The Wake County Republican Party is already making its endorsements for the fall municipal elections, and the GOP is snubbing Raleigh mayoral candidate Venita Peyton in favor of a political newcomer.
Chiropractor and military police officer Robert Weltzin has the partys backing against incumbent Nancy McFarlane, an independent. Weltzin moved to Raleigh three years ago and is making his first run for elected office.
Peyton, a real-estate broker and community activist, was originally a Democrat. But she crossed party lines in a 1999 mayoral runoff to help Republican Paul Coble beat his Democratic opponent. Shes now a registered Republican but says shes not using party labels in this campaign.
Meanwhile, Weltzin kicked off his campaign with a disclosure: He was convicted of drunk driving in 2010. To this day I still do not remember the details of this incident on how or why I was driving, he said in a news release announcing his candidacy. Beyond being upfront and honest about this, all I can ask is that the citizens of Raleigh take into consideration what I can bring to the position and how much time I can devote to the city.
Wake GOP snubs Sears
The Wake Republican Party delivered a surprise to Dick Sears, longtime mayor of Holly Springs, when it endorsed his challenger, former councilman Vinnie DeBenedetto, in the technically non-partisan race.
To Sears recollection, its the first time in four campaigns that he hasnt won the endorsement of his local party. He complained that the county group hadnt properly considered his 12-year record.
Sears, who says he is considering leaving the party, said he isnt sure the partys choice will hurt him.
With the way things are going with the Republican Party in Raleigh, it might even help me not to be endorsed, Sears said. If you look at whats been going on with the legislature theres been an awful lot of dissension, an awful lot of trials and tribulations, an awful lot of bills that many of the mayors, including me, have protested against.He also noted that he was unable to submit a written statement to the party during the selection process because he was given only a days notice. But the missing statement had no effect on the selection committees choice, according to Donna Williams, chair of the county Republican party.
Honestly, it was more of a courtesy to ask him for his words, Williams said. We know him, and hes served his community a long time.
Carrboro Alderwoman Michelle Johnson said she felt like she couldnt breathe when she heard the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
So last weekend, Johnson organized a gathering in Carrboro Town Hall called Remembering Trayvon Martin. About 55 people attended.
In an interview, Johnson said she felt a responsibility as a black elected leader to do something.
Trayvon Martins case is so public, she said. But teens of color are getting killed all the time. And even when they are not physically hurt, children of color suffer in other ways such as the achievement gap that limits their opportunities.
The history of black people in this country is rooted in slavery and laws and public policy that have treated dark-skinned people as less, Johnson said.
To those who say slavery ended a long time ago, she said: Its not that long. I think that (statement) is a way of distancing. When I hear that, I think thats a way of negating that legacy. If we think in 2013 were so far removed from that, were not.
• Becki Gray, vice president for outreach at the John Locke Foundation, will speak to the Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary.
Check-in and social time is 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. Lunch is $15. RSVP to Kathy Dusto at 919-244-6764.
• Durham Democratic Women are holding a public meeting on Voting Rights and Voting Wrongs: The Battle We Must Win, on Sunday, Aug. 4, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Durham County Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.
Civil rights historian and Duke Divinity School professor Timothy Tyson speaks on the history of voting-rights suppression of voting rights in North Carolina. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or see bit.ly/1c3ZiI9.
Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to email@example.com. Send items by noon Thursday.
Compiled by Colin Campbell, Andrew Kenney and Mark Schultz.