The more things “change,” the more they stay THE SAME

sbeWe’re riding out 2013’s last gasps from The Haymaker’s Watauga County outpost.  I happened to catch a local news report about the Watauga board of elections’ two-front fight with the AppState-based liberal lynch mob and the state board of elections:

The State Board of Elections rejected the petition to oust Republicans Bill Aceto and Luke Eggers from the Watauga County Board of Elections at a meeting on Friday, according to the complainants and

Democrats Stella Anderson, Jesse Presnell and Ian O’Keefe filed the complaint with the State Board of Elections in October, alleging a variety of charges against Eggers and Aceto since the two were sworn into the board in the summer. Aceto filed a response two days later requesting a dismissal of the complaint and described it as “very partisan.”

In September, the local board all attended a hearing before the State Board of Elections in Raleigh to discuss polling locations. While the State Board of Elections upheld the elimination of an early voting site on Appalachian State University, the state board admonished the local board for ending up on YouTube.

Leading up to the meeting, SBOE General Counsel Don Wright noted that Friday’s meeting wouldn’t be an evidentiary hearing of the complaint but a review and discussion amongst the state board members.

On Friday, Chairman Josh Howard, a Republican, acknowledged that this wasn’t the first time issues emerged on the “still young board” and mentioned that “Watauga County citizens would be better served by choosing the first three names in the phone book rather than the current board” featuring Eggers, Aceto and Democrat Kathleen Campbell, according to the complainants present and a Twitter feed from WRAL reporter Mark Binker.

Wow. That’s some pretty haughty, snide commentary coming from someone who owes his entire professional career — including his current position — to his federal judge daddy’s political connections.

While ol’ Josh is busy raising questions about the competence and integrity of the Watauga County board, we are still waiting on the findings of an audit into state Senator Fletcher Hartsell’s campaign finances — which first went public in JANUARY. 

Oh, we almost forgot.  Democrat state board member Joshua Malcolm and Republican member Paul Foley will be traveling to Watauga County for an “intervention” with the local elections board.  No details yet on what that “intervention” will entail.

 Foley was the lawyer for the NCGOP under chairman Robin Hayes.  I wonder if his “intervention” tactics will be similar to those he used on eastern North Carolina grassroots folks complaining about Thom Tillis’ meddling in the region’s GOP primary elections? 

A friend of mine — who currently serves on a county election board here in North Carolina — and I were recently discussing Delma Blinson’s ordeal in Beaufort County.  My friend offered me some insider perspective on how things work in the world of elections oversight:

”The new board team in Raleigh called us all on the carpet earlier this year.  They explained to us that we were to have nothing but unanimous votes at the local level.  We were told that anything that had the slightest bit of controversy attached to it was to be forwarded to Raleigh. We were not to touch it.”

Ah.  The long-standing tradition of establishment, ruling class types making decisions behind closed doors for the rest of us out here in the hinterlands is alive and well.  Somewhere, Larry Leake is lurking in the shadows — laughing maniacally, 



5 thoughts on “The more things “change,” the more they stay THE SAME

  1. Nice to have you back from Christmas break, Haymaker! I’ll admit…some of us were jonesing out here.
    Yes the establishment Republicans are flexing their muscles and re-reading their press clippings. They had better be coming up with some b.s. excuse for when they are surprised at the polls. Who can they blame it on except themselves?
    Yes, let’s all take a look at campaign finance again closely.

    What IS going on with Hartsell’s investigation?
    What ever was DONE about Justin Burr’s purchases of appliances, rent and suits?
    Does ANYBODY know? The shadow does. The shadow is Kim Strach, wife of GOP legal team/mover/shaker Phil Strach.
    Anybody want to take a guess at what happens to investigations of Republicans under this setup?

    And now the Oklahoma Atty Gen has reminded us of what we all ‘forgot’….tens of thousands of criminal enterprise dollars from illegal gambling flowing to our elected officials and party. Anybody want to guess what will be done about that? If there IS any movement to do something, Phil Strach and his Ogletree Deakins law firm will earn another pretty penny off the back of the innocent taxpayers defending these clowns.

    Yes the more things change, the more they stay the same. Happy freakin new year.

  2. Thank you, Brant, for a very good year of good journalism mixed with insightful commentary.

    With regard to this piece, I say again that I have nothing but contempt for establishment Republicans who are no different from and actually in collaboration with their Dem “opponents”. It’s time the electorate wake up and throw all the rascals of both political parties out. Otherwise, we’ll just continue getting more of the same bs on and on without end. Those elites addicted to their power structures will lead us all to ruin.

  3. I think Foley was also NCGOP General Counsel when Chairman Tom Fetzer blatantly violated the State GOP Plan of Organization by publically endorsing the second place candidate in the 8th District Congressional primary runoff against the Tea Party oriented frontrunner, and looked the other way in that. Obviously he looks at things subjectively, not objectively.

    However it is Josh Howard who really takes the cake. He is a pompous, arrogant, self-important prick, and he seems to demonstrate those qualities every time he gets a chance. The Republican grassroots needs to demand that he not be reappointed to the SBOE. His comment about the first three names in the phone book on Wautauga County is just as outrageous and unacceptable as the kangaroo court he ran on Beaufort County. I did not know that he was Mac Howard’s son until I read it here, but maybe the party would be better off if he was like his father in politics – liking to hold titles but not doing anything with the positions. Mac Howard served several terms as 1st district chairman but never attended Central Committee meetings, and according to people in the district almost never called district executive committee meetings there. As a result, a spur of the moment challenge from vice chairman Patric Dorsey almost unseated Howard at a district convention, and the next time around, Mrs, Dorsey campaigned and soundly beat him.

    Perhaps most objectionable is this board’s desire to micromanage things in the counties by requiring unanimous votes, something they have no legal authority to do, and which gives an effective veto to the Democrat members. If they try to enforce that, it needs to be challenged in court.

    I guess this is the sort of crappy board appointments we get when a Rippon Society member like Robin Hayes is unilaterally making them.

    1. ” Mac Howard served several terms as 1st district chairman but never attended Central Committee meetings, and according to people in the district almost never called district executive committee meetings there”

      Not that there’s anything unique about that. The current 1st District Chair does a credible job of doing things by the rules and their ExComm meets regularly. Other districts like the 6th and 13th, on the other hand, have never had an ExComm meeting since their last Convention as their POO requires them to do. Well, the 13th, anyway. I’m not even sure if the 6th even has a POO.

      1. Actually, the 1st district has been a very active district since Patric Dorsey was chairman. The 3rd has also been long an active district, and the 11th also has a good record.

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