Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh mayor raising her profile

December 21, 2012 

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane recently passed the midway point of her first term, but she hasn’t yet declared her intentions for next year’s City Council election.

A possible clue came two weeks ago when Perry Woods, the mayor’s political strategist, dropped in on a council meeting to videotape the landmark vote for a park at the Dorothea Dix Hospital campus.

Good fodder for a campaign ad, perhaps?

McFarlane has $30,600 in her campaign account, according to the last round of finance reports filed in July.

In the upcoming legislative year, McFarlane will have a visible role at the statewide level as chairwoman of the N.C. Metro Mayors Coalition, a bipartisan group that advocates in the General Assembly on behalf of urban needs.

McFarlane is even boosting her profile across the pond. She was interviewed on BBC’s Newshour radio program for a segment spotlighting cities of the future. The interview will air at 9 a.m. Dec. 28 on WUNC Radio.

No rush

There hasn’t been a rush of applicants looking to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Wake County school board.

As of Friday, Wendy Ford was the only applicant for the District 1 seat that covers Wake Forest, Rolesville and much of Eastern Wake, according to school officials. Chris Malone will vacate the post Dec. 31 to take the seat in the state House he won in November.

Ford, 62, of Wake Forest says her 19 years on a school board in upstate New York would provide valuable experience in Wake. She served from 1978 to 1997 on the board of the Churchville-Chili Central School District, a 4,250-student district near Rochester.

Ford says she has two grandchildren enrolled in Wake schools. Her son Gregory Ford is principal of Hilburn Drive Academy in North Raleigh, the school district’s only K-8 school with elementary and middle school students.

The board’s eight remaining members will interview applicants and vote on a successor to Malone. The board is officially nonpartisan, but it is led by a Democratic majority, and election records show that Ford is a registered Republican.

Malone’s replacement would finish his term, which runs through November, and of course could run in 2013 for a full four-year term.

Wake is accepting applications through Jan. 4. Go to http://bit.ly/VSuXqj for information on how to apply.

Durham seat in contention

Two of Durham’s major political-action committees have endorsed clinical social worker Anita Daniels to fill Mike Woodard’s seat on the City Council after he leaves office Dec. 31.

The generally conservative Friends of Durham joined the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People in backing Daniels this week. The left-leaning Durham People’s Alliance has endorsed business consultant Don Moffitt.

“Her knowledge in the social services will be a great asset,” the Friends state in a prepared announcement. “Her priorities of jobs, employment and affordable housing caught our attention, and we see these issues as key to the benefit of Durham.”

Daniels and Moffitt are among four applicants for Woodard’s seat. The five remaining council members and Mayor Bill Bell are interviewing candidates Jan. 4 and plan to choose Woodard’s successor prior to their regular meeting Jan. 7. Eleven months remain in Woodard’s term on the council.

If the council can’t choose a successor within 60 days, it has to call a special election at a cost of about $170,000.

Meanwhile, Woodard has been spending a good bit of time in Raleigh, getting oriented for the state Senate District 22 seat he won in November.

Woodward said the first thing new legislators were told about was how they would get paid – an indication, he said, that those doing the orienting had their priorities “screwed up.”

“There aren’t many things Mitt Romney said in his campaign that I agree with,” Woodard said, but he does go along with a bit of advice the Republican presidential candidate quoted from his father: “Never get involved in politics if you have to win an election to pay a mortgage.”

Compiled by staff writers Matt Garfield, T. Keung Hui and Jim Wise.

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