Your early voting cliff notes (Part 1)

The first phase of Campaign 2024 is quickly coming to a conclusion.  Early voting kicks off tomorrow.  There are a lot of offices AND A LOT OF NAMES on the ballot.  Being the good people we are, we thought we’d help you cut through the noise and ID some of the more palatable choices that will be available to you.  Let’s roll:

  • Governor.  Republicans have three choices. Bill Graham, an attorney and longtime, big-time NCGOP donor, is closely tied to Paul Shumaker, Thom Tillis, and other dubious establishment figures.  Lt. Governor Mark Robinson gives a good after-dinner speech, but has little to nothing to offer the people of North Carolina.   State treasurer Dale Folwell, however, has a lifetime of accomplishments inside and outside of government.  As an investment professional, he’s made his clients a lot of money.  As a legislator, he was a dependable conservative voice and a problem solver.  As a gubernatorial appointee, he helped North Carolina’s unemployment insurance program climb out of a massive debt hole with the federal government.  As state treasurer, he’s won all kinds of accolades for his management of the state retirement and health care plans.  Folwell is not Mr. Personality.  He’s not very entertaining, and he’s a horrible campaigner.  But he has the potential to be one hell of a great governor.  We recommend a vote for Dale Folwell.
  • Lieutenant Governor.   Mark Robinson has ably demonstrated that this is a job with little substance to it.  Democrats stripped it of its power when Republican Jim Gardner got elected in 1988. Legislators either need to restore some of its powers or require the lieutenant governor to run with the governor as a ticket.   There are a lot of folks who have filed for this job with little responsibility.  But we’re going to focus on the folks who have the most significant chance of winning.  Hal Weatherman is best known as the architect of the ‘Run Forest Run’ juggernaut of Campaign 2020. He also was tied to the Bo Hines and Madison Cawthorn political disasters.  Weatherman made a lot of speeches about election integrity during his time as chief of staff to Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.  But he did next to nothing beyond those speeches. Like Mark Robinson, he knows how to give a whale of a speech. (But that’s about it.)  Allen Mashburn is a Moore County native and current Montgomery County resident.  He’s a pastor and former insurance executive.  Mashburn was inspired to run for office by Mark Robinson.  His insurance background could make him an interesting contributor in any future health care reform discussions.  Mashburn has yet to be tainted by Raleigh’s sleaze and ooze.  Though, he still suffers from some kind of Robinson obsession.  (I hate to tell you, Allen. But your buddy Mark is teamed up with HAL.) If he can stay in his own lane, and lay off of Robinson, Mashburn has the potential to be a real pleasant surprise of 2024.  Deanna Ballard, a former state senator, and Jeffrey Elmore, a current House member, are both viable candidates.  They have all kinds of resources, thanks to their time in Raleigh.  Neither can be described as sufficiently conservative.  Both are way too close to legislative leadership.  We’re afraid Ballard and Elmore would merely be extensions of the current problem in Raleigh if either were elected.  Seth Woodall is a well-funded Rockingham County attorney who jumped into the race about the time the casino debate was raging.  Woodall is a close friend of the Berger family and a business associate of senator Phil Berger.  His presence in the office would be, um, troublesome.  Rockingham County sheriff Sam Page is also a viable candidate in this field.  He has a favorable reputation with the old Tea Party and current MAGA crowd.  He earned props by publicly criticizing plans by Berger to plop casinos in Rockingham County and other counties across the state.  Polls emerged showing Berger vulnerable to a primary challenge in the wake of the casino hubbub. Page’s arm was twisted hard to encourage his entry into the senate race.  But Page stood strong and refused.  If you’re looking to cast a vote that you can feel good about at the end of the day, cast it for Allen Mashburn.
  • Secretary of State.  Incumbent Elaine Marshall has long been what can most honestly be described as an ‘easy target.’  I don’t understand WHY the NCGOP has not gone after her any harder than they have.  The only serious threat she’s had came in her first (1996) campaign. Marshall has been in government and politics way too long.  She camped out in the state Senate – racking up quite a bolshevik voting record – until she got knocked off by a ‘dark horse’ GOP candidate in the BIG Republican year of 1994.  Marshall waited a grand total of two years to make a jump back into state government, and she’s been there ever since.  Marshall’s work outside of Jones Street and Raleigh includes stints practicing and teaching law at and around Campbell University.  She hugged up tight to Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Raleigh when all that was a thing.   Republicans have three choices to oppose her.  Chad Brown talks a lot about Jesus AND Mark Robinson.  Jesse Thomas is a former Blue Cross executive — which is a huge HELL NO to most thinking people.  Christine Villaverde is an interesting choice.  I’ve always heard the best bet for knocking off a female incumbent is putting forth a female challenger.  (Though, the despicable Thom Tillis blew up that theory in his 2014 battle with Kay Hagan.)  Villaverde is a former law enforcement officer. (Law enforcement is a significant part of the secretary of state’s job description.). Villaverde also heads up emergency management and emergency response efforts for the state’s judicial branch.  She’s a great example of conservative womanhood that we can show off to the liberal pinheads who think they know all about female stuff.  Again, if you’re looking to cast a vote that makes you feel good at the end of the day, Christine Villaverde is a pretty good choice.
  • Insurance Commissioner.  This previous article sums this race up pretty well.   Mike Causey is the choice here.
  • Department of Public Instruction Superintendent.  Incumbent Catherine Truitt needs to be sent packing in this race.  Michele Morrow is your choice in this race.  Read this and this and this for all you need to know on this race.