Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Johnston County commissioners to choose replacement for Wade Stewart

March 1, 2013 

The Johnston County Board of Commissioners is close to finding a successor to the late Wade Stewart.

Stewart, who first won election in 1998, died last month of an apparent heart attack after complications from back surgery. Under state law, commissioners must wait for a recommendation from the political party of the deceased official before naming a successor.

Earlier this month, the Johnston County Republican Party forwarded two names to commissioners: Keith Brinson, an agent at Farm Bureau Insurance in Smithfield, and Wade Stewart’s son Chad, a small-business owner in Four Oaks.

Since then, commissioners have been meeting individually with Brinson and Stewart, Chairman Jeff Carver said. “Hopefully, we’ll be getting our thoughts together and someone will be (chosen) at our meeting in March,” he said.

The GOP’s recommendations followed a meeting last month in which the party interviewed applicants, asking them about their qualifications and their goals for the county.

McCrory invites mayors

The mayors of the Triangle’s largest cities and towns have been invited to meet with Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday as the governor hosts members of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition at the Executive Mansion.

McCrory and the mayors will meet behind closed doors starting at 1 p.m., followed by a joint press conference at 1:45 p.m.

The coalition consists of mayors of 28 cities and towns, including Apex, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. As of Friday, 17 mayors had committed to attend, including Nancy McFarlane of Raleigh, Bill Bell of Durham, Keith Weatherly of Apex and Mark Chilton of Carrboro. Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt was a definite maybe.

Whatever their political backgrounds, the mayors will likely find a kindred spirit in McCrory, who has some experience leading a city. He was mayor of Charlotte from 1995 to 2009 and was a charter member of the metropolitan coalition when it was founded in 2001.

Durham GOP to convene

Durham County Republicans will hold their annual convention from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center, 2107 Hillandale Road.

The convention is open to all Durham County residents who were registered Republicans on or before Jan. 31.

The convention will elect officers, adopt a revised organizational plan, and vote on six resolutions concerning reducing the national debt, immigration reform, sound money, support for the right to bear arms, support for Durham Mayor Bill Bell’s proposals for bail-bond reform, and Puerto Rican statehood.

Full texts of the resolutions are posted at

Political Trails

• Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will deliver the state of the city address Monday in room 305 of the Raleigh Convention Center. The address will come during the Raleigh Rotary Club meeting, which starts at noon. McFarlane is scheduled to speak about 12:20 p.m. The public is invited, and admission is free, though there is a $15 charge for lunch.

• Durham County Democrats are holding their annual precinct organizing meetings Tuesday. One item of business is electing delegates for the county convention April 20. Precinct meetings are open to all precinct residents who are registered Democrats. See for meeting times and locations.

• Betsy McCorkle, director of government affairs for the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association, will speak to the Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The cost for lunch is $15. Check-in and social time is at 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon. RSVP to Lisa at 919-303-8870.

Compiled by Derek Quizon and Richard Stradling.

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