Here are the big ones. Some of these made the news, others did not. All of them had some impact.
The North Mecklenburg Chapter of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) endorses candidates in the local towns every election season. In the past, they have endorsed people of all political stripes from one end of the spectrum to the other. This year they endorsed myself and Vince Winegardner.
If there was anything unusual about this endorsement, it was that not a single incumbent even agreed to meet with the group. That struck me as odd considering that their only question this season was around improving communication. That's it. It was in the invite, and there was not anything controversial about the interviews. Why incumbent commissioners would not want to even sit down with a group to talk about issues seems strange to me, but then again maybe that's why the only question on their list involved improved communication.
The endorsement came with some adds in local media including the Huntersville Herald, Lake Norman Citizen, and DavidsonNews.net.
After the PBA endorsement which was expected. The rest of the endorsements this season all fall into the "unprecedented" category. That's where things get interesting.
The first one that made a big splash was the TollFreeNC/Widen I77 endorsement. These activists have been fighting the plan to add HOT lanes to I-77. Fortunately for us here in Davidson, the splash was mostly in Cornelius and Huntersville where the group went negative and posted signs asking voters to "fire" some candidates while posting other signs asking them to vote others into office. In Davidson, we only got the endorsement signs. Personally, I am glad about that.
The results here were definitely a mixed bag though. Two endorsed candidates won and two lost. Interestingly, the two who lost were also the two who were most vocal in their opposition to HOT lanes. The two who won included the candidate who got the most votes - Beth Cashion. Read into that what you will, but it would seem to mean that the HOT lanes issue just did not resonate with voters as much as many people thought it would - myself included.
Then came the "politicians"...
As early voting started, former Commissioner Laurie Venzon endorsed three non-incumbent candidates. The near immediate response was Mayor John Woods endorsing all of the incumbents.
Mayor Woods's endorsement definitely got more attention with both DavidsonNew.net and the Huntersville Herald actually publishing the Mayor's endorsement message. But which one carried more weight?
Beth Cashion came in a strong first. Stacey Anderson became the first challenger to knock-off an incumbent since 1997 when she came in fifth edging out incumbent Connie Wessner. I started with arguably the lowest name recognition and came in seventh, but only a few dozen votes behind the pack.
All of the incumbents received less votes than they did in the last election - some received considerably less.
While not a true apples-to-apples comparison because there was one more candidate this election season, it would appear that a former commissioner's endorsement may have influenced more people than the sitting mayor's. That says something.
Then finally, there was the "endorsement" that may have had more actual impact than any other. On November 1st just days before the election, the River Run Property Owner's Association encouraged residents to "learn" about the two neighborhood candidates - Stacey Anderson and Vince Winegardner. This received basically no publicity, but it made a difference.
Why was this possibly the most influential? Find out in the next post on polling.