Monday, December 18, 2023

The Democrats Vying To Take on Tricia Cotham


The Democrats in the primary for HD 105:
Nicole Sidman, Yolanda Holmes, and Terry Lansdell

Short story: There's no seasoned Democratic star running to take Cotham's purloined House seat away from her. But one of these three will have to emerge and catch fire in a big way. Because Cotham's new gerrymandered district leans Republican. Trump won it in 2020, but so did Roy Cooper.

They predict it'll be the most expensive race for a General Assembly seat in all of North Carolina. The uber-notorious Tricia Cotham will face one of these three Democrats come November, depending on the outcome of the March primary.

I'll be following this race avidly. So far, info on the three is currently rather sparse. As they crank up their campaigns -- i.e., raise money -- we'll see more of their personalities and their plans.

Yolanda Holmes

Yolanda Holmes was first to file, and her name will appear first on the March primary ballot. She spells the first name with two o's -- "Yolonda" -- on Twitter (an account that hasn't been active since May 2022), but everywhere else in the press and on the State Board of Elections site, she's "Yolanda," so I'm confused. The differences in spelling may account for her relative invisibility on-line. So far, I can't find active social media nor a website for her under either spelling.

Holmes ran before in the 2022 primary against Tricia Cotham, who was still a putative Democrat at the time. Holmes came in second to Cotham in a 4-way contest. Cotham, who was making a return to the House as a progressive in a very progressive district, got almost 48% of the vote to Holmes's 31%. (This race was in what was then HD 112, which has been very studiously gerrymandered to help Cotham in 2024.) 

This is what I could find out about Holmes in March of 2022:

Yolanda Holmes is elusive on social media. She has a Facebook page which provides a link to a website, which is locked. The Facebook page is singularly uninformative. Found on the Internet: "The Rev. Dr. Yolanda Holmes, who grew up in the Charleston public schools and is a retired Department of Defense employee, is employed as Family and Community Engagement Coordinator with the CMS Family and Community Engagement office. She is associate pastor of New St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte. She earned a BS degree at Voorhees College, an MS in criminology at Indiana State, another MA in management, then a Ph.D. from Capella University." She works for the Charlotte Meck school system. She's a member of the long-running Mecklenburg County Women’s Advisory Board, an official county-appointed office.

Terry Lansdell

Lansdell didn't file for the seat until Friday morning, sort of at the last minute. "He’s a member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission and executive director of BikeWalkNC" (Steve Harrison, WFAE). His Linked In page lists a long history of civic volunteerism with service on numerous boards and commissions invested in clean air, public transportation, and recreation.

When Lansdell was named executive director of BikeWalkNC in 2018, the org. itself published this profile:

In addition to his work with Clean Air Carolina, Terry has extensive experience with non-profits, including work with both Trips for Kids and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Terry’s work to advance sustainability is well known and was recognized by Sustain Charlotte in 2015 when he received their Outstanding Leader Award. His experience with large-scale event planning as well as grant writing will be invaluable to BikeWalk NC as we continue to grow as an organization. Terry’s background with bicycle advocacy is substantial, and his passion for both sustainable transportation and a cleaner environment made him the ideal person for the job. Terry is also an accomplished distance cyclist who has competed in four solo Race Across America events (RAAM), the Race Across the West on a fixed gear bicycle and holds the UMCA state record for North Carolina.

So far as I can discover, Lansdell has no social media nor a website (as of yet).

Nicole Sidman

Sidman beat Lansdell to filing but only by a day. According to Steve Harrison, "She hasn’t run for office before, though she ran Christy Clark’s successful 2018 state House race against Republican John Bradford. Originally from New York, she has been in Charlotte since 2017. She is the director of congregational life at Temple Beth El."

“I saw somebody who had promised her constituents one thing and then within a number of months completely flipped and it was not a decision she made without consequences,” Sidman said. “It was not just a political choice she made. By doing that she has really impacted people’s lives in so many ways.”

Sidman added: “I just felt like this was the opposite of what democracy is supposed to look like. You are supposed to be able to count on the people you voted for.”

Reporter Harrison: Sidman "does have connections, having hosted a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Stein earlier this year. Will he respond in kind?"

No social media infrastructure for Sidman yet. As she's a veteran operative (the Christy Clark campaign in 2018), she'll surely roll out a whole panoply soon.

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