Senator Phil Berger had such promise at the time of the GOP takeover in Raleigh. There were flashes of him being the conservative strong man in our capital city. On several occasions, he was the voice of common sense against then-speaker Tillis and then-Gov. McCrory.
But, like anyone in political power for a long time, Berger began to get way too comfy. His agenda began to deviate from conservative transformation to building and securing a personal power base. “Trouble-makers” got leaned on in a rather heavy-handed manner. Pork got freely bandied about. Berger began fundraising from some sketchy characters. It was like he and lil’ Timmy were locked in some kind of macabre downhill competition.
Just before the general election, we brought you a story about Berger proudly and openly endorsing a Democrat judge who had GOP opposition. This was not a matter of a “conservative” Democrat battling a sketchy Republican. The Democrat had, um, sterling liberal credentials and the Republican’s CV looked quite conservative. The Republican had been serving as Rockingham County attorney. Berger’s son is chairman of the Rockingham County board of commissioners. So, this had all the markings of Daddy Berger intervening in one of his boys’ political scuffles.
We get lectures from Raleigh all the time about party loyalty. Holding your nose and voting for even the most foul-smelling RINOs. Yet, here we had a party leader backing a Democrat against a Republican in good standing.
Well, justice prevailed. The Republican candidate opposed by Berger won convincingly over the senator’s Democrat candidate.
There was another interesting note to Tuesday’s action in Rockingham County. A total of 9,442 write-in votes were cast against senator Berger. “Write-in” got nearly 15 percent of the vote against Berger (who got 85 percent).