More than just about anything this election season, the Republican Party is in need of some party unity.
Last night local Republicans in the MeckGOP had a golden opportunity to achieve a little of that. Instead party leaders chose to engage in a little foot shooting of their very own feet.
The MeckGOP Executive Committee met Wednesday night to pick a replacement for NC-92 Rep Charles Jeter of Huntersville. The party needed a replacement both for the remainder of Jeter's term through January and for the ballot this November. The hands down obvious choice for both spots going into the meeting was to pick Jeter's primary opponent, Tom Davis.
Davis had a long list of endorsements from elected officials including the other two elected members to the NCGA from the North Mecklenburg area, Senator Jeff Tarte and Rep John Bradford. Davis even got the endorsement from his former opponent Charles Jeter. That says a lot about Jeter (and Davis) after what was a sharp and pointed primary campaign.
A former campaign worker of Jeter's, Stacy Phillips, posted a complete list of Davis's endorsements to Facebook the day before the meeting.
Then came the meeting Wednesday night and a series of surprises. Yours truly was not at the meeting, nor have I spoken to any of the parties directly involved since last night. However, a good bit was posted on Facebook by those who were in the room and were involved.
The first surprise was that Davis was not going to seek the spot on the ballot. Instead, former Huntersville Commissioner Danae Caulfield was going to seek that appointment. Caulfied had been a supporter of Davis's since he announced he would be seeking the replacement appointments immediately after Jeter announced his resignation in July. Caulfield however would NOT be seeking the appointment to fill out Jeter's remaining term. Davis was going to continue seeking that spot.
Here's how Caulfied explained it in response to the below question from Meck County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour. Ridenhour had endorsed Davis.
Caulfield was unanimously selected to be on the ballot by the 7 members of the MeckGOP Executive Committee present from NC92 allowed to vote.
The crazy and unity damaging part of the meeting came when it was time to replace Jeter for the remainder of the current term that ends in January - a mere 4+ months away. Keep in mind, the NCGA is out of session and not much if anything is going on at the moment in Raleigh It's election time and those running for office are in their home districts campaigning.
Letting Davis fill the remainder of the term made sense. He had nearly beaten Jeter in the primary. He had all the endorsements listed previously and doing so would be a GREAT way to show a little party unity.
Out of the blue, Justin Moore who is apparently a long time activist with the MeckGOP threw his name into the hat for the nomination.
Moore gets the nod, 5-1.
Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla voted for Davis. Huntersville Commissioners Rob Kidwell and Melinda Bales voted along with 3 others to give the seat to Moore.
The news of this outcome swept social media. Much of the response would best be classified as anger that Davis had been snubbed.
In response, Moore had this to say on Thursday.
Moore who also had a vote in the decision abstained on Wednesday. Though clearly, he had already counted the votes. His vote wasn't needed. That's politics.
But seeking a seat for a few months when there is effectively nothing to do at the expense of an opportunity to foster some party unity, that's certainly not good politics.
County Commissioner Jim Puckett said it best at the end of a long post Tuesday night on the whole series of events.
"Tonight five members of the GOP executive committee decided they knew better than all of the above. It was another eye-opening example of why the public is disgusted with politics in general. Contrary to what Donald Trump and Bernie Saunders believe political party politics is not rigged, it is just stupid."