December 12, 2017/Press

ICYMI: NC House Democrats Launch Nine Statewide Candidates For 2018

RALEIGH – Yesterday, the NC House Democratic Caucus partnered with the North Carolina Democratic Party to announce the launch of nine diverse candidates running for the North Carolina House. These candidates are doctors, small business owners, veterans, and social workers from urban, suburban, and rural North Carolina. Six are women, 3 are people of color, two are members of the LGBTQ community, and all are ready to serve their neighbors and their communities by joining the fight to break the supermajority.

News & Observer: NC Democrats announce new candidates, and they’re almost all women
By Will Doran
December 11, 2017

The wave of women signing up to run for political office has hit North Carolina. State Democrats spent Monday announcing nine new candidates – including six women – in their 2018 effort to break Republicans’ veto-proof majority in the state legislature.

Rep. Darren Jackson, the top Democrat in the North Carolina House of Representatives, said on Twitter that he thinks the rise in women candidates has been especially pronounced in the last year.

“It’s something we were seeing way before all the sexual harassment scandals started to break,” he wrote. “After the 2016 election, a lot of women started turning out for events, indivisible groups, house parties. Many for the first time. Been seeing it for a year now.”

The Raleigh city council is now half women for just the second time ever, after the city’s October elections. Also in October, Virginia’s state legislature swung from a strong Republican majority to a split in power after Democrats flipped 15 seats in their favor. Almost all of those 15 Democratic winners were women.

In North Carolina, the elections for state legislative seats aren’t until November 2018, and the deadline for candidates to file (Feb. 28, 2018) is still more than two months away. In the meantime there might be more women of either party to sign up to run for what has always been a male-dominated state legislature.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, 13 of North Carolina’s 50 state senators are women, as are 30 of the 120 state representatives. The state’s population is 51 percent female.

The Triangle

That seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Linda Williams, a former Holly Springs town councilwoman who joined the legislature last year after the retirements of former Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, also a Republican.

In Johnston County, Linda Bennett is running for the seat held by Republican Rep. Donna White, a nurse from Clayton. Bennett founded a pharmaceutical consulting company and lives on a farm south of Zebulon.

North of Raleigh in Granville County, longtime Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss announced he will run for the seat held by Republican Rep. Larry Yarborough. The district is mostly outside the Triangle, covering all of Person County, but it also includes some of the southern parts of Granville County near the border with Wake and Durham counties.

Charlotte Suburbs

In Concord, the 82nd district was redrawn so that its incumbent, Republican Rep. Larry Pittman, was put into a neighboring district. The new 82nd district is home to a different Republican incumbent, Rep. Linda Johnson.

Johnson could face Aimy Steele, an elementary school principal and former Spanish teacher who announced her candidacy Monday.
In Pittman’s new House District 83, he could face a challenger who also announced Monday, Gail Young.

Further to the south in the Charlotte suburb of Union County, retired doctor and Army veteran Rick Foulke announced he plans to run against Republican Rep. Craig Horn in District 68.

Eastern NC

In Onslow County, Dan Whitten announced he will run against Republican Rep. Phil Shepard, a pastor from Jacksonville.

Whitten has worked in mental health care at several hospitals in the area.

The Triad

In the northern Forsyth County suburbs of Winston-Salem, Terri LeGrand announced her plans to run against Republican Rep. Debra Conrad for House District 74.

LeGrand is a financial aid administrator at Wake Forest University.

Martha Shafer, a hospital executive, will run against Republican Rep. John Faircloth, a real estate broker from High Point, for House District 62 in northwest Guilford County.

Read the full online article here.

INDY Week: A woman’s place is in the North Carolina General Assembly
By Jeffrey Billman
December 12, 2017

Yesterday, North Carolina Democrats unveiled a slate of nine new candidates, including six women, for next year’s General Assembly elections. As Darren Jackson, the Dems’ Senate leader, said on Twitter:

“It’s something we were seeing way before all the sexual harassment scandals started to break. After the 2016 election, a lot of women started turning out for events, indivisible groups, house parties. Many for the first time. Been seeing it for a year now.”

  • Right now, just 26 percent of the Senate, and 25 percent of the House, is female.
  • These candidates include: Sydney Batch, a Wake lawyer who will run against Republican Linda Williams for Paul Stam’s old seat; Linda Bennett, a former pharma exec running against Republican Donna White; Creedmoor Mayor Darryl Moss, who will run against Representative Larry Yarborough in Person County; Aimy Steele, who is running in the Charlotte suburbs against Linda Johnson; Gail Young, running against the odious neo-Confederate Larry Pittman; retired doctor and army vet Rick Foulke, running against Craig Horn; Dan Whitten, a mental health care worker, will run against Phil Shepard of Jacksonville; Terri LeGrand, a Wake Forest University employee running against Debra Conrad in Winston-Salem; and Martha Shafer, a hospital exec running against John Faircloth in Guilford County.
  • In addition, Cary Life editor Jennifer Ferrell has previously announced a bid to unseat Nelson Dollar in Wake County, though she’ll first have to get through Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria in the primary. Also, Jen Mangum, a professor at UNC-Greensboro, will run against Senate leader Phil Berger.

WHAT IT MEANS: There are a few factors at play here. One, as Jackson noted, women all over the country are seeking office in record numbers, a reaction to the misogyny of the Trump era. Two, Democrats clearly sense of a wave coming, which means more attractive candidates (e.g., Calabria) are willing to put their necks on the line because there’s a better chance of success; indeed, in waves you often see the minority party challenge nearly every seat, even the ones they likely won’t win, and sometimes score an out-of-nowhere upset. Three, the new legislative maps being created by special master Nathaniel Persily have breathed new life into Democratic hopes of breaking the supermajority.

However: House Speaker Tim Moore has proven himself a fundraising beast and a skilled politico. He won’t be easy to dethrone, even in a Dem-friendly environment.

Read the full online article here.

Independent Tribune: Young announces run for N.C. House District 83
December 11, 2017

Gail Young, a local advocate for government reform and accountability and retired career public servant, announced her candidacy for North Carolina House of Representatives District 83.
Young is currently the director of Citizens in Action NC, a grassroots organization that works to inform and empower citizens to engage with their state elected officials on issues like redistricting reform, the state budget and healthcare.

“This campaign is about the needs of our community,” Young said. “The politicians in Raleigh are not listening to the people they represent. I have seen firsthand how frustrated people are after they met with their elected officials. Time and again I have heard that the elected officials don’t really listen and don’t care about the thoughts and priorities of their constituents. That must end.”

Young has worked in local government for many years, most recently serving as a Division Director of the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency in Mecklenburg County. During her time in local government, she said she learned that the government closest to the people typically governs the best. However, recent attempts by the state legislature to strip localities of their rights while also attempting to grab power from the executive and judicial branches pushed Young to run for elected office, she said.

Redistricting reform also played a large role in Young’s decision to run for the state House. She said she sees the legislature’s redistricting process as more an attempt to protect incumbents rather than an effort to protect the voice of the people of North Carolina.

“I don’t believe they redrew maps in a way that was fair,” she said. “They redrew maps in a way that could get them re-elected. The priority of our elected officials is winning elections instead of solving the problems we face here in North Carolina.”

Young is a native North Carolinian. She attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and graduate work at the University of Arkansas; and spent 28 years working in local government. She lives in Concord.

“I know that ‘we the people’ own our government, and I am running for office to help solve the problems facing our families and our communities—improving education, making healthcare more accessible for families, protecting our environment, and caring for our veterans,” Young said. “This is what our legislature should be focused on and these will be my priorities in the state House.”

Read the full online article here.

AP: North Carolina House Democrats unveil more 2018 candidates
December 11, 2017

Energized Democrats seeking inroads in the North Carolina House during next November’s elections are rolling out names of more candidates who hope to upset veteran Republican lawmakers.

The state Democratic Party announced nine additional challengers Monday that include an ex-Army physician, a former health care executive and the mayor of Creedmoor. Top GOP budget-writers Reps. John Faircloth and Linda Johnson are among incumbents the Democrats want to defeat.

Democrats currently hold 45 of the 120 House seats but are encouraged by electoral successes by Virginia counterparts last month. Pending redistricting changes also could put a few more seats in play.

Rep. Graig Meyer of Orange County is leading Democratic candidate recruiting. He says the House Democratic Caucus goal is to have candidates in all 120 seats.”

Read the full online article here.