Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh council candidate won’t talk politics in God’s house

September 13, 2013 

Raleigh City Council and mayoral hopefuls will share their visions for the city at a forum Monday – but one candidate won’t be there.

Sam Smith, who is running for Northeast Raleigh’s District B, doesn’t think the venue is appropriate. The League of Women Voters, WakeUp Wake County and several other groups are hosting the forum at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

“I don’t believe we should be holding political forums in a church,” Smith said. “It’s disrespectful for the church and disrespectful for the seat I’m running for.”

It’s not that Smith doesn’t feel comfortable in a church – he’s actually a Baptist – but he says he doesn’t want to campaign for office in God’s house.

Marian Lewin of the League of Women Voters said her group is willing to consider other locations – provided they don’t charge rent.

“We are open to holding it anywhere that will donate the venue,” Lewin said. “We don’t have enough money to rent the space.”

The forum starts at 7 p.m. Monday. Lewin said all other candidates have agreed to attend.

Bond backers run TV ad

Supporters of the $810 million Wake County school construction bond issue are using an “it’s for the children” theme in their first TV ad.

The spot from the Friends of Wake County talks about how “students and teachers deserve the best teaching environment” amid images of smiling students. The commercial argues that the bonds will reduce overcrowding and provide needed technology while helping strengthen the economy and property values.

The 30-second spot is running on cable TVn. You can view the video at

Ed Jones, chairman of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, said his group hopes to raise enough money to run anti-bond ads the final week of the campaign. The bond referendum is on the Oct. 8 ballot.

Council retiree makes pick

Retiring Durham City Council member Howard Clement has endorsed candidate Del Mattioli to succeed him as the Ward 2 representative. “She brings to the table intelligence, integrity, truthfulness and a willingness to serve,” Clement said in a prepared statement.

Mattioli, who owns a financial advisory firm, is one of four candidates seeking the council seat Clement has held since 1983. Two candidates will be eliminated in the Oct. 8 primary.

Clement’s endorsement is the first by a political figure for Mattioli, a political newcomer in Durham. The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People and the business-oriented Friends of Durham endorsed bail bondsman Omar Beasley, and the self-described “progressive” Durham People’s Alliance endorsed retired educator Eddie Davis.

Minister and funeral director Franklin Hanes is the fourth candidate in Ward 2, which covers southeastern Durham.

Political events

• The organizations hosting Monday’s forum for Raleigh council and mayoral candidates are also holding two more forums for Wake school board candidates, in District 7 and District 1. The forums are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., starting with a half-hour bond information session. The schedule: District 7, Thursday at St. Francis of Assisi, 11401 Leesville Road, in Raleigh; District 1, Thursday, Sept. 26, at Wake Chapel Church, 3805 Tarheel Club Road, in Raleigh. For more information, go to

• Bill Franklin, Democratic activist from Alamance County, will speak on strategies for combating voter suppression at the meeting of Wake County Senior Democrats on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. A Dutch lunch will begin at 11 with the program following. The meeting is open to the public.

• Former U.S. Rep. Brad Miller will be honored Sept. 21 as a “Democratic Hero” by the Wake County Democratic Men. The event will be at 6 p.m. at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown Hotel, 3415 Wake Forest Road, in Raleigh. Tickets start at $50. For more information, go to

• Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill will discuss “2013 School Bond Referendum: Its Importance and Challenges” at a Sept. 27 luncheon sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Wake County. The meeting will begin at noon at the NCSU University Club, 4300 Hillsborough St., in Raleigh. The public is welcome, but lunch reservations at $16 per person must be made at by Sept. 23. People who only want to hear Merrill speak but not eat must also RSVP by that deadline.

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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