Sunday, February 18, 2024

Some Lowdown on Deanna Ballard's Candidacy for Lieutenant Governor


There are arch conservatives and MAGAts and slick campaign operatives running in the very crowded Republican primary for lieutenant governor, but there's only one Deanna Ballard, our former state senator who got double-bunked in 2022 with the wheeler-dealer Ralph Hise. We heard it was a plot to get rid of her because she was considered too soft and pliable in Raleigh for a Party that likes its politicians hard, like its laws. 

The Daily Haymaker, always on the far right of the known universe, considers Ballard insufficiently conservative and "way too close to legislative leadership" -- too establishment, in other words. That assessment was seconded by a lengthy article in The Assembly on the whole crowded field -- both Republican and Democratic -- running in both primaries for lieutenant governor (the most inconsequential job on the Council of State).

Carli Brosseau characterized Ballard's campaign this way in The Assembly:

Though Ballard has accepted the invitation extended to all GOP lieutenant governor candidates to speak on [Lt. Gov. Mark] Robinson’s rally circuit, she has avoided a full-throated endorsement of the MAGA movement.

Instead, she has positioned herself to appeal to unaffiliated voters, invoking her mother’s career as a school teacher, her seven years working in the George W. Bush administration, and her passion for improving data management.

“We could make some better policy if we had more timely data—and that’s across the board from business to education, K12, to higher education to the workforce,” she said.

On abortion, she says she supports the legislature’s recent move to ban the procedure, in most cases, at 12 weeks. Before Roe v. Wade was struck down, she sponsored a bill that would have banned most abortions at 20 weeks. Would she now like to see an earlier ban? “I believe life begins at conception,” she said, but “I don’t think it can be done in North Carolina.”

There are some indications that Ballard’s message is landing. She raised $194,000 from July through December, more than any other Republican candidate in that timeframe.

In the Republican primary, there are at least four candidates who will have formidable followings including Sam Page, the Sheriff of Rockingham, and Jeffrey Elmore, a House member from Wilkes, and Hal Weatherman, who was Dan Forest's main operative for a long time. Also Jim O'Neill, who came close to beating Josh Stein for attorney general in 2020. Ballard is up against some tough competitors. Odds are nobody gets to 30% on March 5, which means a run-off.

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