NC General Assembly Elections, Or…. Adopting My New Pet PART I

(Is it an intentional joke to host an event where I can talking to politicians while eating pork?)

Election time, and I’ve finally realized something – Choosing a candidate is like going to the pound and choosing a new pet.

Anyway, this post was going to go up earlier – and be longer – but my darling baby daughter explored my pocketbook over the weekend. During this time of learning through play, she hid my notebook somewhere – going to show that she has absolutely no care for politics and much more sense than I.

This means two things – (1) I am only going to report on what I can remember, which is going to be pretty subjective, and (2) I can’t remember the names of anyone except the candidates and the one person I already knew.

 So…. I present a brief overview of the lingering impressions from last Thursday night, where I had the delight of meeting our politicians in our beautiful Imperial Centre downtown, and where I also ate pig and chicken. Of the people I had a chance to speak to:

  • Senator A.B. Swindell (Dem. NC Senate District 11)-  He would be an excellent character in a movie, except it would be hard to avoid stereotyping – you’d want to give him a cigar and two bodyguards in three-piece suits with Uzis. Imposing, confident, strong handshake, direct eye contact – it is easy to see how this man wins both fans and enemies. 

His representative (Matt? oh, notebook….) was the very first to approach me. I am definitely swayed by the fact that the guy is AB’s research assistant AND an unaffiliated voter – like me. His family is Republican. Maybe-Matt stated that Senator Swindell is liberal on some social issues, but tends to be fiscally conservative. Swindell is endorsed by the National Rifle Association. He has a signed picture of Sarah Palin on his wall that he received at an NRA conference or something.

  • Buck Newton (Rep. NC Senate – District 11) – I saw Buck at the very end of the evening as I was leaving. Everyone was shutting down and packing up. I passed a group of men in suits on my way to the door. One of them glanced up, caught my eye, and then stopped his conversation to step over and introduce himself to me. It was Buck – and I was flattered by his one-on-one attention, out from behind the table, at the end of the night.

Buck was pretty personable, very energetic. He could answer my questions quickly and reasonably, which made me feel that he might have actually thought out both sides of the issues. I haven’t been paying much attention to this race, other than the really dramatic parts, but I’m going to watch it a little more now.

  • Representative Randy Stewart (Dem. NC House-District 25) – Mr. Stewart was not very interested in speaking with me, being far too interested in discussing important matters with AB to do more than answer “Harnett” when his rep tugged on his arm and asked him which county he grew up in. However, I was so welcomed by his representative, Laura O’Neal, that I stuck around anyway and ended up agreeing to maybe help out on his campaign sometime.

Mrs. O’Neal explained that Randy is also fiscally conservative and had done the best he could to cut the budget.  She goes to church with him and has personally seen him help lots of people, whether he knew them or not. I was most moved by his professed dedication to attracting business and investment to Eastern North Carolina.

  • Jeff Collins (Rep. NC House- District 25) – Jeff Collins, who has had a very hands-on approach during this entire campaign, was the only candidate I saw come out from behind the table and stand in the middle of the room. He was pretty popular – I’m surprised he got out of there with all of his hair and an unripped shirt.

Jeff says he is just a regular guy. He grew up in Nash County near where the barbecue place used to be before the flood. His friends lived in the mill houses. This is his first foray into politics – he has been a teacher and a financial consultant. He is out in the neighborhoods shaking hands – one of his representatives there looked a little shocked and upset when I mentioned that my lesbian friend from the northeast had really liked him when he stopped by her house. Maybe I should have asked her if she thought Jeff should accept that vote. By the way – I think Jeff has got the most attractive logo and campaign literature design of any of the candidates. More on that another time.

My intital thoughts on these two races – the Republicans in the local races have got it going on with their down-home, I’m-one-of-you, lets-get-er-done feel. They feel like young, energetic entrepreneurs. That’s going to go over well with a lot of people. Signs, stickers and door hangers are and will continue to be EVERYWHERE!

The Democrats have got supporters who feel very strong personal connections to them (I’ll talk about Elaine Marshall and them next post and you’ll see more of this) and represent them well. The candidates look more stately and powerful and remote than their challengers do. They obviously know how things are done and how to make things happen within the system. They seem more low-key and academic. That’s going to win over a lot of people, but in an emotional election year will it win over enough?

 Which one would you adopt – the older calmer dog that is house-broke and steady, or the adorable feisty puppy that is going to chew up your shoes but hang on every word you say?

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~ by gypsyjonga on October 5, 2010.

One Response to “NC General Assembly Elections, Or…. Adopting My New Pet PART I”

  1. Oh, if only Mr. Swindell was conservative on fiscal issues. If that were the case, he would have voted NO when the General Assembly increased the state budget by $4 Billion over a two year period.

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