What Hapenned to Barry Jacobs?

Guest Post by Matt Compton

The facts are pretty clear. Barry Jacobs got outspent by about $41,000 on Tuesday. But I’m not so sure that was the deciding factor in the House 50 race. In fact, there were at least three other things that contributed to Barry’s poor performance everywhere north of Hillsborough, and they in turn, led him to lose the race. These are simple observations. In most cases, I don’t have scientific evidence to back up my perceptions, but I think they are valid nonetheless.

1) The "Push" Poll
I don’t think Barry Jacobs had anything to do with the poll that was conducted by the State Employees Association of North Carolina, but it didn’t help him at all. SEANC made it a point to play hardball in this year’s primary, targeting five races, but for the most part, their efforts did more harm than good. Faison showed good political instincts by responding to the charges early and hitting back hard. Jacobs didn’t have a good answer when he was asked about it, and that left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.

I don’t think many people believed Barry would intentionally target Faison with a push poll. If folks took the time to think about it, they would have realized Barry probably didn’t have that kind of money anyhow. But it didn’t make anyone who heard about the calls very happy.

Barry just compounded things with his response. Initially, he told the Herald-Sun, he had nothing to do with the poll, telling reporters to look at his past record of clean campaigns. Then he proceeded to attack his opponent. He said, “I'm the financial David in this race, while my millionaire opponent has been pouring money into influencing voters. He's the only participant in this race who has the money to conduct such a poll. Perhaps even he can't keep track of all that he's spending.”

That sort of answer didn’t do a lot to settle the minds of many voters, and it kept people talking about it. Jacobs should have denied any knowledge of the poll and reiterated the importance of real issues in this race, without attacking Faison’s character. And then, when he heard one of the groups supporting him had made the calls, he should have denounced the action instead of making a half-hearted defense of the whole affair. First, it made him look petty, then it made him look like he wasn’t in control of his own campaign. Neither action made him look good in the eyes of the voters.

2) The Chapel Hill Factor
I don’t think it will come as any surprise to the regular readers of this site that many people living north of I-85 don’t (as a rule) have a terribly high opinion of Chapel Hill political activism. Joyce Stanford, someone who answered took two calls from the SEANC polling firm, told the Herald-Sun that she didn’t, “need a Chapel Hill tree hugger” telling her about protecting the land.

There was a definite perception that much of Barry’s support was coming from outside the district. By outside the district, I of course mean Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Even before the race got started, people in Northern Orange were predicting that Chapel Hill would try to “buy the election.” Indeed, at least $8000 in donations made to Jacobs’ election campaign came from outside the district. (That just reflects the numbers in Jacobs’ last report to the Board of Elections totaling contributions greater than $250—Jacobs wasn’t required to list an address for donations smaller than that, so an entire total remains unclear).

Even as Faison poured money into his race, he came out on top in the eyes of many—because he didn’t have to pander to “a bunch of Chapel Hill liberals” to get the funds to run. His self-made wealth became a plus, and the appreciation that many Chapel Hill supporters felt for Barry Jacobs, to some extent, became a minus.

3) Cigarette Tax Increase
Early on, Barry Jacobs came out in favor of an increase in the cigarette tax, and this perhaps more than any other issue, defined his campaign in the eyes of rural voters. Jacobs tried to nuance his position by saying that funds from a tax increase should go to agricultural projects, but in an area densely populated by tobacco farmers, Barry might well have said he supported a full fledge ban on the sale of tobacco products for all the good it did him.

More than anything else, his support of a tobacco tax in a time when tobacco as a cash crop is failing left Jacobs looking out of touch with his constituents. It defined him as someone who didn’t share the concerns of voters in his district in a way that even outspoken Faison’s opposition to the death penalty never could.

On this issue, Faison took a stand against a tax increase, and he was rewarded for that stand by strong support from tobacco farmers. And that support didn’t necessarily translate into cash donations. Farmers all across the precinct called their neighbors, put out signs, worked the polls, and above all else turned out to vote for someone who they saw as a supporter. Look at Faison’s numbers in the Caldwell or Cedar Grove precinct in Orange County (where I should note, Faison calls home) or any of the more rural precincts in Caswell—Faison ran away with the election in these areas.

What does it all mean?
Right away, it means that barring an extraordinary write-in campaign come November, Bill Faison will represent this district in Raleigh, and Barry Jacobs will continue to serve as a county commissioner. But long-term, it means politics as usual in Orange County won’t win elections. Northern Orange is a very different place from areas south of Hillsborough, and Caswell County is more different still. Bill Faison can’t be ignored by the Orange County Democratic Party in the same way that Representative Gordon Allen was. But he ran on a campaign that promised to bring jobs to the area and support farmers. If he fails to live up to his campaign promises, voters can decide whether he should go back to Raleigh in two short years.

Matt Compton is a UNC student from Cedar Grove. He lives in (and voted in) N.C. House District 50.



Duncan, Jenkins was regualry identified in the press as a conservative "Jessecrat" and he was the judge the GOP wanted. The hypocrisy of the GOP is simply stunning; they've raised it to an art form.

Duncan Murrell,

You are incorrect. It was a Democrat Judge Knox Jenkins that ruled against Democrat drawn districts. After Democrats excoriated him for upholding the constitution he changed his affiliation to Unaffiliated, as he remains today.

You are correct about Democrats wanting to delay the primary by two months. You can check this article by John Hood to learn more:


Thanks for clarification, Paul.

That clarifies nothing. Morgan was as much a part of the decision last November as Black and Basnight. I may not be technically correct about Knox Jenkins, but having met him, I know he hasn't thought of himself as a Democrat for a long time. Your idea that he was simply "upholding the Constitution" is a matter of interpretation, obviously; even John Hood's article admits that.

I take it that you're conceding the fact that the Democrats's "redistricting every two years" is the result of lawsuits filed by Republicans, and not the result of a Democratic desire to keep rewriting them, which was the gist of your original point.

If we could just keep the trial attorneys working for the Democrats, their (allegedly) normal clientele, we wouldn't be having this problem. ;)

Gloria, it appears a number of folks took a pass on voting in the state rep race. Remember that Unaffiliated voters can vote in primaries and perhaps they were more interested in commissioner than state rep. although the percentage of unaffilated voters who voted in the primary was only 10% county-wide and some of them voted in the GOP primary too, so they weren't much of a factor, but they accounted for a few Dem priimary votes. By the way, 29% of Democrats turned out county-wide, a bit higher in the precincts in the 50th district (9 of the 14 precincts had over 30% Dem tunout). Only 17% of Republicans voted despite hotly-contested Republican primary races for Gov, 7 other council of state offices and Congress.


I know that Jacobs won at Coles Store. But, I was curious about the numbers.

Total number of votes there for Democratic Governor (1 vote each) was 679 votes.

Total number of votes for Democratic district on all four candidates was 664 votes (less total votes than Governor)

Then, I look at county commissioner race. I made the assumption that everyone of the voters for that race voted for two candidates. But, we know that there was quite a bit of single shot voting. But, I assume that folks didn't single shot. If you take the total number of Democratic votes for comissioner and divide by 2, then you get 691 votes (more total votes than district 50)

Coles Stores had a surprising good turnout for a primary election in the middle of summer. A fact noted by Jacobs since he had representation there a good amount of the day. It appears to me that there were votes who came out and didn't like or support either Faison or Jacobs.

I find that curious. But, I might be reading this wrong. Please feel free to correct me. Yes... it is one precint. But you were talking about 150 votes. If voters were as excited about Jacobs at Coles Store as they were about county commissioner, he could have 30 more votes at one place.

I just found that interesting.


Your last post was very good. What happen or what happened to 150 votes for Jacobs in Orange County?

Let's just look at the Coles Store Precinct. That particular precinct voted heavily in the county commissioner race and did not appear to vote hardly at all in the senate race - for either candidate.

It makes me wonder.

Jacobs won big in 6 precincts, Coles Store (417-223), Orange Grove (379-140), Grady Brown (180-98), Eno (166-75), St. Marys (154-100) and Hillsborough (145-72). He won smaller victories in Cameron Park (154-139) and Cheeks (166-156). Faison won big in 4 precincts: Caldwell (174-120), Tolars (172-99), Cedar Grove (170-79), and Carr (90-48). Faison won smaller victories in Efland (125-109) and West Hillsborough (178-165). Blacks account for more than a quarter of all Democrats (note again, all Democrats, not all voters, and I'm assuming all blacks are registered Dem, which is not totally accurate but close) in the following 7 precincts: West Hillborough (70%), Carr (56%), Cheeks (47%), Tolars (42%), Cedar Grove (32%), Hillsborough (30%) and Efland (26%). 5 were won by Faison, 3 by a wide margin (Carr, Tolars and Cedar Grove), 2 were close (Efland and West Hillsborough). Jacobs won big in only one (Hillsborough) and won closely in another (Cheeks, by only 10 votes). In fact given that Barry probably had a much higher percentage of the white vote in the Hillsborough precinct than he did in other precincts, the black vote there was probably mostly for Faison too, as it was in Caswell County too, from what I have heard.

Jacobs won Orange County by 650 votes (I'm rounding my figures to the nearest 25 votes here), Faison won Caswell by 1500, so Faison won by 850 overall. The results were lopsided: Jacobs won Orange 53%-41%, Fasion won Caswell 74%-22%. But, 64% of the votes (5125) were cast in Orange, only 36% (2850) in Caswell, so overall, Faison's margin was 10 points (52%-42%), soild by not spectacular.

It appears Fasion's spending adavantage was at least 3-1 (The Caswell Messenger, as posted above by Jay B., estimated total spending at $150K for Faison, $50K for Jacobs). But when all expenditures are counted and reported, I think it may be more like 4-1 and in Caswell County maybe higher.

Even if Faison had only spent what Jacobs did, I think Faison still would have won Caswell County and by a good margin. His politics did fit the more conservative Dems in Caswell (and in the far northern Orange precincts) better than Jabobs, I suppose (to the extent that voters vote ideologically in a state legislative race) and he is native to the far northern Orange/southern Caswell area, so he would have done well in Caswell spending advantage or not, but not the more 3-1 victory he won there, I would argue. If Faison had spent only what Jacobs did, he couldn't have bought the name recogntion, which neither he nor Jacobs had there and Jacobs could never afford to buy. Nor could Faison have communicated his more conservative ideas and roots in the area to the widely-scattered voters of Caswell Co without TV, radio and his many mailings. A candidate can only do so much "retail politics" in a district like District 50 without an enormous commitment of time, like every waking moment for 3 months or more. Faison wasn't active in Caswell before in any capacity, so even if he had roots there, how many people really knew him? My guess is that folks will be surprised how much Faison spent with Triad-area TV stations alone to become known in Caswell. We'll see when the final campaign finance reports come out (when is that, anyone know?)

So let's assume that without the spending advantage, Faison would have won Caswell, but by 64%-32%, say, which is exactly a 2-1 margin, still a very big victory. This would have required a switch of about 275 Caswell voters (fewer than 10% of Dem primary voters in Caswell) voting for Jabobs instead of Faison. Faison's 1500 margin in Caswell would then have been 950 and his district-wide margin would have been only 300 votes.

Turn to Orange, where the spending advantage was still to Faison, not as much, but probably still at least 2-1. Had Fasion only spent as much as Jacobs, could he have done as well in Orange as he did? Again, he spent a lot just buying name recognition (which Jacobs DID have here in Orange, of course), including what may be a good bit on Triangle TV too (I counted at least 4 of his ads during the 3 hours or so of News14 coverage of the Kerry-Edwards visit here that I watched and I didn't watch all the ad, so there may have been more).

Again, without the ability of Faison to buy widepread name recognition, which he could not have done had he spent only 50K, Jacobs' margin would have been wider in Orange, I would argue. Not all voters, even the more interested and committed primary voters, follow every race closely and many voters in Orange (I don't know about Caswell) went to the polls July 20 primarily because of their interest in other races (like the commissioners or Orange Co. school board). These voters weren't likely to vote for someone they never heard of in the races they hadn't followed, unless they disliked one candidate and simply wanted to a cast a protest vote, which could have only been cast in this election against Jacobs, the only candidate who had a public record to protest. But if these "protest" voters had never heard of Faison, more of whatever protest vote that was cast against Jabobs would have gone to the other 2 candidates, who only got 6% between them in Orange (4% in Caswell) and were not a factor in the race at all.

Would Jabobs' margin in Orange have increased by a lot with this level playing field? Probably not, but a switch of only about 150 votes in Orange (a 56-38 Jacobs win in Orange), coupled with my assumption of a 2-1 Faison win in Caswell, would have given the election to Jacobs. Those 150 voters represent fewer than 3% of the 5150 who voted in Orange.

Is it unreasonable to believe that Faison's money advantage got him 3% more voters in Orange and 10% more in Caswell, 5% district-wide?

from the Caswell messenger online...

"Last, but certainly not the least talked about, was the race to represent Caswell County in the newly formed NC House District 50. Successful attorney Bill Faison put his money to work early in the Caswell County campaign by contributing heavily in the black community and by outspending Jacobs in campaign advertising at least three dollars to one according to campaign financial reports. Jacobs was disappointed in the loss and said, "The tactics used in Caswell County do not bode well for a democracy." Faison defended his private contributions to local churches and scholarships at the Bartlett Yancey High School as the same that he does for his own community. "I haven't contributed any more to the churches of Caswell County than I have to my own church and other organizations that I support in my own community," Faison said.

Jacobs said he wished the people of Caswell County well but lamented, "That kind of spending is nothing new to politics, but I just don't have that kind of money."

Jacobs raised about $50 thousand for his campaign and in the final days had to borrow several thousand to make the ends meet. Faison, a winning medical malpractice attorney with an office and staff of 60 employees in Durham listed close to $150 thousand in campaign funds, most of which came from his own resources. He promised to help the people of Caswell with economic development and jobs-something all agree is desperately needed in Caswell County.

a good way to torpedo any future hopes in any election for an area more conservative than Chapel Hill/Carroboro would be to be associated with deciding to force a county commissioner school merger on the residents.

It's worth noting that the "Chapel Hill factor" wasn't simply a force of nature that set the two candidates apart. Faison actively campaigned on perceptions about Barry's nefarious southern influences. For example, in a News of Orange story early in the campaign, Faison played the "gay card" by disparaging Barry's vote on domestic partner benefits as reflecting Chapel Hill values (to paraphrase). His responses to questions about same-sex couples in the Herald's Votebook were dismissive, to say the least. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come in the Orange delegation.

No, Paul, you're right. The Democrats are so excited about redrawing districts that they couldn't quit drawing them even past the former primary date, because the one thing they love more than redrawing maps is having to hold hastily thrown together presidential primary caucuses, and July 20th primaries!

Interesting analyses. Makes sense in general--A few questions for anyone who might be privy to such: 1) How hard did Barry work Caswell?--While Matt correctly points out a lopsided result for Bill in three precicnts in Orange, Barry did well elsewhere, and as has been pointed out, the results throughout Caswell were far more lopsided and resultantly, catastrophic.--That says to me that there was a different dynamic at play in similar precincts in the respective counties. 2) Materials that I have seen from Bill's campaign are virtually content-free, as were his television and radio ads.--see www.faisonforhouse.com--Did Bill distribute more specific targeted materials? If so, were they issue-- oriented, or targeted at Barry? Or both, and how widespread? In the same vein, how did Barry work this? 3)How did the candidates work institutional alliances? Mention was made of Bill's working of events. Did Barry do likewise?, And what important institutions in Caswell are role-players in the political realm? If anybody knows, do we have an idea how they may or may not have been players in the outcome? An examination of these factors may be illuminating.

As to the implications of the results, My admittedly limited experience with Bill largely mirrors Paul's: I participated in a panel with Bill in the Orange economic summit last year that dealt with workforce issues. A key component of that discussion was the subject of housing affordability. Bill's attitude toward the measures that have long been pursued in the southern end of the county--Inclusionary zoning, aggressive support for non-profit efforts to provide workforce housing--was dismissive at best, and at times hostile. Bill derided these efforts as being unfair subsidies provided by 'those who can afford to live in the county for those who can't'--and generally characterized such efforts as a radical redistributive scheme.As the conversation progressed, Bill seemed to express a general skepticism of an active government role in addressing issues such as child care and other questions affecting working class folks in Orange County, and instead appeared to believe that market forces should provide the solutions. (Caveat: If Bill or others lurking here believe I have mischaracterized Bill's positions or thrust, here, I'd be delighted to be corrected.) How does this bode for other progressive policies that may require enabling local legislation in the General Assembly--Hmmm.

Given that this has been considered largely a southern Orange issue, why should we care, given that District 50 is largely outside the confines of CH-Carrboro's planning jurisdictions? Namely this:

There is a peculiar unwritten rule in the General assembly that all of the members of the legislative delegation representing the county from which the local bills eminate must support that legislation for it to be heard. If any member dissents, it's considered controversial and is DOA. So, what that means is that Bill could potentially block any measure (special taxing authority, Transfer of Development Rights...etc) that doesn't fit his philosophy or that of his supporters. As such, a challenge facing all of us in local government and the social service sector will be how we engage Rep. Faison, and what his real-world responses will be.



I certainly wasn't happy with Gordon Allen's representation of northern Orange. Faison won't need to do too much to improve on that.

The reason why they've been redrawn "every two years" is that the original redrawing, made after the last census, has been challenged in court by the Republican Party, and it keeps getting sent back. (One set of lines, at least those affecting the federal election, was drawn by Republican Judge Knox Jenkins, in the interim, if I'm not mistaken.) The legislature wouldn't have been doing its consitutionally mandated duty if they _hadn't_ attempted to redraw the districts after the census. The fact that they seem to keep redrawing them is the result of the lawsuits, not the legislature's desire to keep drawing them. I'm sure they'd have been happy with the first set of maps.

This is, of course, a play-by-play replay of what happened after the 1990 census.

How about the $1000.00 in the collection plate at african american churches, will that be a donation in which Faison takes a tax write off on or is it a campaign expenditure. I understand Faison also donated $2500 to the FFA at Orange High. How about Cedar Ridge High FFA, did they get a donation from Fasion? Oh my mistake, Cedar Ridge is south of I-85 and not in Norhtern Orange where Fasion was running. My mother in-law would not support him because he didn't know his district. She asked the attorney working the Orange Grove precinct for Fasion if he was standing in Northern Orange and he had to answer no.

Paul Falduto,

You are incorrect. It is your party (the Democratic Party) that has been redistricting every two years.

You are also incorrect about Gordon Allen not campaigning in Orange County. He spent a fortune on mailings. He also attended local events. Incidentally, the same type of push poll that was conducted against Bill Faison this year was also conducted against Kathy Hartkopf in 2002.

I think money played a more subtle meaning than just in campaign expenditures. Mark alludes to it in his "Chapel Hill" factor. I may stumble around in trying to say this, but the analogy I keep going back to is the global situation. The US uses the majority of the worlds resources and exudes the general belief that our concerns are the concerns of the world. I don't know that this is purely a money issue since many middle eastern countries are far wealthier than we are (and in fact own a large part of our county)--but we've had money over time and used it to build power bases FOR OURSELVES.

To me that's the explanation of Matt's "Chapel Hill factor." We've made the decisions and set the policies that are good for us, frequently at the expense of our rural neighbors. When the district was split, the rural vote was able to exert itself by voting for Faison. I'm not saying his campaign platforms or his expenditures didn't count, but I agree with Matt that there was also a semi-rebellion in voting against the candidate seen as part of the Chapel Hill crowd. What's good for Chapel Hill isn't always good for the rural areas. IMHO, we saw the same message to a lesser extent in the commissioners race.

I meant campaign expenditures in my last post, not donations.

I do mean they are campaign expenditures and he counts them in his report to the Board of Elections. My point was that they were a different use of money than campaign buttons or political ads. A more generous one, at least

Yes, Matt those donations are better, but he had plenty of money for all of it. I just have a problem with a system that allows someone to put unlimited amounts of their own money into campaign. Certainly there were issues besides money in the race, and perhaps even if spending had been even, Faison may have won, we'll never know. He certainly was not an unqualified candidate. And a number of people have told me they found him very different than I did, perhaps they are right and I am wrong, I did just talk to the man once. Perhaps he will be a good rep. Who knows? For me, I did know that Barry would do a good job based on his public record and that was my deciding factor. But certainly that is not the only reason to support someone, others may have had other good reasons to support Faison. I just don't like what money does to this system and we need sweeping campaign finance reform in this state.

Matt, I never said that you suggested that Barry would be a bad rep. I simply gave my take on it, adding that I did support Barry.

Matt--shouldn't Faidon's donations to Relay for Life, etc. be considered campaign donations too?

Matt, well, we'll see when the final campaign financing reports come out.

Ruby, I agree it is bad for democracy to spend so much of your own money on a race for political office, which is why we need public financing to level the playing field in these cases. And I agree, what was SEANC thinking? And the media blew it up out of proportion too.


While it may be bad for democracy, it happens to be one way our system works. Money does mean a lot in politics.

And I also happen to believe it was the only way someone could have challenged Barry for this district. In Orange County at least, Barry was essentially the incumbent, and Faison was an unknown. That's a steep hill to climb, and the fastest way to counteract that advantage is to throw cash at the problem.

That said, look closely at how Faison spent the money. He purchased airtime on the tv and the radio, and he did a couple ad buys for print media. He spent money on signs. He sent out mailings. I don't want to downplay that. Those things were expensive, and by all accounts, they were effective.

But a lot of his expenditures were for community events, and I think that was just as effective.

He made a big donation to the Relay For Life held at Orange High School, then rented a climbing wall for the event itself. He was a sponsor for the Hillsborough Hog Day. He was a sponsor for the Pelham Summer Fest in Caswell. Those things counted a lot in the eyes of voters.

All that aside, I don't think this was as simple as money buying an election. Unless a candidate is willing to go negative and slam the other guy, the best that commercials and advertisements can do are to present an alternative, and convince voters that the alternative has a chance to win.

Once they knew an alternative existed, voters made a choice based on the facts they saw.

Paul Falduto:

I never suggested that Barry would make a poor representative for District 50. I never insinuated that he didn't have fine record of public service. I've tried very hard to keep my personal preferences out of my analysis.

I happen to believe that each man would have served the community well, and I am glad to have each of them in my party. That aside, I have to call the shots as I see them.

And I think that, altogether apart from Barry's fine record of public service, he made mistakes in this campaign that help to cost him the election. In an election year, "What have you done for me lately" isn't even enough. Many voters just want to know, "What are you doing now and what will you do for me tomorrow."

Paul Falduto:

I really think there is no way that Faison will spend $200,000. There are a lot of State Senate races don't cost that much. In fact, I think he won't come close to the $138,605.24 Representative Allen spent in 2002.

Still, Faison spent well over $100,000 of his own money on the race. To me that's just bad for democracy, period.

The push poll certainly hurt Barry, especially among groups who didn't know him. You have to really wonder about the political strategy over at SEANC. What were they thinking?

Faison is from the northern Orange area and that certainly helped him. By the way, spending will be much higher than that, Faison spent $109000 not including the last month. He may hit 200K. What choice did Barry have but to raise as much as he could? This election shows how badly we need public financing of campaigns, it seems to me.

Paul Newton, your idea that Barry would have used "payback" against people that didn't vote him makes no sense. How would Barry know who voted for whom in the privacy of the ballot box? Your partisanship really shows with that charge. And Gordon Allen did zero campaigning in Orange, he didn't have to, he had overwhelming support in Person Co. Perhaps if your Party would quit redistricting every 2 years, maybe we would have a stable district.

I don't know if it is true, but someone said Faison has family in Caswell and I think he said roots.... This was months before the primary...

does anyone know if Faison had family in Caswell? If so that could add to the explanation..

Also did these guys really spend a combine 150,000$+ for about 6000 total votes cast??? does anyone else find this insane?

In 2002, a Republican (Kathy Hartkopf) won Orange County when it belonged to House District 55 (Orange and Person County). The incumbent (Democrat Gordon Allen) spent around $130k on his campaign and won the overall race. Hartkopf spent around $10K and won Orange County and received 47% of the vote overall. That was too close for comfort for the state Democratic party which is why I believe they re-gerrymandered the district into House District 50. Had House District 55 remained intact, the Democrats would have lost that seat to a Republican in 2004.

By adding a few more Southern precincts in Orange County (which are more populous and more liberal) and by dropping Person County (more populous than the Orange County district) and replacing it with Caswell County (less populous than the Orange County district), that should have made conditions easier for a candidate with more liberal leanings to carry the district ... especially a candidate who was already well known in Orange County and had an established base of support. While no one would openly admit it, the scuttle floating around Raleigh was that House District 50 was drawn with Barry Jacobs in mind. If the scuttle is true, then Bill Faison certainly interfered with the plans.

While I agree that it sounds silly, another aspect that hasn't been discussed is the price of not supporting Barry Jacobs. Many folks perceive the County Commissioners as being very influential. I have heard that some of the support that Barry Jacobs received in Orange County was done so out of fear of the consequences of not supporting him (whether real or perceived). Naturally, that would be of no concern to the residents of Caswell County.

As a registered Republican with no say in the Democratic Primary, I would have preferred that Barry Jacobs won. That would have ultimately made it a little easier for a viable Republican candidate to come along and take the seat later on. As a resident of Orange County, however, I think that the election of Bill Faison was the best choice for District 50 considering there was no Republican alternative.

I met Bill Faison for the first time at the Dem Party convention. I knew I would probably support Barry, but I wasn't 100% sure at that point, so I wanted to talk to Faison. I found him very uninformed about some basic state issues I talked to him about and found him combative, defensive and arrogant (in fairness to him, I got pretty combative with him when I found how uniformed he was). He was also evasive and coy; if I asked him "what about corporate taxes," for example, he'd say "why don't you tell me?" He really couldn't make a good case for why he should be running, it seemed to me. Then putting Barry's 20-year record of excellent public service next to Faison's 0, it was a no-brainer for me. I thought that Barry was clearly the better candidate and he advanced new excellent ideas (such as developing a horse racing industry rather than the lottery. Ironically, although farmers opposed Barry becasue of the tobacco tax, his past work on rural development, crop substitution and sustainable alternative farming (he's hosted five or six Ag Summits in northern Orange over the years and it has been a very important issue to him) would have helped the farmers a lot more than a tobacco tax would have hurt them. That was a brave stand by Barry and Faison used it against him again and again. Faison's "platform" was very sketchy and mostly platitudes. All that said, Faison is the next state rep and a member of my party, so I'm certainly willing to give him a chance, but I'll be watching his performance in Raleigh very closely myself.

The question is not if Bill Faison will be ignored by the Party, the question is will Bill Faison ignore the Party? Sure Barry made mistakes, but he won Orange pretty easily, so they people who knew him voted for him, even in this "conservative" part of the county. And do you think the final figures on spending are in? Faison spent at least $109,000, almost all his own money, and that doesn't count the last month. I think he will top $200,000. Plus he had tons of free election day labor from his employees. I worked the Efland poll for the Dem Party, he had two people out there all day and at least three others (including Faison's office manager, a registered Republican who doesn't live in the district) visited with food, etc. Whatever small mistakes Barry made, Faison's money was the key factor, it appears to me.


I was at home this weekend, and I did some asking. Bill Faison didn't give money to the Orange High School FFA, not exactly anyhow. He gave money to the FFA Alumni, and it wasn't $2500. It was $1500, and it wasn't just given as a gift. It was given in the form of three $500 grants, which fully funded three college scholarships.

I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Faison didn't give money to Cedar Ridge because they aren't in the district where he was seeking office. To put it simply, Cedar Ridge doesn't have a scholarship program because they don't have an FFA Alumni. We can't be sure what Faison would have done if that had been the case.

I'm still working on trying to find out about giving to African-American churches. But I just wanted to clear up the facts on what I have discovered.


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