Friday, February 22, 2008

The statewide legislative picture: Senate

Following up on my post about interesting stories emerging from filing for the House so far, here is the same for the Senate:

-Incumbents facing primary challenges so far include Clark Jenkins, David Weinstein, Ellie Kinnaird, Bill Purcell, Katie Dorsett, and Fletcher Hartsell.

Kinnaird and Dorsett's opponents are both County Commissioners, Moses Carey and Bruce Davis. Carey raised five times more money than Kinnaird in the last half of 2007 and will probably benefit from Orange County putting a transfer tax referendum on the May ballot, as that will increase turnout from more conservative Democrats in the northern part of the county who could be inclined to support him against the liberal Kinnaird. That said, the six term incumbent is certainly the favorite.

Jenkins is being challenged for the third time in a row by Shelly Willingham. He forced him into a runoff four years ago, but he defeated him solidly in 2006.

I don't know anything about the challengers to Weinstein, Purcell, or Hartsell.

-Some seats being vacated by incumbents have drawn a crowd. Others have not. Charlotte City Councilman Andy Dulin is running as a Republican to replace Robert Pittenger. Former legislator Bob Rucho is supposed to be running as well but has not filed yet. For Kay Hagan's seat only former Greensboro Councilman Don Vaughan, a Democrat, has filed thus far. Already five Democrats have filed to replace John Kerr in the Senate. Former Wake County commissioner Jack Nichols and Josh Stein, director of the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's office are running as Democrats to succeed Janet Cowell as she runs for Treasurer. Three people I don't know anything about yet are seeking Fred Smith's seat.

-Two Republican house members are looking to move up to the senate. Whoever emerges from the crowded Democratic primary in John Kerr's district will have to face Louis Pate. Debbie Clary is trying to turn Walter Dalton's seat red.

-Three Democrats who took over Republican held seats in 2006 will have to fight to keep their positions. Joe Sam Queen will face Keith Presnell for the third time in a row. Presnell won in 2004, Queen was victorious in 2006. Tony Foriest will face Rick Gunn, who has served in a variety of civic leadership positions though not elected office in Burlington. Steve Goss will face off against Jerry Butler, a Boone dentist who like Gunn has been involved in the community but not public office.

-Finally, two interesting developments in the Triangle. Floyd McKissick, who was appointed to fill the late Jeanne Lucas' seat after a contentious appointment process, somewhat surprisingly does not yet have any challengers in the primary. And in Wake County, Democrat Chris Mintz will face Republican incumbent Neal Hunt. Hunt won just 57-43 two years ago against a poorly funded Democratic opponent who was making her third unsuccessful legislative run in four cycles. Money will not be a problem for Mintz, and that makes this one of the best opportunities for a Democratic pick up on the senate side.

If I've missed anything or gotten anything wrong, please let me know in the comments. I'll revisit this when filing is concluded.


Anonymous said...

s someone who wanted Chris Mintz to run for NC Sen 15 back in 2006, I am glad to see that Chris is running for this seat in 2008.

Chris took this race seriously and wanted to make sure that he didn't have any long-time Dems to run against in the primary.

I contacted the NC Democratic Party and the Senate Caucus people earlier this year and there was no one else interested in running for this seat. So I support Chris Mintz in his run for the NC Senate.

Chris Telesca

Anonymous said...

Fletcher's primary challenge comes from Thomas Hill, who is running as a Republican this time since the Libertarian Party lost its ballot access in North Carolina. He's a former state party chair of the LP, and has ran in numerous elections in the past, most recently for School Board in 2006.

He does have a website, as well:

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