Soliciting rumors: Who's running in 2009?

Hey folks. Sorry for the interlude. I've been reading your comments, but between learning how to be a parent and starting to work again, I have not had much time to go to meetings or post on OP.

I can't help but notice on our calendar that the window for candidate filing is starting to sneak up. Any thoughts about who will be running for municipal and school board offices this year?



if you want to include the money spent on his victory party as "money spent to win the seat," I can't stop you.

Even if you disregard the victory party, he still outspent the next-highest spender over 2:1; more than all of the other winners put together.  If you want to avoid a discussion about what level of spending is appropriate in a municipal race, I can't stop you.

How much is incumbency worth? If there is going to be a real discussion about spending, there needs to be a full accounting of name recognition, not just cash.

If anyone has a formula for calculating the value of incumbency, please share.  Whatever that value is, it obviously wasn't enough in Cam Hill's case.  While I certainly don't discount the value of name recognition I still think CH voters put a lot more value on the candidates' positions.  On the other hand, perhaps I'm just an optimist.

If Matt Cz, the fiscal conservative, calculates the value of incumbency the same way he calculates how much to spend on a campaign party, then I bet the incumbency value is hefty.Also, incumbent Cam Hill lost, but his campaign was less than energetic. Which of these mattered most?

Of course, there won't be an incumbent in the Kleinschmidt vs. Czajkowski race (thank goodness it will not be a write-in contest).  Clearly you can't litterally put a dollar value on incumbency, but you could go back and look at what percentage of incumbents have been re-elected in CH Town Council races over the last couple of cycles.

In '99 Waldorf retained her seat as mayor and incumbent McClintock lost her Council seat, finishing in order behind Ward, Bateman (appointed incumbent), Strom and Evans (incumbent).In '01 no incumbent for mayor and Foy won 57% ahead of Pavao, Write-ins and Hill.  Wiggins, the only Council incumbent, finished first, ahead of Verkerk, Harrison, and Kleinschmidt.In '03 incumbent Foy won 93% of the vote and had no serious challengers.  Of the incumbents, Strom came in 2d and Ward 4th.  Newcomer Greene was 1st and Hill was 3d.In '05, Foy had a challenger and finished with 78% of the vote.  Newcomer Easthom finished 1st ahead of incumbents Kleinschmidt (2d) and Harrison (3d), and returnee Thorpe finished 4th. In '07 Foy garnered 70.10% against the same challengers as '05, Wolff and Write-ins.  Incumbents Ward, Greene and Strom finished ahead of newcomer Czajkowski, and incumbent Hill was fifth.Note that in these five elections only two incumbents lost and fresh challengers have finished first several times. 

Interesting data set. So in Council races (excluding the Mayor), incumbents lost twice and won ten times during that period (1999-2007).  However, the nine victories were distributed across six incumbents - to wit: Bateman, Strom (3 times), Evans, Ward (2 times), Kleinschmidt, Harrison & Greene.  So incumbency does seem to help, which is certainly consistent with national statistics.Perhaps it would be more interesting to look at the money that various candidates spent as challengers compared with the amounts they spent to get re-elected (or not).  However, I think it would not be all that meaningful to compare Julie's numbers because she was not purely a challenger in 1997.  And of course, she was first elected in about 1985, when dollars were notably more valuable and Chapel Hill was notably smaller.

which is not necessarily synonymous with incumbency. On the other hand, such a small percentage of voters vote in these elections that it may be that these are the most committed people and are likely to be paying attention to issues. That's why I think the generally "conservative" and "pro-business" candidates don't get usually more than a seat in any given election. Less to do with name recognition than what the informed citizens actually want.

I imagine some political science professor somewhere has done research on the benefits of incumbency in public-financing system compared with the benfits of incumbency in the private-donation system.I think you would find that the benefits of incumbency are naturally systemic.  That is, when things are going well or at least okay, voters generally tend to stick with candidates who have a proven record.  It probably has an effect on the election no matter what the financing system is.

Please note what I was responding to.  Why are comments on inaccurate statements such a problem?  Are not truth and accuracy valued?   I'll be more than happy to comment if you want to start a thread on spending and even the desire to limit freedom of speech in campaigns, if you want.

I do value accuracy.  That's why I provided the correct number.  Simply stating that Matt didn't spend 22k did not give any more of a correct idea of what he did spend, but it did come across like an attempt to diminish the anonymous commenter's question, which I still find to be completely valid.

Did he or did he not spend $20,416.60 to win a Council seat?  He didn't, so how can you say the "Wondering" by someone unwilling to identify himself or herself  is "completely valid" if the point of comparison is erroneous? It would be valid had they said, "Wondering if Matt C spent (the exact dollar amount)/(thousands)/(more than several candidates put together)/(a lot of money) on his council seat what he could possibly spend on a mayoral race, and a competitive one at that."

Out of curiosity, if you know the ~20 k number to be wrong, do you know what is the correct number? And a more general question from someone (me) who is not so familiar with local elections, what does one usually spend on local races?

:Czajkowski reported expenditures of $20,688.42 during a campaign that resulted in a narrow 63-vote victory over incumbent Cam Hill for the final available council seat. According to his report, $17,750 came out of Czajkowski's own pocket, including $5,979.17 for a December "victory party and fundraiser" at Chapel Hill restaurant La Residence. Czajkowski was candid about his expenses, calling the victory party tab in particular "a ridiculous amount" that fell short of his intention to "pay off some of my friggin' loan." Councilman Bill Strom spent $6,497.38, the second largest amount among a group that included four incumbents and three challengers. His expenses included $300 for an election night party hosted by incumbents at Crooks Corner and more than $90 for robocalls done by Public Policy Polling in Raleigh. Strom raised $9,380 during the campaign cycle. Incumbent Sally Greene raised $7,257.17 and spent $4,719.29, while Hill raised $5,465 and doled out $5,566.45. The one-term council member had money left over from his previous campaign. Challenger Penny Rich spent $3,905.44 after raising more than $4,300. Her election night celebration included $194.97 for a committee dinner at The Lantern and $106.75 for a reception at The Franklin Hotel. Will Raymond, a second-time challenger, spent $2,062 during the election cycle. He raised $3,282.77, which included a loan of $1,882 to his own campaign. Incumbent councilman Jim Ward pledged to raise and spend less than $3,000 and had not filed a report by Friday afternoon. Czajkowski spent more than Strom, Greene, Hill and Raymond combined. He said he knows some people will claim that he "bought the election" and argues that as a newcomer to the political process he had to "do everything we possibly could" to get his name and views out there. :

The 301.72 spent on election night went to my committee and friends who worked very hard through the campaign and especially election day at the polling places. I was honored that so many people were willing to help and knew that they wanted to be with me and my family on election night. I think it is very different than throwing a Victory Party for close to $6000. 2009 my committee is planning to utilize the "Voter Owned Elections". We have begun collecting the required 75 signatures. 

It sounds like a very honest way to go about campaign financing, and I'd be happy to pitch in a few bucks... where do we send the checks to get them to the Penny Rich for Town Council campaign?  (feel free to post the response, or shoot me an e-mail at  Also, my husband and I each want to send a check, but we share a checking account with both of our names on it.  If I send one, & he sends one each made out & signed in our own names, does that still count as two towards the requirement? I know about putting your phone number & birthdate on there, but I still wasn't sure if this counts as two people since its from the same account.  Is there a link to a FAQ & additional info on how this whole voter owned election system works, and if so can some post think link?  Thanks!

My campaign committee agrees with you. I will send the address to you e-mail address.Thanks 

I think that works as two different donations, Jake.  One helpful thing is also to cross out your husband's name (in the upper left corner) on the check that is signed by you.  That way the treasurer will not have to try to read your signature.  Your husband's check should be done the same way but reversed.

I think, when I was elected to the CHTC in 1991, I spent about $1,500 or so and came in fourth.  At re-election time in 1995, I spent about the same (or possibly a little more) and came in 2nd.  The expensive parts of campaigning locally are 1) newspaper advertising and 2) postage.  I don't know how much newspaper ads cost these days, but I think a half page in one issue of the local papers used to be about $500 or $600.  Postage is up to 41 cents for first class.  With the cost of printing etc., mailing can cost about 50 cents per piece of mail.  You can get that cost lower by doing bulk mail or that sort of thing, but bulk mailing is less reliable and still pretty expensive.  I have never relied on either of those (much) and that has helped keep costs way down on my campaigns.  But my style of campaigning is not for everyone, I realize.

Postage is up to 41 cents for first class

I would chime in and say 44 cents, but they'd probably up the rate again before my comment posted.  Mailing ain't cheap.  When I ran in '05, I tried to make up for what I couldn't afford to mail to by knocking on doors, and when that became too time consuming, by doing a literature drop by hand.  I'm not sure it was any more or less effective, but I did get an awful lot of exercise walking through Chapel Hill.

I spent $1028.26 on my successful 1973 CH town council campaign, and raised $1109.60. Not sure what I did with the surplus.  In 1975, I spent $2778.79 in my unsuccessful mayoral campaign, after raising $2782. Again, not sure what I did with the surplus. Sue me. I can't find my 1977 and 1979 files right now.For the 1973 campaign, I showed $69.70 spent on postage for 8 cent stamps.I bought 1000 envelopes, so I guess I mailed about 850 direct mail and fundraising pieces. I spent $205 for DTH ads, $60 for the Chapel Hill Weekly, $44 for WCHL, and $34.20 for ads in the ANVIL ( a then political weekly). My filing fee was $25.

were stamps ever that cheap? did that seem expensive at the time 8 cents?

8 cents seemed VERY expensive. I kicked in $325 of the total I raised, my largest contributors were my father and Scott Herman-Giddens who each donated $50. Smallest was Dan Pollitt who gave me 25 cents which I duly reported. 

was elected a couple of times spending less than $500. At least one election she came in first.

I understand that Sammy Slade ( announced today that he will run for the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. Other than Jacquie (who is in) I either don't know or don't remember what is up with the other two incumbents (Randee and John).

Sammy ??  This is great.  We have yet to hear from Randee and John. 

John Herrera announced tonight at the BOA meeting that he will not seek a third term.

I was happy to get a call from Sammy this afternoon letting me know that he was running.  I think he has a lot to add to the discussion in Carrboro and will make it an interesting race.

Great news!  I'm happy to hear that Sammy is running.  I look forward to hearing his ideas and platform.

Randee Haven-O'Donnell will run for a second term (see Herald article here).

So Gene, Penny Rich and incumbents Laurin Easthom, Ed Harrison and Jim Merritt have announced to date. That means that public financing for the Council is in play since there are now five candidates for four seats.

June 18, 2009 

Gene Pease Announces Running for Chapel Hill Town Council   

The next four years will be a critical time for the town of Chapel Hill as we face serious issues resulting from an unpredictable economic environment. This period will require the citizens of Chapel Hill to elect experienced common-sense leaders.  

For over a dozen years I served in various leadership positions in our community:  

  •  Board Member and President of my Neighborhood Association, 1998 to present. By working with the Town and the University, we changed the development ground rules so that neighborhoods surrounding campus receive better protection from UNC growth.
  • Planning Board member, 2004 – 2007.  I was catalyst for forming the Tree Protection Committee which has been instrumental in helping to draft a more comprehensive tree protection ordinance.
  • Horace Williams Citizens Committee, Vice-Chair, 2005 – 2006. We completed the final report which the Council adopted as the guiding principles for the development of the Carolina North property.
  • Citizens Budget & Finance Committee, Chair, 2004 – 2005. We assisted the Council in finding ways to keep a tax increase to a minimum.
  • Chapel Hill Public Library Foundation, President, 2006 – 2009. During this time we raised over $300,000 for our public library to purchase books, DVDs, and other materials.
  • Chapel Hill Public Library Building Committee member, 2006 – 2007. During this period we completed the plans for the library expansion.
  • OWASA, 2007 – 2009, Strategic Planning Committee Chair, Community Outreach Community Chair, Budget and Finance Committee member. The Board guided our water utility through the unsettling period of our last major drought.

Professionally, I have over twenty years experience with managing budgets through difficult economic cycles as the Chief Executive Officer of several privately held companies. 

These experiences have collectively prepared me to help guide Chapel Hill through uncertain, yet exciting times. Thus I am announcing my candidacy for the Chapel Hill Town Council.  

I believe the following major issues will be critical for our community in the next several years: 

  •  Fiscal Responsibility - Finding a better balance between essential town services and progressive social policies. I will not be using taxpayer’s dollars to finance this campaign.
  •  Thoughtful Growth - Managing responsible, aesthetic growth by revitalizing downtown, expanding the commercial tax base and infilling our transit corridors.
  •  Town Gown Relations – Partnering with the University for the community benefit as Carolina North and University Square’s development begins.
  •  Environmental Awareness - Continuing the Town’s stewardship of our environmental assets.

I am a local entrepreneur with deep roots in this community. My family has lived in Chapel Hill for the past thirteen years. My wife is active in the local arts community, my oldest daughter graduated from Chapel Hill High and UNC Chapel Hill, and my youngest graduated from East Chapel Hill.  

Chapel Hill is a very special place. I want to continue to work to make this an interesting, diverse, and stimulating place to live for everyone – whether you are a life-long resident, a newcomer or someone who has yet to call Chapel Hill home.  

Those I have worked with know my commitment & work ethic to the various Boards on which I have served. They know my ability and willingness to build consensus, work respectively with others, and provide strong leadership. They also know the strength and conviction I have that allows me to take an unpopular position when I believe it’s in the best interest of the town.  

I will be articulating these and other positions in the near future on my website 

Gene Pease

208 Glandon Drive

Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Cell 919-423-9556

Lisa Stuckey, current chair, will not seek re-election for a third term.  Jean Hamiliton will run for re-election.  No word yet on Greg McElveen, who holds the third seat in this election.

According to WCHL, she's going back to school to get a masters in social work, and wants to spend her time focusing on that instead of running for another term.

It makes a real difference when you leave out the word "not" from that sentence!

I will miss Lisa for her steady leadership and Jean for her willingness to ask tough, incisive questions.  So far no one has announced for this race.  While it's a tough time to be on the School Board (laying off staff and cutting into programs is really sad), there will be opportunities for the Board and staff to intensify our current efforts to take a district that is great for many students and make it excellent for all students.  For those who are really interested and concerned about all kids, it may be a rewarding place to devote some time. 

announced that he is running.



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.