It’s pretty clear, if you venture out into the hinterlands of Moore County, that state Rep. Jamie Boles (R) is in a tough fight for renomination to another term in the General Assembly. Retiring Southern Pines police chief Bob Temme has thrown down the gauntlet against Boles in the GOP primary, and he is making Boles work HARD for a return ticket to Raleigh.
Raleigh lobbying groups are forking out cash to protect Boles. House Speaker Tim Moore even pledged to come down to Moore County for a Boles fundraiser.
Last week, we got hit with a mailer– paid for by the Boles campaign — which repeatedly labeled Boles a “proven conservative” and suggested Temme was “a closet Democrat.”
Proven conservative, eh? Let’ s check the conservative ratings at Civitas Action, which the political class uses to measure who IS and IS NOT conservative in Raleigh. (A rating of 100 makes you a perfect conservative, while a zero rating makes you a perfect leftist.) From 2011 through 2019, here are Boles’s conservatism ratings: 91.7, 86.7, 81.5, 53.8, 70.4, 85.7, 69.2, 90 and 76.5.
Boles’s lifetime rating of 78.39 would earn him a gentleman’s C in school.
If you look at the small number of bills Boles has introduced, a significant number of them benefit the funeral industry. (Boles works as a funeral home owner and director.)
In this weekend’s edition of The Pilot, Boles and Temme went head-to-head and Temme actually came off as the conservative in the race:
[…] An issue of particular interest for veterans at a recent forum sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter in Southern Pines was the two candidates’ position on eliminating state taxes on their pensions. Both said they support doing that, but Temme was critical of the N.C. General Assembly for dragging its feet for so long and never passing anything.
The Bailey Act, which came as a result of a State Supreme Court decision, exempted the retirement benefits for federal, state and local government employees who were fully vested in 1989.
Boles said bills have been introduced going back to 2008 when he was first elected to eliminate taxes on all pensions but that legislation stalls in committees. He said when Republicans won majorities in the House and Senate in 2010, the General Assembly first had to wipe out a $3 billion budget deficit and rebuild its reserves. He said the GOP’s ultimate goal is eliminating state personal income taxes.
Temme countered that this is a prime example of one of his motivations to run for state House. He said legislators talk about things and don’t do anything.
“We didn’t get any progress whatsoever,” he said. “We need to stop talking about it. I am a get-it-done kind of person.”
Temme was skeptical of the General Assembly’s pledge to eliminate income taxes.
“That’s great,” he said. “But it’s a big promise to fulfill. That is a long way to go.”
He added that the tax relief should also be extended to law enforcement officers as well.
“I think that both professions have certainly earned that,” he said.
He also criticized Boles for supporting an increase in the state sales tax on certain services several years ago. Moore County got none of the additional revenue.
Private Liquor Sales
On another statewide issue, the two are at odds over whether the state should get out of the business of selling liquor through ABC stores. Temme favors privatizing it. Boles, who chairs the House Alcohol Beverage Control Committee, favors maintaining state control.
“It’s archaic,” Temme said of the current system. “We are very stringent. It needs to be the free market system. That is what the economy is booming on.”
Boles countered, “Alcohol is a drug. We do not make money off of it and we are not going into the hole.” He said a study done in 2010 showed that privatizing liquor sales would generate about the same amount of income under state control for the first two years, but after that, it would result in less money.
“We have to replace that revenue,” Bole said.
He added that ABC boards appointed by county commissioners operate the system in each county and a portion of the revenues from sales goes to mental health agencies and other nonprofits.
Closer to home, a previous school board’s firing of Moore County Schools Superintendent Bob Grimesey in 2015 has also arisen. During a recent candidates’ forum, Boles was asked whether it was right for an elected state official to intervene as Boles did back then.
Boles obtained a temporary restraining order the day after the school board voted 5-3 to fire Grimesey that prevented it from hiring a new superintendent. He also vowed to introduce legislation allowing for a recall election for the five members of who voted to fire Grimesey.
It was all for naught as four of the five members resigned under pressure that weekend. The board then reinstated Grimesey.
Boles acknowledged that, in hindsight, he “probably” made a mistake getting involved.
“But at the moment, you are elected by the citizens to represent them and they contacted me to represent them and represent their interests,” Boles said of the groundswell of opposition to the firing and in support of Grimesey. “That is what I did. I represent Moore County citizens, all of them. Did we make a mistake, probably so. But at the moment that’s what the citizens wanted.”
Boles continued that in his “viewpoint” if the firing had been carried out the way the school board handled it, he felt the county would not be able to attract a “qualified” replacement.
“To me it was replace the school board, and citizens spoke up,” Boles said, noting the capacity crowd of 1,000 who turned out for the meeting in the Union Pines High School auditorium to support Grimesey the night he was reinstated.
Temme responded that he was “grateful” to hear that Boles said he made a mistake by intervening to stop the firing. He said it is his belief a state elected official should not be “interfering” with a local matter.
“We all knew a mistake was made,” Temme said. “One step further we all knew court papers had been filed.”
He was critical of Boles for backing the idea of a recall election of those members.
“How is that democracy?” Temme asked. “Where the mistake was, and this is my opinion … there was a boatful of potential voters and my opponent jumped in that boat because that was probably the best thing to get re-elected. Well that boat sank, and I don’t see him in that boat anymore. Now he recognizes that as a mistake.”
Boles shook his head in disagreement as Temme spoke. Temme added that the school board has since extended Grimsey’s contract.
“It was a mistake from the beginning and we are bearing the consequences now,” he said. […]
What was the basis for the Boles flier to pronounce Temme a “closet Democrat”? Temme apparently didn’t respond to a questionnaire circulated by something called “ivoterguide.com.” We get no indication from the Boles flier or from the group’s site as to whether Temme was even mailed a questionnaire.
One of the groups behind ivoterguide.com is “NC Values Coalition” — a Raleigh based lobbying group headed by Tami Fitzgerald, mother-in-law to a recently retired state senator and the GOP establishment’s favorite Bible-thumper. Fitzgerald has gained notoriety among grassroots conservatives for — among other things — her support of now-indicted former NCGOP chairman Robin Hayes.