Tom Jensen's blog

Breaking Down the Local Election Results

This is as comprehensive an analysis as I could write for my 800 word column, but it's a start. I'm sure our many citizen pundits will have interesting perspectives to add.

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on November 11th, 2006:

Despite being a ‘blue moon' election year with no major statewide races in North Carolina, Tuesday night's election has some interesting implications for Orange and Chatham Counties.

One lesson learned is that we have the most popular senator in the state. With 74 percent of the vote, Ellie Kinnaird received a higher percentage of votes than anyone else in a contested seat throughout North Carolina. While some people like to peg her as a liberal kook from Carrboro, the fact that she won all but one precinct in Orange County points to her wide appeal.

Show us you're smart

We're just four days out from the election now, so I'd be interested to hear some predictions on a couple fronts:

Obviously the most intense race locally is the well funded Superior Court race between incumbents Carl Fox and Allen Baddour, and challengers Chuck Anderson and Adam Stein.

-One thing I'll be watching with interest Tuesday night is Carl Fox's performance. During both the primary and the general, Fox has run the lowest profile campaign of the contenders. In the primary he finished first by a large margin nonetheless, likely owing to his name recognition and magnetic personality.

But that was the primary, and the wider electorate in the general is less likely to be familiar with Fox's record and personality. I think he'll probably still finish first, but by a much smaller margin, at least percentage-wise, than in the spring.

The WSM situation is resolved, but let's keep the discussion going

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on October 28th, 2006:

Alot of the civic discourse in Carrboro recently has been about green space and public open space. The most prominent example of this is the Weaver Street Market dancing controversy, which was recently resolved happily, in large part due to extensive public input about the situation.

One positive impact of that dialogue was that it got more people thinking about the importance and meaning of putting beautiful spaces in the community to use for the public good. As with the WSM situation, public participation and input will be vital to the success of the ongoing Carrboro Greenspace initiative, and the Greenways Summit the town of Carrboro is holding today at the Century Center.

A quick look back at the resolution of the "Dancing Man" controversy shows the impact citizen activism has on public space. Early on many folks in Carrboro made it very clear that curtailing Bruce Thomas' dancing on the lawn was unacceptable to them and took action on their concerns. Their letters to the editor, organizational meetings and dance-ins showed the support behind their cause.

Kudos to the Indy

The Indy's election endorsements issue came out today. They prefer cumulative voting, but without that option on the ballot encourage a yes vote on the referendum. They also re-endorse the three Democratic Commissioner candidates, Carl Fox and Adam Stein for Superior Court, Ellie Kinnaird, Joe Hackney, and others you might expect.

In the past some people have complained here and elsewhere that the Indy does its readers a disservice by not making the voluminous surveys candidates fill out for it available to the general public. Voters who want to make up their own mind could find this to be a more substantive source of candidate information than anything else out there right now.

Editor Richard Hart notes this week that they're listening and that the surveys will go online later today at when the paper does. I look forward to looking at them, and hope others will too.

This must have been a great deal of work so hats off to Richard, Jennifer Strom, Denise Prickett, and the other folks at the Indy who made this possible.

Stein Volunteer Mixes Campaign Signs and Highway Beautification

As printed in the Chapel Hill Herald on October 7th, 2006:

I never knew how much trash local residents throw out on the road until I spent last Sunday putting up yard signs with Chatham County resident Staples Hughes.

Hughes, who spends his weekdays advocating for low-income accused criminals in the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender, has spent many weekends over the past 15 years putting up signs for candidates he knows or respects along the roads of Chatham County.

The lucky beneficiary of Hughes' handiwork for this election cycle is Superior Court candidate Adam Stein. And there is no doubt that Stein is lucky -- Hughes has this banal but necessary part of local election campaigns down to an art form.

He knows most every intersection in Chatham County and how many signs should go at each of them. He knows that you should ideally put seven staples each on the left and right sides of the folded sign to hold it together.



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