The Other Stuff on the Ballot 2006 Edition

Let's take a look at the non-partisan elections on the ballot this November.

Local Judicial Races

There are plenty of judicial races, but there's only one local competition: The much discussed Superior Court race in which we get to pick two from a list of four. The candidates are The Hon. Carl Fox (former DA), The Hon. Allen Baddour, Attorney Adam Stein and The Hon. Chuck Anderson (currently a District Court Judge). Plenty has been said about this race already on another thread so I will leave it at that.

District Court Judge Joe Buckner is running for re-election, but is unopposed on the ballot. He certainly deserves and will get another term.

The state-wide judicial races are also non-partisan, although, as it happens, all of the races have one Democrat and one Republican running. There will be no indication on the ballot as to which party the judicial candidates belong to.

North Carolina Supreme Court

Sarah Parker v. Rusty Duke
Democrat Sarah Parker has been a mainstay of her party for so long that there is a joke about her outstanding party allegiance. Unfortunately the joke is really not very funny, so we'll skip it. Some local lawyers are critical of Justice Parker's skills as a member of the Supreme Court, but she looks good when compared with Rusty Duke whose website touts his endorsements from the NRA, Concerned Women for America and NC Right to Life (the abortion clinic blockade crew).

Rachel Lea Hunter v. Mark Martin
Democrat Rachel Lea Hunter is challenging incumbent Republican Justice Mark Martin. Hunter has been critical of Martin's outreach to the Christian Coalition. But Martin points to the bipartisan support he has, being endorsed by all of the living retired Supreme Court Chief Justices of North Carolina (some of whom are moderate to liberal Democrats). Unless I am persuaded otherwise soon, I am not going to vote in this race. I don't know anything about Mark Martin that would make me want to vote for him and Rachel Lea Hunter seems like, well, maybe you better look at her website yourself:

Eric Levinson v. Patricia Timmons-Goodson
Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson gave a compelling speech at the Orange County Democratic Party convention this year. She is the incumbent in this race, having been appointed by Gov. Easley within the last year. Judge Levinson is currently on the Court of Appeals. Both candidates have outstanding legal credentials, but Levinson is clearly a conservative Republican (he boasts about his endorsements from Dole, Burr and Myrick for example). Justice Timmons-Goodson is more of a moderate and is incidentally the first African American woman ever to serve on North Carolina's highest court.

Ann Marie Calabria v. Robin Hudson
Justice Wainright is retiring and so there is no incumbent in this race. Democrat Robin Hudson of Raleigh, who is currently a member of the NC Court of Appeals, has served with distinction and is perceived by many to be the progressive member of that court. Morrisville Republican Ann Marie Calabria is on the Court of Appeals currently. Judge Calabria, who graduated from Campbell Law School, is “endorsed by the Republican Party and conservatives throughout the state” according to her website.

North Carolina Court of Appeals

Kris Bailey v. Bob Hunter
Incumbent Democrat Judge Bob Hunter of Marion is being challenged by Republican Kris Bailey of Cary. I've talked to Judge Hunter and he seems like a good guy to me. Area lawyers who practice in the Court of Appeals report that Judge Hunter is a fair judge and deserves re-election. Kris Bailey says “our courts should protect marriage, the family, prayer, property and our Constitution, not destroy them.” ‘Nuff said?

Linda Stephens v. Donna Stroud
Raleigh Democrat incumbent Judge Linda Stephens is opposed by Republican Donna Stroud of Zebulon. Stroud is probably the least qualified candidate in any of these judicial races. She has served for less than two years as a judge and at the District Court level at that. District Court is where traffic tickets, misdemeanors, domestic disputes and medium sized civil suits are heard. Stroud is also a conservative who attended Campbell University (undergrad and law school) and is endorsed by Senator Dole. Stephens by contrast has been endorsed by the People's Alliance in Durham as well as the Charlotte Observer and the Winston Salem Journal. She currently serves on the Court of Appeals, formerly clerked for the Court of Appeals (a significant honor among lawyers) and was also formerly a judge on NC's worker's compensation court (the NC Industrial Commission as it is called). She graduated from UNC law and was the national Phi Beta Kappa Woman of the Year as a senior in college.

Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

William C. Hogan, Charles Snipes and Will Shooter are vying for two available seats on this board. Hogan and Snipes are incumbents and Shooter is challenging them. Snipes and Hogan are both registered Democrats, while Shooter is unaffiliated (formerly Libertarian – no longer possible to be so registered in NC). I probably should leave it at that because I got somebody mad about this race last time. But, I have to say that I am still open to hearing about the Libertarian Party's position on soil conservation.

District Representation Referendum

There is another thread to discuss this referendum, so we'll leave it alone here.

The Partisan Races

I was going to give a rundown of just the non-partisan items on the ballot, but I thought it might just be interesting to note a thing or two about the partisan races on the ballot. There are eight partisan races on Orange County ballots and in four of them there is no Republican candidate at all (except in Damascus, Dogwood Acres, King's Mill, St. John, and White Cross precincts where Joe Hackney is almost hypothetically being opposed by Republican Alvin Reed). And the other four races where there are Republican candidates are all quite improbable. Jamie Daniel is the only one that could be called a credible candidate and he stands, frankly, no chance of winning.

The truth is that there are no high profile races on this ballot. We have no senate race, no gubernatorial race, no presidential race, in fact no statewide partisan race at all. Even our congressional district race is absurdly non-competitive. Just as an experiment, let me ask you this: Who is running against Congressman David Price this fall? I didn't know until I looked just now and frankly I have already forgotten the name again. Oh, here it is again: Steve Acuff. That's him alright.



Joe, all ties in the Senate are broken by the President of the Senate who by the Constitution is the Vice President of the United States. There have already been articles about the impact of another "Cheney Senate." On a practical basis, the impact is on the way the committees operate when their is no majority of members. In effect, they will have to bargin everything in committee but tied floor votes will then be broken by Cheney.

Historically, votes have been cast by vice presidents on 243 occasions since the First Congress. Vice President John Adams cast 29 tie-breaking votes, more than any other vice president. VP Cheney has done seven to date.

Here's info from the US Senate wegsite on what happened in the 107th Congress:
"From January 3 to January 20, 2001, with the Senate divided evenly between the two parties, the Democrats held the majority due to the deciding vote of outgoing Democratic Vice President Al Gore. Senator Thomas A. Daschle served as majority leader at that time. Beginning on January 20, 2001, Republican Vice President Richard Cheney held the deciding vote, giving the majority to the Republicans. Senator Trent Lott resumed his position as majority leader on that date. On May 24, 2001, Senator James Jeffords of Vermont announced his switch from Republican to Independent status, effective June 6, 2001. Jeffords announced that he would caucus with the Democrats, giving the Democrats a one-seat advantage, changing control of the Senate from the Republicans back to the Democrats. Senator Thomas A. Daschle again became majority leader on June 6, 2001. Senator Paul D. Wellstone (D-MN) died on October 25, 2002, and Independent Dean Barkley was appointed to fill the vacancy. The November 5, 2002 election brought to office elected Senator James Talent (R-MO), replacing appointed Senator Jean Carnahan (D-MO), shifting balance once again to the Republicans -- but no reorganization was completed at that time since the Senate was out of session."

While off-topic, I have a question that probably interests
everyone here and maybe some policy wonks know the

In Connecticut, Joe Lieberman is running for U.S. Senate
as an independent
but says that if he wins, he will caucus with the Democrats.
What exactly does that mean with regard to choosing
committee chairmen for the senate? If the senate membership should fall Republicans 50, Dems 49, and Liberman, what happens? What if there is a 50-50 tie?

It seems to me that this is a question that Connecticut
voters ought to be asking now, before the election.

The Orange County Democratic Party crossed lines to endorse Martin.

Mark Kleinschmidt also has a good write up and endorsements for the election on his blog-

well the people who have to vote early or want to vote early cant stick there nose in the indy so thanks mark chilton

Good idea, Tom. That Rachel Lea Hunter is quite a charcter!

More thanks for writing this, Mark. If not for your advice I'd be stuck with just the Indy endorsements in these judicial races.

Thanks for posting this, Mark. As usual your endorsements in the statewide judicial races are very much on the mark, and I hope people will follow them as early voting opens in Chapel Hill and Carrboro this week.

I wish we could do write ins in the Hunter-Martin race. I'd cast my vote for Mark Kleinschmidt, who would be the best state Supreme Court judge ever!


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