Triangle politics

Convict's candidacy for Raleigh City Council challenged

August 13, 2011 

Raleigh City Council candidate Lent C. Carr II may find himself off the ballot in addition to being in federal prison on Election Day.

Carr was sentenced Thursday to seven months in federal prison for violating the conditions of his parole for a 2000 fraud conviction. Bruce Lightner, a Southeast Raleigh community activist and funeral home owner, notified the Wake County Board of Elections on Friday that he will challenge Carr's candidacy on the grounds that federal felons must be released from prison to be eligible to run for office.

Cherie Poucher, executive director of the Board of Elections, said she told Lightner that she would need a signed affidavit from him before the challenge can become official.

Once the paperwork is in, Poucher said, a quasi-judicial hearing on Carr's candidacy could be held as soon as Thursday. She said the burden of proof would be on Carr to show why he should be allowed to remain on the ballot.

Lightner's letter to Poucher also questioned Carr's mental stability. But Don Wright, legal counsel for the State Board of Elections, advised Poucher that "A person's mental capacity does not affect eligibility to be a candidate or a voter."

Lunches for donors

Lunch with a Wake County school board member and a chance to win a week at a beach house are just some of the enticements used to raise campaign cash this summer.

The Northern Wake Republican Club is offering lunches with school board members Ron Margiotta and John Tedesco and school board candidate Heather Losurdo as part of its Paint The Town Hall Red Annual Gala. Organizers say the value of those lunches is "priceless."

One of Losurdo's opponents in the District 3 school board race, Jennifer Mansfield, is using her beach home in Emerald Isle to drum up financial support.

For every $50 a person donates through Aug. 30, Mansfield will enter the contributor into a raffle to win a week of his/her choice at "Rancho Relaxo." Mansfield said she started the raffle as a way to encourage donors to increase contributions.

Deception acknowledged

Don Hyatt doesn't like the thought of a "liberal, Democratic" majority in Cary, which is why he has put his hat in the ring for Cary Town Council. It's also, he freely admits, why he tried to sway a 2009 council race with a misleading blast of email.

Late in that campaign season, the "balanced growth" challenger Lori Bush was running a heated race with incumbent Jennifer Robinson. Bush and the group DavisandHighHouse.org painted Robinson as a shill for developers.

Hyatt, a Republican, figured the advocacy group had a bit too much sway, so he created a mimic website, DavisandHighHouse.com, and sent out messages saying his copycat group endorsed Robinson.

"I sent out 100 or so emails to some key individuals, designed to confuse them, and it worked beautifully," Hyatt, who runs the forum www.CaryPolitics.org, said Friday. "They didn't like that."

He expects to take more criticism for deceiving voters, but he says it was legal and he'd do it again.

Apex council spot open

With the pending departure of longtime councilman Mike Jones, the Apex Town Council will have to appoint someone to fill his spot.

Had Jones announced his departure a month ago, the seat could have been open during this fall's elections, but candidate filings closed July 15.

Jones, who has served on the council for 21 years, will move to the Lillington area to open a 50-bed hospital for Harnett Health System. He said the decision to leave his hometown was difficult and that he put it off to the last minute. He said no strategy was involved in the timing of his decision.

The Apex council will meet in September to consider candidates for Jones' seat. Council members will nominate individuals and then take a vote. If the council is split Mayor Keith Weatherly will cast the deciding vote.

Local leaders

Clayton town clerk Sherry Scoggins is expected to become president of the N.C. Association of Municipal Clerks at the group's annual conference in New Bern today. She has been the group's first vice president during the past year.

Meanwhile, last month, Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster became president of the N.C. Sheriffs' Association for the coming year. Webster, who had been first vice president the previous year, became the first Chatham sheriff to lead the association since George Andrews in 1940.

Political Trails

Wake County Board of Education Chairman Ron Margiotta and board candidates Heather Losurdo (District 3), Cynthia Matson (District 5), and Donna Williams (District 6) will speak at Thursday's meeting of the Wake County Republican Women's Club at the N.C. State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Social time begins at 11:30 a.m. and the lunch/program begins at 11:45 a.m.Lunch is $15 and reservations are required at 1wcrwc@gmail.com by Monday.

Western Wake Democrats will hold a candidates "meet and greet" on Aug. 30 at the IHOP at 1301 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. On hand will be Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Cary Town Council District D Rep. Gale Adcock, and candidates Susan Evans (School Board District 8), Jim Martin (School Board District 5), Ed Ridpath (Fuquay-Varina Board), and Steve Rao (Morrisville Town Council). Social hour begins at 6 p.m., following by the program at 7.

Compiled by staff writers Richard Stradling, Jim Wise, Aliana Ramos, Andrew Kenney and T. Keung Hui

Triangle Politics is a weekly look at the local political scene. Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send e-mail to metroeds@newsobserver.com. Send items by noon Thursday.

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