Friday, December 20, 2013

A house divided...

cannot stand is the saying.

While I don't think that saying really applies to the Republican Party here in North Mecklenburg, things are going to get very messy over the next few months.

Tuesday saw the announcement of a new group forming in the area called Lake Norman Conservatives.  The group's first event is ambitious - a candidate forum for the US Senate race.  Three of the five announced candidates are apparently confirmed, but that list does not include Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius.  I'd be surprised if he does.

This new group has its genesis in the controversy over toll roads - a controversy that has its roots in the actions of our elected officials - primarily Republicans. (See here, here, and here for just a few examples.)  Those actions were bound to ultimately end in this result - a division within the ranks of the conservative movement in the area.  Regardless of what happens from here on out, people need to remember where the blame really lies for that.

There are good, committed people on both sides of this dividing line, and I hate to see them lining up against each other.

Wednesday saw the entry of recently re-elected Cornelius Commissioner John Bradford into the NC House 98 race to represent North Mecklenburg in the NC Legislature.  This is the second time in two election cycles where a Cornelius elected official announced plans to run for a higher office immediately after a municipal election cycle - the other time being when then newly re-elected Mayor Tarte jumped into the primary for NC Senate 41.  Tarte was successful and maybe Bradford will be too.  However, if I was a Cornelius voter I'd be pretty annoyed with my Town Board repeatedly being seen as a stepping stone to higher office.

During the last campaign when Bradford was the target of the "Fire Bradford" signs posted by the Widen I77 activist group, the campaign pushed back by releasing a long list of endorsements.  One of those endorsers had this to say...

Local businessman Joshua Dobi, expressed concern if Bradford were not to be re-elected. “Considering the amount of turnover we have had on the Commission this year I would be very worried if John Bradford were not to be re-elected to the Cornelius Town Commission. His service is vital to the health of our town government. 

Apparently, Bradford does not share that same "worry".

Expect to see comments coming out of the Bradford camp like "this just came up", or "people started asking me to run" etc, etc.  Do not believe them.  The rumor that Bradford was thinking of running has been circulating for a while now.  The first bit of evidence received here was less than ten days after the last election.  Also, comments by the other announced Republican in the race, Lynette Rinker, make it sound like she might have had the inside scoop a while ago.  In hindsight, her references in her campaign announcement to being "a full-time legislator and working for you will be my only job” may be an attempt differentiate herself from Bradford who owns a real estate management business.

This race will be interesting to watch, but frankly, as a conservative, neither announced candidate excites me all that much.  The biggest local issue this year has been the widening of I77 with tolls and both of these candidates come down on the wrong side of that issue.  They are in the same camp as the person who they are trying to replace - Speaker Thom Tillis.  It's hard to see many of the local activists I know supporting either of them enthusiastically.  What would make it more interesting is if a third candidate jumps into the race.

I can think of a few people who I'd like to see, but unfortunately, there is no chatter, swirl, rumor or innuendo to report on the possibility of that.


  1. Thank you for covering these developments, Rick. Clearly the toll issue led to division in our community and between elected officials who were advocating the tolls and the citizens against them. The disagreements in our Republican community is not much different from what is playing out right now on the national scene. The American people are desiring strong and principled leadership that is not more of the same and pandering to special interests. The goal of Lake Norman Conservatives will be to provide our community the opportunity to meet and discuss issues without having to be careful about not stepping on any toes. I hope that in the new year we can offer each other the gifts of forgiveness, grace, and mercy. We will not always agree and we will occasionally need to speak out when we see something that is harmful to our country, state or community. However, a a trong community listens to others and has leadership that respects and values the voices of the citizens.

  2. Here's a recent email sent from the NMRW board to the group's membership on the goings on here in North Meck. Posted here after asking permission.

    "This is a message to rebut a recent email you may have received from a former board member.

    First, a brief history: North Mecklenburg Republican Women was founded in 2009 as a federated Republican women’s club and is guided by the bylaws of three organizations. These organizations are NMRW, the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women and the National Federation of Republican Women. Our stated purpose is to increase participation and effectiveness of women in government, inform the public through political education and activity, foster loyalty to the Republican Party, work for Republican candidates in all elections, including non-partisan elections, support the Republican National Committee, support local charities and increase awareness of the Republican Party.

    The resignation of board members this past year have included one due to relocation out of state, one to become the primary caregiver of an ill family member and three for participation in outside activities in conflict with our bylaws.

    Specifically, one board member resigned when asked to choose between remaining on the board or continue activism regarding the I-77 managed lanes debate. It is contrary to our bylaws for a board member to connect NMRW to an issue outside of our stated purposes.

    More recently, two board members were asked to resign due to their participation in election activities in conflict with NMRW and Republican Party rules.

    NMRW board members as officers of the club are held to a high standard. We cannot endorse one Republican against another. Our intent is to give each Republican a forum to deliver their message and let the voters choose whom to support. It is not appropriate for NMRW board members to use their status as board members to advance interests they may have that are not within our primary operating directives.

    NMRW takes no position on any of these outside activities but does have a responsibility to insure that all of our bylaws and standing rules are followed.

    We hope that this note brings clarity regarding the issues your club has faced over the past year. We are now positioned to continue our proactive efforts and use our influence and energy to elect Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.
    We need and greatly appreciate your continued support in these endeavors."