One incumbent Raleigh City Council member lost a financial advantage over her opponent in the last few weeks.
Ashton Mae Smith, a political newcomer running for council in District D, surged ahead of incumbent Kay Crowder in fundraising between the end of July and beginning of September, according to campaign finance reports released this week.
Crowder began her campaign in early July with about $26,500, while Smith started with about $2,000. By September, Smith had $36,700 and Crowder had $26,700.
Donations from employees at Citrix, where Smith works, and bar and restaurant owners bolstered her campaign. Smith said her campaign garnered attention after the council's decision in August to limit when bars and restaurants can serve customers on city sidewalks. Crowder voted for the rules. Smith opposes them.
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Many residents see the sidewalk crackdown as sign of bigger problems, Smith said.
“This was one of a couple instances where it feels like we’ve been a reactive city instead of a proactive city,” Smith said.
Crowder, for her part, says the fundraising numbers aren’t an indication of pending election success for Smith. Crowder pointed out that her numbers were down because she left the state on vacation for two weeks in August. (Smith, saying she heard that Crowder took a break, noted her own setback after being hit by a car on July 21.)
Crowder said she’s continued receiving donations at a steady pace, and isn’t worried about losing. She noted how much of Smith’s money came from “the development and bar industries.”
“I have received 33 (percent) from development and entertainment, and I am very grateful for them,” Crowder wrote in an email. “But I have many more contributions from the citizens of District D, and I believe that balance of contributors is vital.”
Smith was the only challenger to have more cash on hand than her opponent by the end of August, but other challengers gained ground.
In District B, challenger David Cox raised $3,000 more than incumbent John Odom, but Odom entered September with about $4,000 more on hand because of prior donations. Odom had $11,700, and Cox had $6,700.
In the race for two at-large seats, candidate Matt Tomasulo raised more than twice as much as his three opponents over the last month. But he still entered September with less money than the two at-large incumbents, Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson. Tomasulo entered September with $32,400. Baldwin had $54,000 and Stephenson had $50,800. Craig Ralph, the other at-large challenger, had $2,500.
Incumbents Nancy McFarlane, Eugene Weeks and Bonner Gaylord maintained large fundraising leads over challengers in their respective races. McFarlane hopes to keep her seat as mayor. Weeks is in District C and Gaylord is in District E.
District A is the only council race that doesn’t feature an incumbent. Between late July and September, J.B. Buxton raised $53,600, Dickie Thompson raised $22,700 and Eddie Woodhouse raised $15,500.
The campaign for Raleigh council candidate Dickie Thompson on Friday clarified a statement it made about being endorsed by local police.
Thompson’s campaign announced Thursday that he had received an endorsement from Mayor Nancy McFarlane and added that Thompson had also been endorsed by local police and firefighters.
However, the Raleigh Police Protective Association, a local Teamsters branch that represents most of the police force, endorsed J.B. Buxton in District A.
“Dickie is honored to accept the endorsements of Mayor Nancy McFarlane and the AFL-CIO,” Thompson’s campaign manager Dave Miranda wrote in a statement.
“There was some confusion as to whether the AFL-CIO endorsement represented an endorsement from local police, when in fact the Teamsters chose to endorse J.B. Buxton,” Miranda wrote. “Neither Dickie nor his campaign intended to mislead anyone.”
Buxton said he appreciated the clarification and didn’t harbor any ill feelings toward Thompson.
Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes became a teacher assistant for a day on Friday, and one of the things that caught her attention was the challenge that teachers have finding time for bathroom breaks because of the lack of classroom support.
Holmes is among the Democratic politicians who have been volunteering at schools and using the #1dayTA hashtag to protest potential cuts by the Republican-led General Assembly in funding for teacher assistants. While at Baucom Elementary School in Apex, Holmes tweeted several times about how the lack of teacher assistants to watch the classrooms means teachers have to plan their bathroom breaks carefully.
“‘We try to train our bladders.’ Teachers can't leave their classrooms so they hold it. Are waiting on #ncga to use bathroom #1DayTA #NC,” tweeted Holmes, an attorney for the N.C. Association of Educators.
Holmes tweeted about teachers asking colleagues to watch their classrooms and having to hurry down hallways to use the bathroom quickly. In solidarity, she didn’t leave the classroom, either.
“In middle of a spelling quiz Realize I haven't been to the bathroom all day Teacher can’t go so I won't go #1DayTA,” Holmes tweeted.
▪ Candidates for Raleigh mayor and city council have been invited to the next meeting of the Raleigh Republican Club on Thursday, Sept. 10, at Milton’s Pizza, Six Forks Road at Strickland Road. Dinner begins at 5:30, followed by the meeting at 6 p.m.
▪ State House Democratic Leader Larry Hall will speak to the Wake Democratic Men’s Club on Monday, Sept. 14, at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 320 Hillsborough St. Doors open 6 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m. Make dinner reservations by Thursday, Sept. 10, to WakeDMC@mail.com. Dinner $20 for members, $23 for non-members.
▪ Candidates for Durham mayor and city council have been invited to a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Orange, Durham and Chatham Counties on Tuesday, Sept. 15. The forum begins at 6 p.m. at the Durham Public Library South Regional Campus, 4505 South Alston Ave.
Compiled by Paul A. Specht and T. Keung Hui.
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