Pundit weighs meaning of Debra Goldman election

Posted by Dan Barkin on November 6, 2013 

The news from Ronda, NC, is that former Wake school board member and almost state auditor Debra Goldman was elected Tuesday to the town commission with write-in votes. I am not going to do paragraphs of background on Goldman. Follow the above hyperlink. Or go here. Plenty of material.

You probably notice in reading national web sites that every election has to be analyzed for its lessons.

“Five takeaways from Virginia” is the way these things are headlined on Huffington Post or Politico.

I can’t give you five takeaways from Ronda, because I don’t have a tight grip on what’s been going on in that little Wilkes County town since Goldman moved there from Cary after a fairly interesting political career in these parts.

I take it that she went to some town council meetings and gave them a piece of her mind, which she has always been very good at. And that must have turned some heads in Ronda because she got 59 write-in votes and she is back in the game.

My one solid takeaway is that - after reading Keung Hui’s story about Decision 2013 in Ronda - I have hit on a way to fulfill one of my life’s ambitions, which is to get elected to something.

Originally, my secret plan was that after I retired from this journalism thing that has been my life’s work, I would run for the state House of Representatives from Clayton, which would then enable me to get a per diem to drive to Raleigh and sit in the legislature and read the paper all day, waiting for guidance from the leadership. That would be sweet.

But I have come to realize that a lot of people want to be in the legislature and read the paper and wait to hear from the leadership. In order to win a state House seat - and I have studied on this - I would need to present voters with a resume of civic involvement and accomplishment, like coaching rec league soccer or PTA secretary-treasurer, and I don’t have that.

I pretty much have nothing except that I was on the marching band pit crew because my wife signed me up because my daughter was the drum major, and I complained about it from August through November around a decade ago. The other members of the pit crew, if they remember me at all, remember me as a whiny slacker who didn’t like to lift heavy stuff. When I turned 50 in the middle of my tour, I announced I was not moving any more heavy band props because of my advanced age.

So that’s it. Mostly, all I have done for 40 years is work at a newspaper and go home and watch increasingly better TVs.

But the Goldman thing sent me to the State Board of Elections web site, and I discovered that there are about a gazillion little towns all over North Carolina that held elections Tuesday. And in most of them, about 16 people voted. These towns are there for the taking.

So I could be a mayor. The winner of the mayor race in Elk Park got 21 votes Tuesday, against one sore-headed write-in voter in that Avery County town, pop. 452. I could move to town, make a couple of dozen friends, and, boom, I’m runnin’ Elk Park.

Or I could move to the town of Fontana Dam, where the winner was elected mayor with seven votes. According to my most reliable source, the town incorporated two years ago and has 33 folks living there. How hard would it be to convince eight of them to write me in next time? Just go to a bunch of council meetings and give the city fathers the business. I’m in.

But the path of least resistance has to be the Clinton City Council. Clinton is my wife’s hometown. Her family has lived there since the 18th century. Since before they created Sampson County out of Duplin.

A guy won a city council seat Tuesday with 8 votes, unopposed with zero write-ins. With family connections, heck, I could take that guy. Most of my wife’s people would vote for me. Sure they would.

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