Friday, July 08, 2022

Devious NCGA Majority Whip Jon Hardister, Skating to Reelection


Jon Hardister

Republican Jon Hardister was first elected to the NC House in 2012 from eastern Guilford County. He has risen. He's now the Republican Majority Whip. And through circumstances explored below, he's being given a walk to reelection by a phantom Democratic candidate.

Hardister has a special place in my memory for his being a prime operative in the budget veto override ambush pulled off by Speaker Tim Moore early on the morning of September 11, 2019. Republican leadership had passed the word to the Democratic minority that no votes would be taken that Wednesday morning. It was the 18th anniversary of 9/11, after all, and Democratic members planned to be at official remembrances. But what those too trustful Democrats didn't know was that Whip Jon Hardister was secretly texting Republican members to "be in your seat at 8:30." So with many Democrats missing, the Republicans overrode Gov. Cooper's veto of the Republican budget. (That veto subsequently held in the NC Senate, and as a result the Republican leadership actually began negotiating with the governor. Whether that's produced a net-plus is subject to divination.) 

You might remember the volcanic rage over the Hardister trick expressed by Rep. Deb Butler on the House floor.

Hardister faced a credible Democratic candidate, Nicole Quick, in 2020 but still beat her 52% to 48%, dashing hopes everywhere that he was finally having his comeuppance.

House District 59 has subsequently changed its Democratic prospects during the most recent redistricting. NCFree now rates it R+1, but Dave's Redistricting gives Democrats the edge: 49.4% D v. 48.8% R. So what an opportunity for some credible Democrat to flip this seat.

Actually two Democrats did step forward: Eddie Aday, an ex-Marine (who actually ran a campaign), and mystery woman Sherrie Young, who did not run a primary campaign that could be described as a campaign and who never had any website or social media presence anywhere except for a personal Facebook page that didn't even mention she was running for office. Nevertheless -- and hang on to your butts, O my brethren -- Sherrie Young won the primary on May 17 with 74% of the vote. She's now the official Democratic nominee to take on Jon Hardister.

After that primary win, John Hammer wrote a whole column about her for the Rhino Times, speculating (because there's no other path to take with the Invisible Sherrie Young) about her completely surprising win and her utter lack of effort:

A lot of people get fired up and go down to the Board of Elections office and file to run for office. Often only then do they find out how time consuming and expensive it is to run a campaign and how difficult it is to raise money.

Some spend no more than the filing fee and hope that on Election Day people will like their name or that their opponent drops out or makes a huge mistake....

There were no yard signs and no visible sign of any effort to convince people that she was the best candidate in the race. Voters in District 59 reported they saw no evidence that Young was campaigning.

That candidate invisibility remains unchanged approximately four months from the election. I just spent time trying to find any trace of her.  Still no website. No Twitter. No Facebook (except for the weirdly non-political one linked above that says she's a nurse, though a thread about her on Reddit under the headline, "For those of y'all in State House district 59 who voted democrat yesterday, why did you vote Sherrie Young?" According to that thread, she's a hairdresser, verified (if I've got the right Sherrie Young) on, a kind of personal advertisement service very similar to Linked In. If that's the same Sherrie Young, Fate has pulled a wicked practical joke on Guilford Democrats.

No comments: