Friday, June 17, 2022

Oathkeeper (Insurrection Adjacent) Member of NC House Has a Credible Democratic Challenger


Before the end of November 2020 and following the November 3rd election, an Arizona state senator named Wendy Rogers -- a Trumpist fully invested in the big lie, a fantasy of fraud which was already manipulating millions toward what would become insurrection on January 6th -- Senator Rogers authored a letter calling for an election audit in all 50 states, "decertification where necessary," and a re-vote in the US House of Reps about who gets sworn in as president. Rogers induced Republican state lawmakers across the country -- 186 of them -- to sign her public letter. The news broke on November 25th.

Rep. Mike Clampitt (HD119), a Bryson City Republican (with his neon patriotism), signed that letter. Clampitt represents Haywood, Jackson, and Swain. He's up for reelection in a few months and has a Democratic opponent, Al Platt. Clampitt has traded his seat more than once with the seriously gregarious Joe Sam Queen, a Democrat and an architect (who actually beat Campitt more times than Clampitt beat him. It would make a "Green Acres" special).

Mike Clampitt solidly won another challenge from Queen in 2020 by his widest margin ever, and he did that on the strength of fellow citizens who have bought the big lie, big time -- and even given money, many of them, to a greed-head. Those voters believe the election was stolen. And, by the way, they also approve -- or tolerate -- Clampitt's white supremacist ties to anti-government extremists. My God. That's the reality: Mike Clampitt fits his district.

In late September 2021, Clampitt's name was among the some 38,000 people on a membership roster of the Oath Keepers, the far-right, anti-government would-be militia whose leaders are now charged with seditious conspiracy. Clampitt is also a registered member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a neo-Confederate rah-rah group currently into putting up bigger and bigger Confederate battle flags where they're not welcome.

What this guy is doing in government, considering how he obviously feels about government! 

Democrat Al Platt

Al Platt on the left, with son Parker Platt
Kind of a surprise and looks good to me! Platt clearly belongs to the Brevard business diamond circle (the Transylvania Times said that Platt Architecture was "a mainstay of the community"), and he's a generous benefactor (supporter for years of the Transylvania Boy and Girls Club), and now with ready access to vigorous fundraising and business and civic ties all over the district. Platt Architecture is a leading architectural and design business now with about three-dozen employees and many high-profile commissions.
When he first opened his practice in Brevard in 1982, Al used his home as both an office and studio. Since those modest beginnings, the firm has evolved in dramatic ways, growing to become a well-respected architectural practice, while adding several new offerings, including construction, interior design, real estate, land conserva­tion, and most recently PLATT HOME, a furniture and home decor showroom opening this spring.

In 38 years, the firm has completed over 500 projects for clients from across the country.... 

The father and son team [Al Platt very recently passed the leadership of the firm to his son Parker Platt] ... have collaborated on many of the firm’s most notable projects, including the 2006 HGTV Dream Home, a private residence featured nationally in VERANDA Magazine, the Brevard-based Oskar Blues Brewery, and the soon-to-be open Parker Concert Hall on the campus of Brevard Music Center.

Somehow I got on Al Platt's email list, though I can't vote for him. I like it there.


And Now for the Bad News

NCFree rates HD119 R+5.
Daves' Redistricting gives it 42.7% Democratic to 54.5% Republican lean.

Can Platt, with all his business success, overcome the built-in prejudices of the voters. (Platt is highly educated, after all, and that alone is suspicious). Success depends on turn-out (natch!) and what kind of message Platt puts out there to drive turn-out. I think he should have plenty of resources to make himself known along with Clampitt's record (though so far I don't see any video on his infrastructure, and his website is barebones and barely functioning).

Jackson County contains Western Carolina University, fer goodness sake, which has probably been under-targeted for voter registration and "know your rights" campaigns. I believe that 5% of that Republican advantage can be overcome. Especially if the students know Campitt's BFFs in the extremist world of Trump lust.

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