Vote Republican this Fall?

Many of you may assume - as I did - that all the elected officials in Orange County are registered as either Democrat or Unaffiliated voters. If so, then you would be wrong.

In the process of compiling information for a forthcoming spreadsheet of candidate information, I learned that Hillsborough Town Commissioner Evelyn Lloyd recently changed her registration from D to R. Just like that, we now have a Republican elected in Orange County - breaking many years of tradition. OK.

It's not unusual for one Republican to run in the lonely primary for County Commissioner in even years. Like it or not, it's understood that they will not be elected when put to a county-wide vote (especially since the Commissioners designed their district system to only barely change the status quo) but it's certainly their prerogative to run. It is even more Quixotic to run as a Republican in odd years when we elect our municipal leaders and our city school board.

This year, not only will Ms. Lloyd be up for an unopposed re-election, there are a few Republicans challengers: the ones you know are Kevin Wolff (perennial Mayoral candidate) and Augustus Cho (perennial anything candidate) running for Mayor and Town Council respectively in Chapel Hill, and the one you might have missed is Kris Castellano running for Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education. I'm certainly interested to hear her thoughts about both the Wake County School Board's racial politics, and also the Republicans' attack on government funding including public education.

[Edited 8/12/11 8:40 AM per James Barrett's correction.]



Cho is running for Town Council this time around.

I seem to have a mental block about that. Correcting now, thanks.

I don't understand the point of this post. Don't we live in a democracy which depends on more than one party for the balance of power? Now if your point is how significantly the profile of the country/town of CH is changing, then there is something to talk about.

Terri, please talk about what you are seeing .

Now where is that second party?

First let me begin by saying that I am proud to be a Progressive and a Democrat, and that I am as appalled as you are at the things that our Republican-led General Assembly has been up to.  However, as somebody who believes strongly in freedom of thought and opinion, I think it is always a valuable exercise to have somebody in the room who disagrees.  Only by welcoming a diversity of viewpoints do we achieve the best legislation for our community, and the fact is that there are (gasp!) conservatives in Orange County who have a right to have their viewpoint represented by their elected officials.  That's the great thing about democracy - it forces everybody to come to the table and work together for the good of the populace as a whole. 

Well said. 

Does this mean that, for the sake of "welcoming a diversity of viewpoints," you vote for people whose political values and policy positions you find objectionable?

Of course welcoming diversity of thought doesn't mean voting for someone you disagree with. It does mean having an open mind and listening to their opinions and respecting their right to have their opinions and beliefs represented in local government though. Personally, I believe it is impossible to be a progressive (or a liberal) and not be willing to accept a representative government/culture (although I agree with Mark M that there is very little difference between Dems and Reps at this point in time). 

Opening a discussion about the political party affiliations of local candidates and elected officials does not reflect a closed mind, an inability to listen, or an unwillingness "to accept a representative government/culture."

But this wasn't opening a discussion about political party affiliation. It was opening a discussion about Republicans in OC. Political party affiliation is the large topic, and Republicanism is a subset topic. It is not worded in such a way as to welcome anything other than defensiveness from any Republicans who have an issue with Democratic candidates. Ruby may have meant this to be a big issue discussion even though the wording of the post came through as a focus on the subset. That's why I asked for clarification of intent.

OK, I'll be more specific. Opening a discussion about the fact that a few Republicans are running in our municipal and school board elections—especially when Republicans at the state level are pursuing cruel spending cuts during an economic recession, regressive social measures on abortion and queer rights, and even stricter limits on home rule—does not reflect a closed mind, an inability to listen, or an unwillingness "to accept a representative government/culture."I share Ruby's interest in learning how local candidates view some of these issues.

For what it's worth, Phyllis Sockwell, CH-Carrboro school board chair in much of the 80s, was a registered Republican.

It is informative to know what party candidates and elected officials belong to, but we benefit by not having party affiliation on the ballots. Voters who participate in the elections are forced to look beyond labeling and decide if they can support the policies that the candidate espouses. Party affiliation also causes straight ticket voting which encourages laziness and lack of awareness among voters.Unfortunately, County Commissioners are on the ballot by party which means that our commissioners are effectively elected during the Democratic primary by a small minority of citizens. And here's an example of how party affiliation affects how the commissioners vote on issues. In 2006, the Orange County BOCC passed a resolution condemning the Iraq War for, among other things, its drain on U.S. resources and its ultimate ill-effects on municpalities across the country. In 2010, when faced with a similar resolution about Afghanistan, the BOCC (including several members who were on the Board in 2006) tacitly revealed their support for the war by not even allowing the resolution to be put to a vote. The obvious difference between these two events is that Bush was president in 2006 and Obama was president in 2010. The BOCC's party affiliation and loyalty caused them to approach these nearly identical resolutions in two completely different ways.   

I did some research a while back and found some interesting information that explain straight-ticlet voting in another way than "laziness". a regression analysis of homogeneous precints (sorry for the jargon) shows that over 90% of black voters in NC  mark a straight ticket compared with 40% of white voters. the machines know how many straight tickets are marked as that is a data field.

Having a significant transient population, Orange County voters are that much more prone than most to vote straight ticket.

The straight-ticket analysis is really interesting. Given that the straight-ticket option does not include President and Vice President, undervoting for Pres/VP is likely quite biased based on who votes straight-ticket. A close election could be decided by this. The NC straight ticket could be the next FL butterfly ballot!

Actually, in 2008 there were 40,000 more votes for President than for Senate and Governor. President was not on the straight ticket, while Guv and Senate were.

Is the issue that there are Republicans popping up as candidates?  Or is it that they may not be clearly labled as such, and voters may not understand what they intend to do?  I have more trouble with the second, by quite a bit, than the first.  Given some unsavory examples elsewhere in the country, it's probably not nuts to be wary of candidates running as independent or unaffiliated -- or even of candidates running as Democrats -- if/when their platform is murky and their plans/positions are vague.  And as for those who change affiliation and positions after election.... the cynicism of that act boggles the mind.  Despite the ideal that requires voters to educate themselves, It realistically falls to the media, seems to me, to make every effort to press such candidates, in order to make public their intentions and goals as clearly as possible.


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