Cornelius Today posted a pair of dueling endorsements last week which more than anything else I've seen can be used as a proxy for who may be seen as the most "conservative" candidate in the race for NC Senate 41. See "Gilroy endorses Aneralla; Woods endorses Tarte" at the link.
What makes these endorsements more interesting than most is the fact that both endorsers work directly with one of the candidates on actual governing - serving on boards and making decisions together. That they come to different conclusions on who will govern "best" as a NC Senator says a good bit about who will be the most conservative.
Nobody who follows Cornelius politics would question that David Gilroy is a consistent conservative who vigorously advocates for that point of view. He has been one of the most outspoken elected officials from any of the towns against the Red Line Regional Rail project, and he regularly advocates for lower taxes. For years he has worked directly with Mayor Jeff Tarte as a member of the Cornelius Town Board on the nuts and bolts of governing. In that capacity, not only do you hear a person's opinions and witness his approach to governing, but you see the body language and hear the tone of voice that give you the full picture. The fact that David Gilroy sees John Aneralla as the "clear choice" says a lot.
On the flip side, Davidson Mayor John Woods would hardly be labeled a conservative by most. He has long been a supporter of government regulation at the local level and his support for large government ventures like Mi-Connection and the Red Line is well documented. Over the past couple of years, he has worked closely with Mayor Tarte promoting the Red Line Regional Rail project where they both serve as members of the Red Line Task Force. Over the past few months they have alternated as the "faces" of this $452 million project trying to shepherd it past numerous obstacles. For this reason alone, the endorsement from Mayor Woods is understandable. Having a project supporter in the legislature would certainly help the effort seeing that legislative support appears to be in short supply. Who better to do that than a fellow member of the Red Line Task Force.
If endorsements serve as a proxy to gauge a candidate's style and positions, it's hard to beat endorsements from "co-workers". When the endorsement from the more conservative voice goes to John Aneralla while the progressive voice supports Jeff Tarte, that should speak volumes to voters in a Republican primary.
Bonus Observation: A similar theme continued this week with District 1 County Commissioner Karen Bentley also endorsing John Aneralla.