The 2024 race for state treasurer

With incumbent Dale Folwell‘s decision to pursue the GOP gubernatorial nomination, there are some BIG SHOES to fill over at the office of state treasurer in 2024.

Folwell has won accolades all around for his stewardship of the state pension plan and the state health plan.  He’s properly and fairly addressed the issue of monster-sized commissions being handed out to Wall-Street types by his predecessors.  He’s also taken steps to try and filter out leftist nonsense like ESG from the state’s investment strategy.  Folwell stirred up quite a fight with legislators and health care providers with his recent campaign to impose transparency on prices charged to the state health plan and its consumers by providers.  He stirred up even more of a ruckus by introducing competition to the health plan management process — leading to the ouster of longtime plan manager Blue Cross NC.

You can’t make everyone happy.  But — for the most part — the stakeholders in the health and pension plans (the retirees) appear to be pretty happy with the results of his tenure at the treasurer’s office.

The Democrats have a formidable candidate for this seat this year — state Rep. Wesley Harris of Mecklenburg County.  Harris has a PhD in Economics and has experience in academia as well as private economic consulting.

Despite all the warning Folwell gave about seeking higher office, state Republicans were caught rather flat-footed in planning for the post-Folwell era.  GOP activist AJ Daoud — at one point — appeared to be the only candidate for treasurer on the Republican side.  (Daoud is a funeral home operator by trade.)

Winston-Salem CPA Rachel Johnson — wife of former DPI superintendent Mark Johnson — made a late surprise entrance into the race.  

But the candidate that really got the Raleigh chattering class — folks like AI-generated cartoon character Dallas Woodhouse, for instance  — chattering was Chapel Hill resident Bradford Blaise Briner. 

Briner certainly wins an award for the most Republican-sounding name in the field for treasurer.  But what else do we know?

We were told Briner manages billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s money.  (Granted, he doesn’t do it all by himself.)  Briner apparently works for something called Willett Advisors – a firm established by Bloomberg in 2010.  

Willett is run by a guy named Steven Rattnerwho many may remember as Barack Obama’s leader of the federal bailout of Detroit’s auto industry.   Rattner is an outspoken advocate for investing in communist China.  He’s also a fan of investing in alternative energy as well as carbon taxes.  Rattner is apparently also a big fan of bigger social welfare benefits and tax increases. 

Herer’s Rattner on Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG).  ESG is basically a credit rating that evaluates and rewards individuals and companies on how well in-line they are with leftist political preferences.

*Silly me.  I thought profitability and shareholder return were what investing and investment management were ALL ABOUT.*

An investment manager making decisions about where to put your money based on how devout to the leftist gospel a company / organization is.  How comforting is THAT?

Back to Mr. Briner, though.  As we mentioned in another post, he’s been serving on the UNC Board of Trustees with Phil Berger advisor Jim Blaine. 

Briner is running for state treasurer as a Republican.  But, in 2020, he voted in the Democrat primary.  (According to state records, he hasn’t voted in a party primary since then.)

(Dallas Woodhouse has been on social media trying to compare Briner’s Democrat heritage with that of the late great Jesse Helms.  With Helms, it was a different era. It was a time when there really was a thing called a “conservative Democrat.”  And Helms had been on WRAL for quite a while telling the world just how he felt about stuff.  We don’t know ANYTHING about Briner or his world-view.  We do know how Michael Bloomberg and Steven Rattner view things.  And their views are troubling.) 

Once again — do your homework and ask questions before you vote.  In this race, you run the real risk of erasing eight years of really good work that’s been done in the state treasurer’s office.