From a October 14th column in the Chapel Hill Herald by Tom Jensen:
A crowd of 100 cheering activists gathered in the Pit at UNC two weeks
ago to hear a candidate for political office, not particularly
surprising during the middle of an unusually intense midterm election.
What was strange about the event though is when the speaker,
conservative activist Bill Graham, is widely rumored to be running for
office -- he's a 2008 Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Despite the dearth of exciting statewide races this year, there's
plenty of political jockeying in advance of the 2008 election when an
unusual number of desirable offices will be vacated at the same time.
Plenty of public attention has gone to the Democratic gubernatorial
primary, where two heavyweights and one possible local dark horse
candidate will face off. Those are Lieutenant Governor Bev Perdue,
Treasurer Richard Moore and Representative Bill Faison, from northern
There are plenty of folks on the GOP side ready to duke it out as well,
al-though they are lesser known. You may get to know Senator Fred Smith
from Johnston County during this election cycle, as he's taken the
unusual step of running ads on Triangle TV stations. This use of
campaign funds seems like it may be geared more toward 2008 than his
You may have already gotten to know the aforementioned Graham. He's
been active in self-funded campaigns on television and radio across the
state this year to crack down on illegal immigration and eliminate the
Also seemingly in the race is Sen. Robert Pittenger, a strident
conservative from Mecklenburg County. All three candidates are
terrifyingly to the right, but none seem to be particularly viable
candidates either. Republicans may want to coax popular Charlotte Mayor
Pat McCrory into the race.
I'm pretty sure Richard Vinroot is sitting this one out!
The Democrats also have a packed field already for lieutenant governor.
Hampton Dellinger, who has held a variety of top governmental posts, is
likely to earn the support of much of the traditional party
establishment but is also well respected among the progressive wing of
Another strong contender will be Winston-Salem City Councilman Dan
Besse, who is a well-respected environmentalist. The Progressive
Democrats of North Carolina have been seeking a candidate to support in
this race, and Besse may fit the bill.
Other early candidates with lesser statewide profiles are Senator
Walter Dalton of Rutherfordton, Senator A.B. Swindell of Nashville and
Canton Mayor Pat Smathers. They each have plenty of time to move into
the top tier of contenders.
Another open seat in 2008 will be the state treasurer's. Jim Harrell, a
young legislator from Surry County, is the most definite candidate for
this post. He passed up a shot at the lieutenant governor's race after
the field got too crowded.
Another person who would be a strong candidate for treasurer, or any
statewide office for that matter, is Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.
Meeker is as good a public servant as we have anywhere in this state.
He is smart, builds bridges and has done a tremendous job in his
current role. Many Democratic pundits hope Meeker will make a run
against Elizabeth Dole if more prominent candidates defer on the race.
Some activists, not wanting to make the tough choice between Perdue and
Moore, would like to see one of them enter the Senate race. That seems
un-likely, as does the entry of popular Congressman Bob Etheridge, who
would have to give up a safe House seat.
I would not be surprised if Dole chooses not to seek re-election. If
that is the case, the face of the Democratic field would be transformed
Then there are the incumbents. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and
Insurance Commissioner Jim Long seem sure to cruise to re-election.
Likewise, State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson,
although elected under considerable turmoil, seems likely to have less
trouble this time around.
The Republican incumbents could face some stronger competition. Former
legislator Wayne Goodwin seems primed for a rematch against Labor
Commissioner Cherie Berry, whom he fell to in 2004. Agriculture
Commissioner Steve Troxler will also face a strong competitor. One
possible candidate is state House Rep. Alice Graham Underhill, the
daughter of long-time Commissioner Jim Graham, who has proven to be a
Former Commissioner Britt Cobb, an honest and decent man who was likely
swept out of office because of the Meg Scott Phipps scandal, has been
serving admirably in the Easley administration and would be a good
In the race for attorney general, former Randolph County manager Bob
Crumley is an announced GOP challenger to Roy Cooper. Former Raleigh
City Councilman Kieran Shanahan is also a possible candidate, although
his interest may have cooled when Cooper announced he would run again.
Needless to say, anyone thinking that this year's election is boring in
North Carolina has plenty to look forward to in 2008!
No No No
Not yet! I can't deal with '06!
Thanks for giving us some food for thought justing. We are worried about the Senate race.
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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.
It's not about the toughness of the choice, it's about the stupidity of the choice. These are our top two Democrats . . . by a long shot as far as I'm concerned . . . and it simply makes no sense for them to fight it out in a primary, leaving Dull's Senate seat uncontested. I don't really care which of them decides to run for Senator, but one of them should.
It may seem unlikely now, but the idea deserves much broader discussion and debate in early 07.
Maybe we find a third way...
only this time it is a progressive third way. Maybe a Jim Webb-type candidate or a John Edwards out-of-the-blue. With no "big" name, we can pretty much write our own ticket. Get a person out on the internet in December, garner a netroots audience, meet with bloggers, excite the base. Might just work.
CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.
Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
Number 1- You have two years to get a "no name" progressive candidate to beat Dole. It could happen.
Number 2- Meeker needs to run for something. That man is incredibly intelligent.
"Keep the Faith"