Show us you're smart

We're just four days out from the election now, so I'd be interested to hear some predictions on a couple fronts:

Obviously the most intense race locally is the well funded Superior Court race between incumbents Carl Fox and Allen Baddour, and challengers Chuck Anderson and Adam Stein.

-One thing I'll be watching with interest Tuesday night is Carl Fox's performance. During both the primary and the general, Fox has run the lowest profile campaign of the contenders. In the primary he finished first by a large margin nonetheless, likely owing to his name recognition and magnetic personality.

But that was the primary, and the wider electorate in the general is less likely to be familiar with Fox's record and personality. I think he'll probably still finish first, but by a much smaller margin, at least percentage-wise, than in the spring.

-I think the breakdown of the vote between Orange and Chatham Counties could also play a large factor in determining the results. In November 2004, Orange County cast 72% of the votes between the two counties. But in the primary, the hot Chatham Commissioner primary brought out so many people relative to Orange County that the OC cast only 51% of the primary vote.

Why does this matter? Adam Stein finished well ahead of Anderson and Baddour in Orange County, but trailed them by a significant (although lesser) margin in Chatham County.

This would seem to indicate that the greater turnout is in Orange relative to Chatham, the greater Stein's chances are, and vice versa.

It's hard to say how that will play out. Both counties have redistricting referendums, but Chatham's is much hotter than Orange's. Also the 72% figure in 2004 for Orange County owed a lot to student votes, which figure to be comparatively few and far between this fall. Guess we'll see...

Anyway, I think all the candidates have run strong campaigns this fall. I'm not making any predictions on the outcome, but I'd be interested to hear yours.
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I'll also be interested to see how much of an impact the late breaking anti-Mike Nelson campaign has in the BOCC race. Clearly Nelson will win and by a significant margin, but will he finish well behind fellow Democrats Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs?

In the 2004 general election, Moses Carey finished about 3,400 votes behind Val Foushee. This was likely due to residual opposition by the nomerger movement. That wasn't nearly as strong a factor in this year's primary, but Jamie Daniel (who I like on a personal level) seems to be waving the bloody shirt of merger to pick up some votes this fall.

Lingering annexation resentment is another factor that could hurt Mike this fall, although I was surprised in the primary that his performance in the Coles Store precinct, where annexees still voted then was not that bad.

I don't think there are ten voters who will really vote against Mike for raising a lot of money from out of county LGBT activists, nor do I think Robin Cutson writing a letter to the editor criticizing his environmental credentials is going to carry much weight with anyone.

I think Mike will probably finish a few thousand votes back like Moses did because of the merger suspicion, but comfortably win.

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Anyway, I guess I should be most interested in what Fred Black thinks since he picked the election results perfectly last fall, but consider this a pre-election open thread. What's going on out there, have you voted yet, have you had any interesting experiences, what do you think's going to happen?

Issues: 

Total votes: 174

Comments

For what it's worth (probably not much), here is the final tabulation including tomorrow's paper of the number of letters to the editor in the Chapel Hill News for each candidate during the last four weeks.

In the BOCC race:

Alice Gordon 6
Mike Nelson 3
Barry Jacobs 3
Jamie Daniel 3

In the Superior Court Race:

Adam Stein 27
Chuck Anderson 17
Allen Baddour 8 (but coming on strong at the end)
Carl Fox 1

OP'ers Duncan Murrell and Dan Coleman each have nice letters in tomorrow's paper, on behalf of Baddour and Stein respectively.

The Indy did a nice job of explaining this issue in its endorsement of Adam last week:

"Both (Anderson and Baddour) have tried to make a case against Stein by pointing out that he's now 69 years old and under state law will have to retire when he turns 72, which means he'll be able to serve less than three years of the eight-year term if elected. Then, the governor would appoint a replacement and the position would go on the 2010 ballot. Stein responds by pointing out that he can become a retired recall judge and be used to fill in anywhere in the region or the state or be given special assignments. Though there are no guarantees, the state's Administrative Office of the Courts confirms there are several such retired Superior Court judges working full-time right now, and that if a retired judge wants to work, is mentally and physically capable, has a needed expertise or is in a geographic area that can use the help, there's plenty of work to do. And as the Triangle grows, an AOC spokesman says, the need for such judges is growing with it."

Anyone who has been around or talked to Adam much knows he's going to be sharp for many years to come.

Terri, because he will reach the mandatory retirement age in 2.5 years or so. At that point he'll have to become a Special Recalled Judge - ie basically a part-time judge who will be on-call.

Can someone point me to an explanation for "can't serve the term for which he is running"? I've heard this over and over again but don't remember why.

Thanks.

"p.s. Just a reminder: Adam Stein can't serve the term for which he is running, and that should be a minimum qualification for any candidate running for any office."

If that was the case, the General Assembly could have set the retirement age by disqualifying any person who will reach that age during the term.

Here are the early voting totals for Orange County:

Chapel Hill 2,791
Carrboro 2,109
Hillsborough 1,881
Total 6,781

O, and I should give kudos to BOE Director Barry Garner for getting them out so quickly. Should be a good sign for the future as he begins his tenure in Orange County.

Baddour and Stein:

I don't see anyone else as qualified... and Baddour has that 60s jingle happening; it's so corny it's great.

p.s. Just a reminder: Adam Stein can't serve the term for which he is running, and that should be a minimum qualification for any candidate running for any office. I can think of no other political office for which we, as voters, would vote for a candidate who couldn't serve the term of the office for which he was running. Mr. Stein's understanding of his possible role as a retired recalled judge, which he _might_ become at the end of 2 1/2 years of the 8-year term, has been consistently off. I am certain that, if elected, after his quick retirement Mr. Stein will serve little if any time on any bench in any court in North Carolina. I'm so certain, in fact, that I make this pledge (which I'll also make in a more public forum after the election):

If Adam Stein wins this election, and then goes on to retire with 5 1/2 years left in his term, I will give $100 to the charity of his choice for each session of court in District 15B that he's appointed and commissioned for, and $50 for each session elsewhere in the state.

I am not a rich person, but I don't expect to have to spend much money. Plus, I'm happy to give money to a good cause.

My bet is on Fox and Baddour, the incumbents. Fox will lead in both countie, but not by nearly the percentage he had in the primary. Baddour and Stein will split in Orange County, and in Chatham County (where two very active GOTV operations are going on for the very contentious districting referendum, which has become a skirmish in the culture war and will draw out many people who did not -- or could not -- vote in the Democratic primary) it will be Baddour and Anderson splitting. If those two things happen, or come even close to happening, Baddour wins.

Remember: Joe Buckner won his seat on the district court bench, even though Pat Devine beat him soundly in Orange County, because of the Chatham County vote. There are many more votes in Chatham County now, and there's more in contention on the Chatham County ballot to draw voters out.

I agree that a discussion of campaign spending will not impact Mike's supporters, but according to some new research out of Stanford, negative campaigning could well impact the number of undecided voters who go to the polls. With the judges race being so confusing to anyone who isn't a political junky, campaign spending questions, and the attempts to resurrect the merger issue, we could see even fewer votes cast than usual--if this study is predictive.

Here's a news report on the study:
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/elections/1592320...

I don't think that anyone inclined to support Mike will decide not to because of his fundraising, certainly not considering the alternative. Thus, I think that among progressives, who care about campaign spending and about most of the planks that Mike stands on in this campaign, this open discussion is well worth having.

Will,

I know that both the Stein and Baddour campaigns turned their reports in on time, by the state deadline. (The other two may have, also, even if Anderson's isn't posted yet. In the past there have been unexplained delays of days -- up to a week -- between submission and posting.)

Having watched one of those treasurers spend much of the time between the 21st and the 29th, three hours a night, getting everything straight and legal using the BOE's !@#$%&* software, I'm not sure how much quicker it could have been done without updating the software and making it more user friendly.

d

Well now that Fred's weighed in I feel much better about Adam's chances :)

I am having trouble tracking down the final comparative early voting numbers for the two counties. I know that the sites in Hillsborough and Pittsboro ended up with similar numbers (a little under 2,000). The Chatham BOE told me they wouldn't have a final count until Monday for the county as a whole.

In the primary, more than twice as many people voted early in Chatham compared to Orange.

It's always interesting to try to read the tea leaves on what a small (sadly, I think it wii be a small turnout) group of voters will do in an election, but here's the picks from my ballot:

No Brainers - Insko, Woodall, Stanford, Pearson and Buckner.

Winners in a "Contest:" Price, and Kinnaird; and Jacobs, Gordon & Nelson in that order; and Pendergrass.

As to our Superior Court race that has mailed out a lot of stuff and left plenty of messages, I say Fox and Stein.

For the Soil and Water District, a topic that has escaped me since I earned the Soil & Water Conservation Merit Badge in Washington State 47 years ago, I'll go out on the limb and say in order, Snipes and Hogan, but I have no reason why.

The Referendum will pass.

Howdy, all. Two separate comments:

(1) Mike Nelson's widely admired by GLBT and progressive folks around the state for his record of service. In addition, speaking as a gay guy, it's also a hugely big deal when a gay person is elected anywhere in North Carolina. Up to now, there have been only five GLBT people ever elected to ANY public office in our state, and four of them were in Chapel Hill and Carrboro: Joe Herzenberg, Mike Nelson, Gloria Faley, and Mark Kleinschmidt. There has only ever been one GLBT person elected a county commissioner, and only one ever elected a state lawmaker: in both instances, Julia Boseman. Even progressive Durham County has never elected an openly gay person to any office. So Mike's out-of-county fundraising appeal makes perfect sense.

I'm a tad worried, though, about this giving ammo to people looking for an excuse to vote against Mike. Add this to confirmed homophobes, plus development interests, anti-taxers who view Carrboro with scorn, people angry about the annexation, folks still upset by symbolic issues (such as the "Buy French" resolution and/or the swastikas-and-stripes painting), and middle-of-the-road straight suburbanites who are against same-sex marriage (which is irrelevant to a BOCC race, but that often won't matter), and you have an "ABM" vote (Anybody But Mike) for the Republicans to exploit.

I hope all of Mike's campaign money will be used effectively in the next few days to counter any "ABM" effort, and to turn out the pro-Mike vote. I would not save it for future endeavors, will all respect to the folks who've suggested this.

(2) On a separate topic, this is the dawning of the age of the Judicial Robo-call. On Thursday I got a robo-message from Judge Allen Baddour; a perfectly nice, positive plug for his retention, but a robo-call nonetheless. Now, this afternoon, I got a robo-call from Congressman Mel Watt (who's a good guy but doesn't represent any portion of our judicial district), endorsing Adam Stein's candidacy.

With all due props to NCCVE, Democracy N.C. and the other groups that brought about non-partisan judicial elections, I'd really like to go a step further and move us, like a plurality of states, to a merit-retention system, in which merit-appointed judges run on their records, subject to a periodic "yes-no" retention vote.

Thanks for listening,
Mark H.

I want to agree with two of Mark K's points above.

First, it is clear that, for all the support GLBT candidates receive in this county, statements like Daniels' reference to “a life style group” show that we (meaning the GLBT community and its supporters) still have work to do, consciousness to raise, and campaigns to be won.

Second, that it can be important to those engaged in a national struggle to support efforts that may lead to a victory even if they are in other jurisdictions. Thus, last summer I sent my paltry $15 to Ned Lamont even though a) he hardly needs my money, and b) generally speaking, I agree with Mark Peters about keeping funding for campaign local (it is arguably somewhat different when the race is for a state or national office). The point is that Lamont's was a high profile campaign in the struggle to turn the tide against Bush administration policy, a struggle that I certainly try to be a part of.

That said, I want to return to Will's point about the possibility that Mike's campaign funds might have been better used elsewhere. Over the past several years, through my business, I have worked with dozens of GLBT rights and related organizations across the country. Many of these groups, particularly in 2004, were engaged in pitch battles against the anti-gay agenda of far right. In some states, there were ballot initiatives that would codify homophobia in the state constitution.

The point is that many of these were groups that were and are sorely in of funds for campaigns where victory might be possible but was far from certain. By contrast, I don't think I am over-interpreting the long-standing and strong support for Mike, Mark, and Joe Herzenberg (who finished in first place in Chapel Hill 15 years ago) to say that Mike could win the County Commission race based on his track record as mayor, his stance on the issues, and with the financial support available within Orange County.

While I am certainly not in a position to second-guess Mike's campaign strategy, it does seem that if it were possible to redirect even 10% of his campaign contributions to a fund that could send him and Mark to speaking engagements around the state that he would still be easily elected and would be putting some of the funds targeted toward GLBT success to a more effective use.

That, of course, is only one of many possible alternatives and one that I want to acknowledge derives from a perspective outside the GLBT community itself. I also want to acknowledge that it is a rare candidate who does not take full advantage of his or her fund-raising capability… but we've had a few of those in Orange County in recent years, two of whom, perhaps, are posting to this thread.

No doubt Nelson will run several thousand votes behind Jacobs and Gordon, in that order, I think, but it will be close. But he wil run far ahead of Daniels. But Daniels will the 12 northern Orange precincts overall, with Jacobs a close second.

All the other partisan races will also go Democrat easily, so this election is kind of a yawner. The Superior Court race is interesting, but they're all good candidates, all Democrats; I'm still not sure who I will pick (Fox likely, probably Anderson, but I think Fox and Stein will win).

The state-wide judges are very important and the Democratic Party is working hard to educate our voters on the fact that these races are now non-partisan, which is still not widely known, and who we endorsed. We have a great group of Democrat judges, Parker, Timmons-Goodson, Hudson, Stephens and Hunter.

Robin Cutson, you sought the Democrat nomination for commissioner and also participated in our platform and resolutions committee, where your pet ideas were given a full hearing, as you know.

You lost. Now you endorse a Republican over a candidate easily nominated by your fellow Democrats, someone who at least competant and at best much more than competant. Nelson has held elective office for 12 years, 10 years as a Mayor, not an easy job. You may not like all his issue positions, but you can't deny he is well qualified.

Nelson got a vote from well over half of the Democrats who voted in the primary. Does the opinion of a strong majority of your fellow party members mean nothing to you?

If you want to vote for Daniel, fine, but don't campaign for him.

Maybe LGBT people in other areas of the community donated to Mike because they actually know him and support his political outlook, rather than simply because he's gay.

should read "other areas of the country"

These monies come from people who are very active in their local communities. They contribute there as well. Unfortunately a GLBT running for office and being elected becomes big news because despite their efforts, they can't get anyone elected at home. This is why, as I said on my blog, Julia Boseman, Mike and I are contacted by people across the state when they have problems in their own communities. I think you underestimate the value it has to these contributors and the larger community they represent.

Just because it's easier here than in other places to overcome prejudice, please know that this isn't a prejudice free zone. I commented on that in the post Mark P cites above. Contributors make a real difference by supporting candidates who can get elected, not just run -- which is all they can do in many of the towns where contributors live. The Victory Fund's efforts to help get more GLBTs elected has been a painfully slow process for them, especially in the current political climate.

I don't know what Mike plans to do with left over money, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't redistribute much of it over the next few years to other candidates as you suggest. As you know there are new significant limitation to what a candidate can do with money left over from a campaign. But it's not left over until the race is over.

Will--the only N&O article I referenced was the one on Citizens for Higher Education: http://www.newsobserver.com/161/story/506275.html

BTW, Superior Court candidate Anderson's 3rd quarter report is still not available on the SBOE site.

Baddour and Stein, though raising some big monies, get some props for getting their information out there in an almost timely fashion. FredB was right -would've been better to hit Oct. 21st - on the heels of the polls opening - but they at least got the info out in time for some analysis.

As far as analysis of all the $$$ in this year's election - does anyone else think the MSM (mainstream media) fell short? There's reporting - but analysis? I've gotten more detail off BlueNC than the N&O.

Whoops! Here's the correct N&O link.

Here's a small snippet from the article Terri cited in today's N&O

HILLSBOROUGH - Former Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson leads Orange County commissioner candidates in fundraising, having pulled in more than $34,000 in donations, much of it from donors outside the county.

The next-highest fundraiser, commissioners' Chairman Barry Jacobs, has raised just over $16,000......

....Gordon has raised about $8,600; Daniel, about $1,700, according to campaign finance reports.

Nelson, who is gay, has raised much of his money from the state's gay and lesbian community, holding fundraisers in both Charlotte and Wilmington. Nearly half of his total contributions -- about $16,000 -- are from out-of-county donors who gave more than $100, including a $4,000 donation from the Washington-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Did Barry feel compelled to raise what I believe is a record of $16K because of Mike? Are these guys building some kind of war-chest for future runs?

Thanks Terri.

Also, I obviously meant to write "WORD lifestyle." not "work" in my last post.

Thanks Mark, Mark and Terri for your comments.

Mark K., we know that the BOE process isn't the most timely - which impacts transparency - something, right now, only voluntary efforts by the candidates can resolve.

Promoting minority voices - short of "drawing lines" - would seem to be always good, yet MarkP provides an interesting example where the "minority voice" is that of Haliburton. Kind of an Astroturf candidate.

It means, like most things, there's a judgment call involved. GLBT sponsored candidate promoting wider diversity - good. Raleigh real-estate agent puppet - bad.

A few things occur to me, though, involving the amount and target of these monies.

First, shouldn't Mike have redirected the contributor's attention and money spigot towards other worthwhile candidates when he reached some amount - maybe %120 of the historical high or %150 of the other candidates known resources or some other "reasonable" sum.

Second, isn't it possible these monies, channeled to a non-GLBT candidate that's sympathetic to GLBT issues somewhere else within the state would be a more effective in promoting a greater end result?

Which leads to my final point, isn't this a bit like bringing "coals to Newcastle"? This community doesn't present the difficulties other NC communities might. This incredible support from a range of contributors, again, could've made a real difference in those communities.

Who said they don't care about local issues? Just because they don't have a position on merger doesn't mean they don't care about other issues, but I understand that for you and many it is the only issue. Perhaps the god-like editor can remove the "just" in my post above when the editor adjusts your paraphrasing.

Having an openly gay commissioner is a local issue. But it also happens to be a state issue and a national issue to many people including the Victory Fund. GLBT people's interest in having a voice that can be leveraged to effect issues beyond the jurisidiction doesn't exclude the impact the same voice has on how local issues are decided.

In today's paper Mr. Daniels says "Because this is a lifestyle group, we're supposed to accept the amount of money involved," he said. "If this was big oil or Halliburton, people would be screaming at the top of their lungs. ... There is the perception in the county that the election is being bought and paid for by people who do not have a vested interest in this county."

Mr. Daniels, you can scream all you want to about it. So much of your comment misses the mark that it makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. We could just stop at the work "lifestyle." But as I've said before, it matters where it's coming from. Here there's been no attempt to hide sources of income. The influence the funds could have is limited and transparent. Visit Victory's website they're right up front about it. They couldn't be clearer as to why they give money to candidates. Halliburton and even the Home Builders aren't as transparent as they are.

So go ahead and say it -- it doesn't matter to you whether a gay person is elected. Fine. It does matter to many people both in and out of the county. It would matter to me if big oil was pumping cash into your campaign, but they would not be as transparent as to say on their website that they do so because they want to stop Orange County from using alternative energy sources for carrying out government functions. And that's why it's different.

Mark K,

Thanks for the very thoughtful response you gave me on your blog. Like Will and others, I have major concerns with the amount of money in politics today. Just this morning the N&O is reporting on the outlandish sums being donated from the Citizens for Higher Education. As a policy maker, you know that it's hard to make policies or general consensus ethic guidelines that protect against misuse without penalizing those who have solid reasons for going against those guidelines. That's the issue I am seeing here.

The GLBT community naturally wants more elected officials representing their issues and concerns (although I think we should all want that). But is there another way to express their support other than financial contributions? Or could those out-of-county contributions be redistributed to gay candidates in other jurisdictions? It's a tough situation and I hate seeing it used against either Mike or any other GLBT candidate.

As for the school merger issue, I am appalled. Is there even a campaign debate among the BOCC candidates in Orange County this month? Not that I've seen and trying to generate one on the basis of merger is just plain old divisive and desperate. As I just wrote on STP, if anyone wants to oppose Mike on annexation, environmental issues, or economic development--go for it. But to raise the overly emotional issue of merger is just flat out repulsive.

What I find even more disgusting is to misuse the concept of funding equity as code for merger. Promoting inequity is beneath anyone in this county.

I agree that there are differences in sources of contributions and I commented on your cited blog entry to this effect. On your point of these PACs not caring about merger, you make the point that these organizations don't care about the local issues. That is the problem. I am okay with some startup money from them, but not in amounts that dwarf other candidate's complete campaign budgets (or maybe even all of them added together).

I was merely trying to recap the question of why people may have concerns about Mike's position on merger. I hope and somewhat believe myself that he is being honest.

I apologize for not making the paraphrase more clear. Thanks for pointing that out. I would edit it, but only the god-like folks can edit posts here. The plebes' comments are set in stone.

So what? Mike respects the fact that reasonable people have concerns about equity issues as related to school funding issues. They certainly have concerns that need to be addressed. Don't they? It seems that you believe that if Mike acknowledges this, that he must want to send your children to school at Orange Co. HS. He's clearly sympathetic to their concerns. But that doesn't mean he's committed to merger! Rather it seems that he wants to make sure that everyone's interests are considered in devising a solution. An honorable position to take, I think.

And why don't you go ahead and say who the the out of state PAC is? Because it certainly is relevant. I have commentary on this subject here
http://kleinschmidt2005.blogspot.com/2006/04/sniping-for-sake-of-sniping...

It does matter who the money is coming from. If you're Bunky Morgan and the money is coming from Wake County developers, well, there's a clear problem. If you're Ed Harrison and your parents from out of town make a significant contribution to your campaign, well that just meansthat Ed's parents love him. If you're one of only 5 openly gay people elected to office in NC history, and the Victory Fund makes a contribution to your campaign, what does that mean? It MEANS, that gay people are hoping you'll get elected and that you'll be one of the 500 or so openly gay elected people in the whole country they can turn to for leadership. (By the way, there are only approximately 500,000 elected people in the country). Do the math. It doesn't mean they are lobbying for merger of the school systems. I honestly don't think the Victory Fund cares if the OC and CH-Carrboro schools merge. Rather it means GLBT people might have a voice that can be leveraged to assist a nationally marginalized political group. That's all it means. If you have a problem with that then address it directly. Don't NOT name the group and have people imagine that the Victory Fund is some kind of out-of-state group that has evil designs on influencing Orange County public policy beyond their stated goal of ensuring GLBT people have a voice at the table.

None of this should be interpreted to mean that I don't think that the source of campaign funds shouldn't be questioned, but when the source is known and the limit of their influence is clear, it's time for the people to decide. I don't believe it's appropriate to NOT name the source and argue school merger or any other issue are connected (that the candidate has had a clear position on since the beginning of the campaign) so that people might believe that the source of the money and the issue are in any way connected.

Also, Mark P appears to quote a Mike Nelson press release. Is that a quote from one of his press releases? Is it a paraphrase? I honestly don't know. I don't remember the release. If it's not an actual quote, it shouldn't be placed in quotes and attributed as the words of the candidate.

Folks should be concerned when a candidate for a county commissioner race brings in significantly more from out of county than in county. Even more troubling are large direct donations from out of state PACs. Both are unprecedented. And even more troubling is the dereliction of duty by the press, who has not researched nor reported on this.

To add to Will's comments on the topic of merger, Mr. Nelson's initial press release basically read to many as "either tax the OCS district equally or merge the districts". Considering that many perceive the OCS majority as being against such taxation as well as for local control (ie - against folks from CH/C telling them what their taxation should be), this perhaps lead them to draw conclusions on his position. I shared this concern with Mr. Nelson during the primary race but saw no change in his position. Add to this the heavy qualification of his positions, the grossly erroneous and unattributed school funding figures on his blog, and the fact that staunch pro-merger folks reportedly worked the polls for Mr. Nelson during the primary election, and it is no wonder that there is concern by many regarding Mr. Nelson's position on merger.

I listened to Jamie Daniel's ESP interview podcast last week and it is clear that he is positioning himself as a candidate opposed to merger and against new school taxation options. I don't recall that he positioned it in relation to any of the other candidates. He also stated in the interview that he has only placed the new signs and has no idea where the old signs came from. I listened to all of the candidate interviews (except Alice Gordon's where they had technical difficulties and Mike Nelson's because he was the only candidate who chose not to participate) and I only share this information because it was discussed above.

Do I smell an elephant in the room?

BTW, Carl Fox's campaign report is in here [PDF].

Summary report has:

$30,992 raised, $2825 this period. $27,952 spent, $1780 this period.

Judge Anderson's aren't online yet...

Why should any school options be "off the table" anyway?

Mark, pledging not to be an advocate and pledging not to support an issue is two separate things... I think that's the gap folks are filling with speculation.

Oh come on. Mike's not a merger advocate and that's that.

Thank you Mark! I've wondered why the local papers have been willing to print letters saying Mike's pro-merger when he has never said that.

Ruby, with districting I think more than the endorsements will be the way the referendum is written: expansion to seven followed by a ton of gobbly-gook. I think folks like the expansion - I know that I do - and will blip over the districting not realizing that's pretty much the end of any BOCC motivation to do real reform.

Smart move to conflate the two...

The only anti-Mike letter from someone outside the NTA that I can think of was from Robin Cutson.

As I said, it's not much of an anti-Mike campaign, but there have been four or five nasty letters about him and that's more than there's been about anyone else.

I'm also not aware of any concerted anti-Mike campaign other than folks who already disagreed with him politically. All the same I hope he does have a strong showing to get those folks to pipe down already.

I think Fox will come in a pretty strong first, and I don't have any other hints about what will happen in that race besides what happened in the primary. There aren't many reasons for the outcome to be much different than it was in May.

How about the Orange County districting proposal? It seems likely to pass, especially with the Indy's endorsement. It was a tough decision, but I ended up voting against it in hopes that the Commissioners will expand to 7 members anyway.

Thanks Tom. I thought Mike was pretty firm on the merger issue but on revisiting his statements this evening I'm a little confused.

I see from Mike's site he's said this on merger:

I think it's time we move beyond the divisive debate on merger and focus on the real issue: Are schoolchildren getting the resources they need? If there are gaps, where do they exists and how do we correct problems?

Here's my goal: increase the per pupil spending in the county system until it matches the city schools.

Closing the gap will take years. The gaps wasn't created over night and won't be closed over night either. But we owe it to the schoolchildren to fund both systems adequately.

That's a bit ambiguous, I guess, though on first reading I thought it meant merger was off the table. Re-reading it tonight I realize that one way to move beyond the divisive debate on merger would be to actually merge.

His response to the NoMerger folk seems much clearer, though embedded within is a possible timetable and loophole for reappearance:

Nelson - Clearly, the community is divided on the issue of merger. The commissioners have taken the issue off the table, and I expect it to remain so for the foreseeable future—perhaps permanently, unless the General Assembly forces Orange County to revisit the issue. I would not make or second a motion to get merger back on the table in the next 4 years.

Again, when I originally read that it seemed to mean merger "was off the table". On re-reading I realize that if you parse the sentence ("depends on what is 'is' "), you could stick with your pledge ot make or second a motion to get merger back on the table in the next 4 years by being the 3rd, 4th or 5th vote.

Did Mike make a less ambiguous statement somewhere?

As far as the money issue, like I said, it's just as much a concern as the Superior Court race - heck, maybe more considering that other candidates that had a tougher row to hoe might've been able to utilize the bucks more effectively.

I'm way behind on reading my LTE's. Was it exclusively NTA folks bashing him from residual AA ("annexation anger") or were there other critics?

Jamie's response to a News of Orange questionnaire shows there is a concerted attempt to exploit the merger issue:

What separates you from the other candidates?
I am the No Merger candidate. I am not in favor of Merging the school systems. I am not in favor of a County District Tax. The biggest difference between the other candidates and myself, is that I have raised all of my funds from people in Orange County. I will not allow anyone outside Orange County or outside the state to influence the lives of Orange County Citizens. I have raised the least money in this election, but at least it was money from hard working Orange County citizens. The people of Orange County should rest assured that I have no ulterior agenda, no sponsored viewpoints or positions that were paid for by an outside party. I represent the people of Orange County, because they have supported me.
_____________________________
There have been several negative letters to the editor from NTA residents about Mike.

It's not a big anti-Mike campaign, but there is some semblance of one.

Tom, what's the anti-Mike campaign?

Is the No Merger issue? I thought folks discounted Daniel's signs as cast-offs from last election - are you saying it's deliberate?

Or is it the money issue? Concerns about that, I believe, are quite legit.

Or is there something else in play that somehow I missed?

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