It doesn't get much more interesting than this. Fed up with all the crap flying between Pope and Morgan (and little Joe Boylan caught in the cross-fire), the ex-Police Chief of Southern Pines is taking the independent route to challenge the Puppetmaster. I hope this guy is for real, because I sure like the way he talks:
Former Southern Pines Police Chief Gerald Galloway announced Tuesday that he intends to run for North Carolina House of Representatives. Galloway and his supporters are billing him as an alternative to candidates who have been consumed by partisan politics. Though a longtime Democrat, Galloway recently changed to unaffiliated.
Local hair salon owner Joe Boylan defeated state Rep. Richard Morgan in a heated Republican primary in May with the help of the state GOP. The campaign was characterized by attacks on both sides.
Now that the primaries have ended, Galloway must run as an unaffiliated candidate, though he said he chooses to be an independent anyway. Galloway is courting moderates in both political parties.
Galloway and his supporters planned to meet Tuesday night to discuss how to go about obtaining the 2,040 required signatures to ensure his place on the ballot. The signatures must be turned in to the Moore County Board of Elections by June 30.
"I believe we'll be able to do this thing," Galloway said Tuesday. "The question is can we do it by June 30. I'm optimistic. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be doing it. The task is a mammoth task, but I believe in the message, and I believe Moore County needs mainstream representation."
Galloway said he originally changed his affiliation so he could vote for a friend in a Republican primary (not the most recent primary, which pitted Morgan against Boylan. He never switched back. "The party I choose ... is unaffiliated," he said. "It will best serve me in my effort to organize mainstream Moore County as a voice in the legislature."
A group of friends made up of equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters approached him and asked him to run about three weeks ago. The campaign is keeping the identity of those in the group close to the vest, according to Dr. H. David Bruton, because it wants to avoid being lumped in with any faction of either party. Bruton, a prominent Democrat and former state secretary of health and human services during the second Gov. Jim Hunt administration, is one of Galloway's supporters.
Bruton said the group was made up of people interested in "sending a good man to Raleigh."
Walker Morris, a former chairman of the Moore County Democratic Party, was scheduled to lead the meeting Tuesday night. Joyce Franke, a Pinehurst Republican, will also have a leadership role in the campaign, according to a press release Tuesday. Bruton said Galloway's supporters wanted Morris' and Franke's support to be publicly known in order to send a message.
"We thought that would be all we needed to send a signal that this is nonpartisan -- not bipartisan -- a non-partisan effort," Bruton said.
"All of us are fed up with the state and national level, and that extreme partisanship seems to be directing our public policy," he said.
Galloway's first task was to convince his wife, June, that politics would be the right thing for him. Now that she's on board, he has to get the signatures on the petitions.
"What we are going to do is give the people in Moore County an opportunity to be represented by a mainstream, longtime, Moore County, very successful citizen," Bruton said. "[Galloway] will primarily promise to listen to Moore County folks and not be directed by partisan Democrats or partisan Republicans. It's a new kind of thing."
The Puppetmaster isn't going to like this. He's going to have to flush a boatload more money to keep his boy Joe Boylan afloat. Or maybe he'll be satisfied with simply having Morgan out of the way and settle for whatever the people of Moore County want. At first blush, Galloway seems like a decent moderate. I'm sure I'd find myself at odds with the ex-lawman, but god bless him for seeking to build some common ground.