Wake County

Cary councilman leaves GOP

Cary Town Councilman Don Frantz announced this week that he is changing his voter registration from Republican to unaffiliated because he’s “disgusted” with hyper-partisan politics – mostly on the national level.

Frantz is a 44-year-old mechanic who owns an auto shop in downtown Cary. He said he first registered as a Republican in the early 2000s, before he was elected to the Town Council in 2007. He previously was listed as unaffiliated.

Since he entered public office, he’s been an outspoken voice for a limited-government approach to town growth. He served as a delegate at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Frantz said in an interview that his views as a fiscal conservative haven’t changed. But in an entry on his blog, titled “Breaking up is hard to do,” he listed several reasons why he’s dissatisfied with actions of the national party and the overall discord between Republicans and Democrats.

The Cary Town Council is officially nonpartisan. With Frantz’s decision, the board now has two Republicans, two Democrats and two unaffiliated members. The seventh seat on the council is vacant.

Apex mayoral race begins

Filing for municipal elections doesn’t open until July, but former Apex Town Council member Lance Olive doesn’t see any reason to wait. This week, he announced his intent to run for mayor of Apex, a seat that will be up for grabs in November.

Olive served one term on the Town Council, from 2009 to 2013, but chose not to seek reelection. Olive, 51, is the business operations director for Better Boards, a small business in Cary that designs circuit boards.

He said he plans to make business growth a major emphasis of his campaign, and he wants the town to be more ambitious in encouraging development.

Apex Mayor Bill Sutton has said he doesn’t intend to run for the seat. Sutton, the former town manager, is finishing the four-year term he was appointed to in early 2014 after Keith Weatherly stepped down in 2013 to work as a lobbyist.

Political events

▪ Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Ken Marshburn, Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne and Wake Commissioner Matt Calabria will take part in a forum about growth sponsored by WakeUp Wake County on Monday, March 16, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Logan’s Roadhouse, 1000 Timber Drive East in Garner.

▪ Brad Crone, president of Campaign Connections, and Chris Fitzsimon of N.C. Policy Watch will discuss whether Hillary Clinton is electable in North Carolina and nationally at the Wake Senior Democrats meeting Wednesday, March 18, at the Crabtree Marriott in Raleigh. The meeting starts at 11 a.m. with lunch followed by the program at 11:30 a.m.

▪ Laura Leslie, Capitol Bureau Chief for WRAL-TV, will speak about the 2015 General Assembly as part of the League of Women Voters of Wake County Timley Topics Series on Friday, March 27, at noon at the NCSU University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Lunch reservations at $16 per person must be made at www.lwvwake.org by March 23.

Staff writers Paul A. Specht and Will Doran

Got a tip or coming event? Send an email to Triangle Politics at metroeds@newsobserver.com.

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