Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Team Tillis sends in the Storm Troopers... Empire Strikes Back Part Deux

One of the first posts at aShortChronicle to get significant statewide traction was one called HOT Lanes: The Empire Strikes Back.

It recounted the story of how activists from trekked to Raleigh in 2013 to meet with then-Speaker Thom Tillis.  They hoped to avoid a long confrontation by convincing the elected official most responsible for the I77 HOT lanes project to change course.  It did not work out that way. Rather than engaging in a productive meeting, the pro-toll Empire attempted to crush the Rebels through a display of overwhelming force.

Well, nearly three years later, history seems to be repeating itself with Team Tillis releasing its Storm Troopers from across the state and beyond to engage anti-toll activists in the battle for cyberspace.

Recently, the anti-toll Rebels engaged the Senator's proxy (aka his wife, Susan Tillis) when she posted in the LKN Election Connection forum on Facebook.

Ms Tillis, posted a glowing bit of commentary about the Senator's work in the area of Veteran's affairs - good work to be sure.  However, it was almost immediately met with comments on tolls, underscoring how the Senator's support for tolls has poisoned the well for him among many locals.

Team Tillis, aided and abetted by one local journalist, engaged in a day-long running back and forth over tolls totalling nearly 300 comments while simultaneously feigning indignation that the anti-tollers had somehow "hijacked" Ms Tillis's Facebook thread.

Team Tillis members Carmen Cox Ledford from Sanford North Carolina and John W Turner of Raleigh were imported to the battlefront to do the heavy lifting.

Ms Ledford is a long-time Republican Party activist.  Her online footprint shows numerous pics of her and Ms Tillis as well as the Senator.  The same goes for Mr Turner online profile.

Below are a couple examples.

Carmen Ledford on the campaign trail with Susan Tillis
John Turner giving award to Thom Tillis
In fact Turner introduced himself to the local debate with this comment on the LKN Election Connection Facebook Group.  It would appear for him, conflict was a foregone conclusion.

To be very, very appears both of these people have done lots of good work particularly in the area of veterans affairs and education choice.  They should be commended for those efforts.

In this case however they seem to be playing the role of the "good soldier".  Unfortunately, when it comes to defending those who defend this toll plan, this time they've gone over to the Dark Side.

The same niceties can not be said for this third example.

Another Tillis supporter who has shown up on the toll debate scene is one Carlton Huffman.  Huffman is in the center of the below picture from it shows him on stage at the Senator's primary campaign victory party with long-time local Team Tillis member, Anne Clifford.  (Clifford has also recently been aggressively engaging the anti-tollers.)

Huffman hails from Granite Falls, NC and currently works for the state GOP in Wisconsin.  He is also no stranger to causing political turmoil.  As a former legislative aid in Raleigh, he was involved in at least two controversies during his short time there.  In one case, he circulated emails poking fun at some grammatical errors of children trying to participate in the legislative process.  In another he anonymously placed a controversial letter on desks in the NC Senate chamber as the Senate was about to debate a bill.  Check out this story and its embedded links for more details.

Soon after these incidents, Huffman no longer worked at the NCGA.

Huffman is also no stranger to meddling in the affairs of other localities.  This profile of Huffman's activities when working on a political campaign in the Hickory area is revealing.  Highly suggest reading it and its links.  Frankly, Team Tillis should be distancing itself from this guy.  The fact that they aren't is telling.

For those pesky activists in the Rebel Alliance however, there is one point to take away from seeing the Empire bring so many from "lands far, far away" to this fight.

It's an example of how little support the pro-tollers have locally to engage the fight themselves.

To those pesky Rebels engaged in that fight, "may the force be with you."


  1. Rick, I usually appreciate your work but this is the worst piece you have ever written. At least that I've read.

  2. Why is this so bad? He tells the truth, & we need to know who these players are when they troll our pages...which is often. Huffman has personally attacked me and even come on MY fb pg. Great job as always, Rick!

  3. I disagree. These pieces of the puzzle are important for others to understand. Those commenting on these threads in defense of Tillis' support of the tolls do so strategically.

  4. Apparently GR has some splainin to do. Throwing out a declaration without any supporting evidence whatsoever makes that declaration all poppycock and balderdash

  5. Glad to see someone call it like it is, Tillis is the reason we are getting hot lanes, plain and simple.

  6. Anti-tollers should be glad that Sen. Thom is in Washington, where he can do good work on Veterans' Affairs and many other issues, and where he has nothing to do with toll roads.

  7. Another great article Rick Short. I am proud to be part of the Rebel Alliance!!

  8. Well done, Rick! Your chronicling in this political arena is accurate & informative - and much appreciated!