On Oct. 10, Raleigh City Councilman Dickie Thompson will try to defend a council seat that’s changed hands each of the past three elections.
Thompson, 63, has deep roots in the city, particularly in its development community. But District A, which spans the suburbs of North Raleigh, is no lock for Democrats such as Thompson. His 2015 victory came on the heels of two terms of Republican representation.
His challenger is fellow Raleigh native Alex Moore, 30, a first-time candidate and fiscal conservative. He’s part of a group of candidates that also includes Republican mayoral hopeful Paul Fitts and at-large council candidate Robb Ward, who are all running long-shot campaigns to bring conservative principles to Raleigh city government.
Moore’s campaign has raised $200. Thompson’s has raised more than $10,000 this cycle and had $11,850 on hand going into the final month of campaigning.
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Bio: Thompson is an executive vice president with J.M. Thompson Co., his family’s nearly century-old construction business. An N.C. State University graduate who studied civil engineering, Thompson is also a member and former chairman of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and a former chairman of Raleigh’s planning commission.
Issues: Fast-growing District A’s most pressing concerns tend to be related to roads, development and rezoning cases. Thompson said he’s been a strong advocate for neighborhoods worried by some development proposals. He also said he’s proud to have been a driving force behind equipping the city’s first responders with overdose-reversing medications in response to a growing opioid epidemic. Thompson voted to approve a 1 cent property tax increase last year, which will fund a $5.7 million increase in the city’s annual output of new affordable housing units.
Endorsements/affiliations: Thompson, a registered Democrat, has been endorsed by the Raleigh Police Protective Association, Raleigh Firefighters Association and Wake County Democratic Party.
In his own words: “There aren’t any easy solutions when it comes to affordable housing. We’ve studied what people are doing all across the country, and no one has it completely figured out.”
Bio: Moore attended Sanderson High School and went straight into the commercial construction business after graduating. He works in real estate. This is his first time running for office.
Issues: Moore said he would work to ensure the city’s police officers and firefighters are well-compensated and treated fairly. The Raleigh City Council recently adjusted first responders’ pay to keep up with salaries offered in nearby towns, only to anger the officers earlier this month in a consent agenda vote curtailing some of their benefits. The council has since reversed those changes. On affordable housing, Moore said he would work to eliminate inconsistencies in development regulations that cut into builders’ profit margins, forcing rents that much higher. But he said he didn’t think the city ought to go much further. He said his own experience overcoming personal debt has informed his desire to reshuffle Raleigh’s fiscal policy, which he believes is far too reliant on borrowing.
Endorsements/affiliations: Moore is a registered Republican. He has been endorsed by the Wake County Republican Party and the Police Benevolent Association.
In his own words: “I hate to say this, but sometimes life is unfair. So in the free market, I don’t think the City Council should go in and try to play the great equalizer. The City Council should not have that much power.”
Gargan: 919-829-4807; @hgargan