Triangle Politics: A weekly look at the local political scene

Triangle Politics: Dems can't choose between Raleigh council District D candidates

From staff reportsAugust 30, 2013 

The Wake County Democratic Party picked mostly incumbents for its Raleigh City Council candidate endorsements, which were announced Thursday.

One notable exception came in Southwest Raleigh’s District D, where the Dems couldn’t decide between longtime incumbent Thomas Crowder and newcomer Jim Kemp Sherron. Both got the party’s support.

And in Northeast Raleigh’s District B – where incumbent John Odom is the council’s lone Republican – challenger Brian Fitzsimmons got the nod over fellow registered Democrat Sam Smith. Smith, however, isn’t without endorsements: His campaign recently announced backing from two labor groups, the N.C. AFL-CIO and the Triangle Labor Council.

Rounding out the Democrats’ council endorsements were the other incumbents: Mayor Nancy McFarlane and council members Mary-Ann Baldwin, Russ Stephenson, Randy Stagner, Eugene Weeks and Bonner Gaylord. McFarlane, Stagner and Gaylord are registered as independents, while the others are Democrats.

Also this week, McFarlane took some heat for her handling of the homeless food handouts in Moore Square. Her opponent in the mayoral race, Venita Peyton, lashed out on Twitter by saying “condescending mayor fails to apologize to the homeless or their supporters.” The mayor also got criticism in a blog post by Hugh Hollowell of Love Wins Ministries, one of the groups that distribute food. He voiced disappointment that McFarlane had apparently backed out of a WUNC public radio interview after learning Hollowell was appearing on the show.

‘Nice woman’ wanted

Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley is looking for a good conservative, preferably a woman, to replace him.

Gurley announced Thursday that he won’t run for re-election next year because he was moved into Commissioner Betty Lou Ward’s district. Commissioners are elected from the district they live in but run countywide. The districts are redrawn after every census.

Gurley told members of the Wake County Taxpayers Association that they need to find someone to run for his new district, which now includes Cary and Apex. He said the three other Republican incumbents running next year need help continuing to “support a conservative agenda.”

“I don’t know that you find four men who get along as well as we do in any elected office,” Gurley said to laughter from the audience. “But we need somebody. A nice woman would be great because four old men just isn’t electable. A younger woman, that would be good, too.”

Gurley gave a hint about his own future saying, “I have to wait two years.” That would coincide with when Ward’s seat is up for re-election in 2016.

Durham group backs Bell

The Durham People’s Alliance has given Mayor Bill Bell a sweep of re-election endorsements by Durham’s three major political-action committees.

Bell, a 12-year incumbent, won the PA endorsement over challengers Michael Valentine and Sylvester Williams. Bell had already been endorsed by the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the Friends of Durham.

The PA, a self-described “progressive” organization, departed from the business-oriented Friends and the Committee with its endorsements for the Ward 2 and Ward 3 City Council seats.

Retired educator Eddie Davis got the PA nod to succeed retiring Councilman Howard Clement in Ward 2, while incumbent Don Moffitt was favored in Ward 3 over former County Commissioner Pam Karriker.

The Committee and Friends of Durham both endorsed Karriker and bail bondsman Omar Beasley in Ward 2.

Ward 1 incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden also won endorsement by all three groups. She is running unopposed.

Political Events

• Several candidates for western Wake County municipal races will appear at the monthly meeting of The Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The cost for lunch is $20. Check-in and social time is at 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon. RSVP to Lisa at 919-303-8870.

• The Wake County Democratic Party will hold its Labor Day picnic on Sept. 7 at 4 p.m. at 313 S. Fuquay Ave., Fuquay-Varina. Tickets start at $30. For more information, call Paulette Hill at 919-828.5656 or email

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to Send items by noon Thursday.

Compiled by Colin Campbell, T. Keung Hui and Jim Wise.

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