, an elementary school principal, a preacher, and a former linebacker at UNC-Chapel Hill.

He was profiled today by Kyle Perrotti:

Gash was born and raised in Western North Carolina, having graduated from Hendersonville High School in 1988. From there, he went to UNC-Chapel Hill, where he also played outside linebacker. While Gash eventually had the chance to sign with the New England Patriots, the team his brother Sam played for, he decided to go a different direction and get into business.

It wasn’t long before a new venture took him to the Caribbean, where he lived for 14 years training people in different countries to run direct sales operations.

Before long, Gash met Katy, who is from Barbados. The two quickly fell in love and got married a year later in 1996. The two got to travel frequently for work to countries all over the world and even lived in Guyana, the Virgin Islands and St. Lucia.

Eventually, in 2008, the Gashes and their three children moved back to Hendersonville to be closer to his family in the mountains.

“I was away for 20 years, almost to the day,” Gash said.

Gash got right to work in the school system. Beginning as a part-time teaching assistant, he became a math teacher before getting his master’s degree and going into administration. In January 2020, he became the principal at Bruce Drysdale Elementary School, which he himself attended as a child.

Since being back home, Gash also coached girls basketball and served as an assistant coach on the football team until 2014 when he was named Hendersonville’s head coach, making him only the second Black head coach in Western North Carolina since integration. Gash coached until 2016 when he stepped away to go into administration.

Another major part of Gash’s life is his faith, which he said guides every decision. Since 2008, after doing missionary work during his last couple of years in the Caribbean, he’s been the pastor at the nondenominational Speak Life Community Church and is also currently the Hendersonville Police Department’s chaplain.

“It’s the faith that causes me to look at folks that maybe don’t believe what I believe or feel the way I feel with compassion and love and still be able to have a conversation with them,” Gash said.

Gash has long been active in the community, but it wasn’t until recently that he began seeing things through a more political lens. While he and Katy said they don’t consider themselves activists, between the COVID pandemic and racial unrest of the last year, they’ve felt compelled to make their voices heard.

“Something happened over the summer,” Gash said. “It was a paradigm shift, just in my heart, where I felt I had to do something.”

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Boonies Cry "O Hell No!" About HB291 and SB349


House Bill 291, vaguely and innocuously titled "Bldg. Plan Approval - Certain Commercial Prop.," and Senate Bill 349, cheerily titled "Increase Housing Opportunities," are both Trojan horses and pieces of developer crapola now pending in the NC General Assembly. Last night the Boone Town Council held a bellwether emergency meeting over its provisions and over the threat it promises for every municipality in North Carolina to chart its own planning course. The Boone Town Council voted unanimously for the resolution pasted below. The unanimous vote is notable for a fractious council that has had trouble finding much common ground over the past two years.


WHEREAS, recognizing the importance of zoning to the peace and prosperity of North Carolina’s municipalities, for generations the State of North Carolina has allowed municipalities to regulate local development; and

WHEREAS, municipalities in the State of North Carolina have their own unique characteristics and challenges so that “one size” does not “fit all,” and statewide zoning mandates thus may have unintended negative consequences for the residents of the State; and

WHEREAS, unfunded mandates by the State, particularly during a time when local revenues are under pressure due to Covid-19 and other factors affecting local economies, will force communities such as Boone to either increase property taxes or decrease services critical to the their residents, such as street maintenance or fire and police protection; and

WHEREAS, HB 291 is pending in the North Carolina General Assembly and would force municipalities to complete an “initial plan review” of commercial development plans initially sealed by a “design professional,” without regard to their complexity, deficiencies, or impacts of human health and safety, within 15 days, and issue permits within 30 days of the application for development unless additional information is requested within the first 15 days; and

WHEREAS, HB 291 provides that if within the initial 15 day period, if additional information is requested by the town, permits must be granted within 15 days of the submission of additional information or the developer may retain a “third party firm” to review its plans at the expense of the municipality and must issue “all necessary permits” for the development within 72 hours of approval by that third party; and

WHEREAS, in order to comply with HB 291, the Town of Boone would have to greatly expand its planning department, which would force an increase in property taxes or a decrease in other services; and

WHEREAS, HB 291 unfairly puts the burden on taxpayers to pay for the private development permitting by commercial developers; and

WHEREAS, HB 291 essentially redirects long-extant governmental functions now performed by local governments to protect the public and to allow for the orderly growth of communities through zoning, to private and unspecified engineering or architectural firms who may have conflicts of interest, with no recourse for decisions which may violate local zoning ordinances; and

WHEREAS, property owners in the Town of Boone often purchased their properties at premium prices in order to have the benefits and protections of local zoning ordinances which protected their investments from incompatible and unsafe development; and

WHEREAS, commercial developers within the Town of Boone, often with no prior connection with the town, but because of the attraction of the large student housing market, have sought to build commercial developments which were substandard and non-compliant with

building and zoning standards, and which would have caused great harm to the quality of life for residents of adjacent and nearby neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, SB 349, too, is now pending in the North Carolina General Assembly, and would force municipalities to allow duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes and townhouses into all residential zones, including all low-density zoning districts, for the stated purpose of expanding housing opportunities in towns; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 exempts residential areas in which private restrictive covenants apply, thus differentiating between sub-divisions such as gated communities and the neighborhoods without such protections, in essence protecting the wealthy by exposing middle and low income residents to incompatible development dictated by state government; and

WHEREAS, although SB 349 has reportedly been endorsed by “affordable housing” proponents as a way to increase supply and decrease costs, in actuality there is nothing in the bill which actually controls costs; and

WHEREAS, the practice by multi-family developers in the Town of Boone is to rent housing units by the bedroom at prices usually far in excess of the mortgage cost of a single family home; and

WHEREAS, when low density neighborhoods in Boone have been made available for higher density housing, existing single family homes have often been demolished to allow more intense types of housing, destroying the character of Boone which has made it attractive, but also with the unintended result that rental prices have actually increased as low density housing disappears; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 likewise mandates the allowance of “one accessory dwelling,” which can consist of a duplex, on each lot on which there is a single family residence, circumventing all usual approval processes such as conditional district zoning, and trumping all local parking requirements and utility approval protocols without regard to the impacts of a potential tripling of density; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 has the potential to fundamentally change most neighborhoods in Boone and accelerate the disruption of the lives of its permanent citizens, as out-of-town investors and AirBnB operators continue to buy up low density housing stock; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 allows deficient applications to nevertheless vest development rights, undermining the ability of local jurisdictions to react to changes within their communities; and

WHEREAS, SB 349, by using terms which are undefined and vague, makes expensive future litigation likely to create certainty around the meaning of its terms; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 shifts financial responsibility for a developers attorney’s fees onto the municipality whether or not the town’s decisions have been made in good faith in a manner seeking to protect the common good; and

WHEREAS, SB 349 prohibits a municipality from even examining a traffic impact analysis which has satisfied the North Carolina Department of Transportation, whether or not the municipality believes that the traffic generated by the project poses a danger to public safety and the ratification by the Department is prudent; and

WHEREAS, SB 349, under the guise of creating affordable housing, is actually a usurpation of local zoning authority and if passed, will undermine the long-term stability of the Town of Boone for its permanent residents, betraying the promises of zoning which residents have relied upon in making their most important financial investments, the purchase of their homes;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Town Council of the Town of Boone, North Carolina, respectfully requests:

1 That the General Assembly not adopt either HB 291 and SB 349;

  1. That, if passed, the Governor, the Honorable Roy Cooper, veto these measures;

  2. That the town manager employ the town’s lobbyists to work to prevent the passage of these bills;

  3. That a copy of this resolution be sent to our elected State representatives and the Governor;

  4. That the town manager take whatever additional steps he deems prudent in seeking to prevent the adoption of these bills; and

  5. That the town manager promptly issue a press release warning the citizens of Boone about these disastrous bills.

    Adopted this page3image13256day of page3image13520, 2021.

Rennie Brantz, Mayor

Attested to:

Nicole Harmon, Town Clerk
Clerk, Town of Boone, North Carolina