A new twist in NC House GOP Leadership race (Oh, and there is an ObamaCare deadline FRIDAY)




Well, the election is over.  It looks like the NCGOP staff has gone on vacation, since the web site does not appear to have been updated since October 25.    Mayor Governor-elect Pat is in Vegas, and the “honorables” in the NCGA are already jockeying for leadership posts in the expanded House majority for next session.  Meanwhile, Friday is the day that the state has to inform the Feds about setting up the exchange for implementing ObamaCare.  No one on the right — except FreedomWorks and us — seems to care.

If the state would refuse to set up an exchange, it would really throw a monkeywrench into the implementation of ObamaCare. It would be delayed for some time — providing business owners and other taxpayers SOME relief.   It would be nice to hear NCGOP raising cain about the situation.  It would be nice to hear from Governor Pat or some of the GOP “honorables” on Jones Street calling for a refusal to establish an exchange.  It’s ultimately up to Lame-Duck Bev.  There is a case to be made for not setting up the exchange.  North Carolina’s voters sure cast a lot of ballots supporting people opposed to ObamaCare. 

But NO — we’re all focused on who is going to fill the speaker pro tem seat vacated by the retiring Dale Folwell, and whether or not the majority leader job will remain ONE POST or be divided into TWO.  It appears that Speaker Thom Tillis and his allies were trying to push through a slate that included Skip Stam going to speaker pro tem, and David Lewis and Ruth Samuelson taking the majority leader duties.

Word comes today that nine-term GOP legislator Edgar Starnes(R-Caldwell)  has his eyes on the majority leader prize.  I don’t know much about Starnes, since he comes from the other side of the state.  So, I did some checking.  He gave some pretty good answers on the 2011 candidate survey from Civitas.   Starnes earned a pretty solid conservative effectiveness rating from Civitas.  He’s worked with John Blust on some legislation — so THAT scores points with me.   (It also scores points with me that both Blue NC and the folks at Chris Fitzsimon’s group HATE Starnes.  They posted a video that shows Starnes sitting on the House floor flipping through a novel while some commie-lib is ranting about how important it is that the House pass socialized medicine.  They got mad about it.  I thought it was kind of funny.)

Judging from what I learned about Starnes, he doesn’t look like the kind of guy to champion reparations.  It will be fun to see how this plays out, and if any more new faces pop up in the leadership race.


4 thoughts on “A new twist in NC House GOP Leadership race (Oh, and there is an ObamaCare deadline FRIDAY)

  1. As a constitutional conservative, that believes in limit-government, I for one do not want Rep. Edgar Starnes leading the NC Republican House Caucus as Majority Leader. I know for people like me that there are few representatives that are to my standards of constitutional adherence, limited-government, free-market values but I believe we at least need representatives in leadership position that at least respect the foundational ideas of self-government through free and fair elections.

    As a citizen of Rep. Starnes’ district in Caldwell County, an advocate for free and equal elections with Free the Vote North Carolina and former candidate for the State House in Caldwell County, I can say that Rep. Starnes does not understand the importance and value of protecting “[the] right of voting for representatives…” what Thomas Paine said “is the primary right by which other rights are protected.” This all-important right is the one that ensure we have the hope of being able to elect representatives to positions within local, municipal, county, state and federal positions to make decisions for us that best represent our views as citizens. We may not in the end elect the exact person we think best for the job, but those in a given jurisdiction are able to decide who will represent the whole.

    However, too often the right to vote is simply thought of in terms of being able to appear at the polls, receive a ballot and cast a vote for those on the ballot, or simply the act of voting. However, voting is more than that, the right to vote entails the ability not only to vote, but the ability to make a free choice with as little government interference as feasibly possible by voting for the candidate of your choice regardless of political affiliation.

    As the US Supreme Court stated in 1968, “Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” Without the right to vote, the “primary right” as Paine called it, we cannot sufficiently protect our other freedoms, as it deprives us of our ability to choose who represents us, our primary method of effected government. It then strips us of self-government, while severely limiting our freedom of speech and our constitutional rights as outlined in the US and North Carolina State Constitutions.

    You ask how all this is related to Rep. Starnes now. Rep. Starnes is one of the single most adamantly anti-right-to-vote representative in the North Carolina General Assembly. How? North Carolina’s current ballot access laws, a set of laws that sadly few know about or tend to worry about, regulate who can appear on the official North Carolina election ballot by putting in place signature requirements that must be met to get on the ballot. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with requiring a candidate to petition to get on the ballot, or to require a filing fee, for the sheer purpose of ensuring smooth and problematic free elections that allow the people to vote and to vote effectively.

    However, this is not what North Carolina ballot access laws do. Instead, NC’s ballot access laws restrict voter choice in ways that only a few (possibly one) other states do, and effectively keeps all but the wealthiest candidates and political parties off of the election ballot, perpetuating the hold that moneyed individuals and parties have on our electoral system. At this time, no other state in the nation requires more signatures for a new political party or unaffiliated candidate for US Congress to get on the election ballot than North Carolina does, we are one of the top most restrictive states in the nation.

    All of this is a regulation and restriction on the individual’s right to vote effectively by denying them the free choice they deserve through preventing those alternative candidates from being able to appear on the election ballot. This in turn destroys the fundamental ideas of self-government by denying free speech and freedom of association, as well as unequal protection of the laws, and in the end denies those who disagree with the major parties in most cases their “primary right,” or the right to vote.

    I tell few people this, because of how blatant it was and how taken back I was from it. Just over a year ago, I was sitting in Rep. Starnes office advocating for legislation that would have greatly reduced the barriers to the right to vote in North Carolina. We talked about the various provisions of the bill and how it would bring North Carolina’s ballot laws close to, but still harder than, what they were for over fifty years back in the 1980s with no problems, and a number that is still more restrictive than what two-thirds of the rest of the states require.

    As I usually did when a Representative showed opposition to the bill, I appealed to their sense of the importance of free speech. I first asked Starnes if he believed that people should be able to vote for whomever they wish, to which he disagreed, but then I went a step further hoping to find some common ground. I asked him the simple question, “Do you support freedom of speech?” His answer still shocks me today, and made me take a mental step back while I sat there. His answer we a solid, resolute, “No.” There was no clarification, there was no, “Oh, by that I mean…” There was nothing but a simple, conclusive “No.”

    Beyond his lack of faith in the voters ability to choose for themselves, Starnes is also an opponent of encouraging the youth to vote, by pressing legislation that would take away the current incentives they have to registered to vote. He introduced legislation to ensure that the Republicans and Democrats always enjoyed the top two places on the election ballot, an all other would be below, something that studies have shown to help candidates receive more votes, obviously attempting to give undue benefit to his (our) Party.

    While Representative Starnes has fought for important conservative legislation such as pro-life bills like the Woman’s Right to Know and Ethen’s Law, his conservative record is not as shining as most think. He has a track record of supporting expansive new business regulations and economic incentives that dole out millions and overtime billions of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars in a way that is incompatible with the free-market. This is in no way the job producing free-market solution.

    However, the issue that Rep. Starnes fails on worst is that right that Thomas Paine calls “the primary right,” the right to vote. One of the major problems here is that Rep. Starnes misses the importance of this right, and shows a demonstrated lack of concern for the conscience and liberty of those he does not agree with. I believe that Thomas Jefferson was correct however when he stated, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others” for if we do not we put that same liberty of conscience four ourselves at high risk.

    While I do not necessarily have an official opinion on who should be the next Majority Leader, I urge the House Caucus to not select Rep. Starnes, but instead one of the other candidates, such as Rep. David Lewis who has been a great supporter of free speech and the right to vote.

  2. I have known Edgar Starnes for a long time and he is a heck of a lot better that what we have as ”leadership” now. Go, Edgar!

    As to ballot access, the Libertarians manage to get on, and we even had the Marxist cult, the US Labor Party, get on some years ago. I see no problem there.

  3. In response to Raphael, North Carolina has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country. We now require over 88,000 valid signitures to run for statewide office. The next closest state is around 50,000 and around 40 states require 20,000 or less signitures. Our sister State’s South Carolina and Virgina both require only 10,000. The only reason the libertarians made it was because they qulified back in 2008 when the requirement was some lower due to population and less people voting and the managed to poll 2% for governor the last 2 times.

  4. Rafael, you should consider the plight of our state in that all unaffiliated voters (currently over 1.7 million) can kiss any chance of running for various offices good bye. Depending on the seat, the number of signatures is abusive. That’s why you see almost no unaffiliated choices on your ballot. That penalizes the entire state citizenry on potentially powerful independent leadership rising to help save our state and nation,not to mention propagates power abuse you rail against constantly. Before becoming a cheerleader for these guys, take both a broader and deeper look. Ballot access is a HUGE issue that will only get more attention as the GOP attempts to jam picture voter ID through the General Assembly.

    In Liberty,
    Todd Bennett

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