Now, about Tuesday …

It’s been a closely held secret, but we DO have some voting on May 14.  Most all of us — eligible to vote in GOP primaries — have runoffs for state auditor and lieutenant governor to decide.  Voters in the vicinity of Raleigh-Durham have a congressional runoff for the 13th district.

State Auditor

Durham attorney Dave Boliek, Jr. and  legislative staffer Jack Clark are facing off in the auditor race. The winner gets to face appointed Democrat incumbent Jessica Holmes in November.

Dave Boliek, Jr. has worked as an attorney in Fayetteville and Durham.  He serves on the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.  Boliek was a longtime Democrat who switched to the GOP not long before he filed for the auditor race.  (Many of you may be familiar with his father, Dave Boliek, who served a while as an on-air reporter for ABC11 in Durham.)

Jack Clark is a CPA currently working in the North Carolina General Assembly.  He highlights his CPA status and contrasts it with Boliek’s lack of accounting experience.  Clark also highlights his longtime GOP ties and compares that record to Boliek’s recent arrival in the NCGOP.

Boliek has big money, a lot of flash, loads of TV ads and mailers, and many key endorsements from the political establishment.  (He was recruited to the race by a former top aide and close associate to senate president Phil Berger. That same aide and associate is also managing Boliek’s campaign.)

Clark is running a low-budget, vanilla campaign — the kind you might expect from an accountant.  This is almost a replay of the GOP gubernatorial primary – an establishment favorite loaded with cash and a great stage presence going up against a much more qualified, but much lower-budget and less flashy candidate.  You would hope that qualifications would win in the end, but style usually DOES.  

(You can look at the current state of the governor’s race to see a fine example of how voting based on style can blow up in your face down the road.)

It would be a pleasant surprise to see Clark prevail, but we believe this is Boliek’s to lose.

Lieutenant Governor

The lieutenant governor race features political consultant Hal Weatherman and Forsyth County district attorney Jim O’Neill.   This job used to have some influence.  But it has been seriously watered down since Republican Jim Gardner’s historic 1988 victory.  The lieutenant governor gets to preside over the state senate if the senate president says it’s OK. (That rarely happens.) Other than attend a few state board or commission meetings, there is not a whole heck of a lot else to do.

Hal Weatherman is best known as former lieutenant governor Dan Forest‘s chief of staff.  Many observers credit him with Forest’s shift from his passionately conservative campaign style to a more moderate, McCrory-like in-office modus operandi.  Weatherman passionately defended Forest’s relationship with businessman Eric Lindberg — who is currently being retried for an alleged effort to bribe the state’s insurance commissioner. 

Weatherman also gained notoriety for business ties to former congressman Madison Cawthorn and former congressional candidate Bo Hines.  He also was renowned for making speeches statewide favoring election integrity, but it is unclear if he had a hand in any anti-fraud activities beyond those speeches.

Jim O’Neill has run previously for attorney general.  He is current Forsyth County’s top prosecutor.  O’Neill recently won some positive coverage for moving to try a local student caught on video assaulting a teacher as an adult.

One concern about O’Neill has been his reputation as then-attorney general Roy Cooper’s favorite Republican.  O’Neill appeared in a photo op with Cooper as a token Republican criticizing GOP legislators’ proposals.

O’Neill has also been a longtime client of consultant Paul Shumaker – notorious for his work with Thom Tillis and the late Richard Morgan to de-conservative the state and national GOP.

Honestly, this is a job with no real power.  It becomes what you want it to be.  It can be a bully pulpit.  It can be a launch pad for future political aspirations.  We’ve got qualms about both candidates, but recommend a vote for Jim O’Neill.

13th US House District

As far as the 13th district goes, it’s not a done deal.  Top vote-getter Kelly Daughtry has suspended her campaign.  That left Brad Knott as the last candidate standing.

Knott supporters should not rest just yet.  Who knows how many early votes Daughtry has already racked up.  If Knott supporters assume the race is over, and don’t show up on Tuesday, Daughtry could STILL WIN. 

If you are a Knott supporter, you need to make sure you cast a vote for your guy before the polls close Tuesday night. 

It is SO important that everyone registered to  vote in GOP contests show up Tuesday.  Clearly, these are not the sexiest races of the 2024 campaign.  But the people you see on this year’s ballot COULD show up 4-6 years down the road on a ballot for a bigger office.  On Tuesday, you have a chance to put a stop to a mess that may haunt us for decades, or to get someone started on a path to greatness.

Most all of these people on the ballot have some influence on your money in the bank, your and your family’s physical safety, the quality of your health care, and the future of our state and country.  There are people throughout history who have shed blood for the right to vote. Why not respect their memories and sacrifices and DO IT?

There are people all over the world shedding blood and risking their lives for an opportunity to have free and fair elections.  We’ve got them. Do some research, take a few minutes, and go take a few minutes to exercise your freedom.  Go vote.