SPECIAL TO THE WILMINGTON JOURNAL FROM THE CAROLINIAN
Editor’s Note: Emma Saunders, Kevin Spears, and Sandra Lee are the three Democratic Party candidates for New Hanover County Board of Education on the November ballot.
Both Roy Cooper and Gov. Pat McCrory ran away from their competition in this week’s North Carolina primaries, as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump claimed victories at the top for ticket for their respective Democratic and Republican Parties.
However, the race for North Carolina’s governor in November may well get the attention of political experts well beyond our borders.
The “political fur” has already begun to fly as Cooper with his newly calmed victory over Democratic challenger Ken Spaulding has sought to tie McCrory to Donald Trump, saying, “For too long, we have seen Gov. McCrory had out tax giveaways to the large corporations at the expense of public education and the middle class.”
The governor on the other had continues to stick with his campaign slogan “Carolina Comeback,” sighting an economy that reportedly has added more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs, and an administration that cut taxes and paid off a $2.5 billion unemployment insurance debt to the federal government ahead of schedule.
Cooper’s challenger, Ken Spaulding, was critical of Cooper’s office be responsible for defending laws passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly, including law requiring voter IDs and allowing magistrates to recuse themselves from officiating at gay marriage. Although Cooper publicly disagreed with many of those laws, he said his office has a constitutional duty to defend them.
Both Cooper and Gov. McCrory are likely to be queried even more extensively from North Carolina voters about the direction of the state economically. With the economy’s health depending so heavily on consumer spending the cry of “more jobs” will continue to be a challenge to both candidates.
Opponents of Gov. McCrory’s highly touted economic program have found it to be short of the mark when it came to bring new industry to the state. The question continues to loom in some corridors as to will any movement be made on behalf of either one of the candidates to include in their economic thrusts the badly needed development of Wilmington’s NC’s harbor.
However, with campaign war chests well into the millions, the governor’s race promises to be on front in center across the state going into the November general elections.
In other races around the state Linda Coleman bested her Democratic challengers in the Lt. Governor’s race to earn the right to square off again against Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Ms. Coleman lost by a scant 7,000 votes to Forest in 2012, and promises to make this a hotly contested contest in November.
Former Raleigh mayor Charles Meeker emerged victorious in the Democratic Primary race for Commissioner of Labor. Meeker will face longtime state labor commissioner Cherie Berry in November.
Meeker promises if elected he will replace the elevator photos of the commissioner with pictures of working North Carolinians. He fines the elevator photos to be “self-promotion by a career politician.”
In the State Superintendent of Public Schools race incumbent June Atkinson is poised to face Republican Mark Johnson. Atkinson will be seeking her fourth term in that position.
Raleigh attorney Dan Blue III is the pick for State Treasurer in the Democratic Primary. Blue’s position has been throughout the race that the state’s obligation to retirees is to find the best managers available for the state’s pension fund inside or outside the treasurer’s office.
Republican incumbent Richard Burr may well face stiff competition to retain is Senate seat in November, as former state Rep. Deborah Ross has emerged from the Democratic Primary to face off against Burr in November. Ross wasted no time in blaming Burr for being responsible for cutting Social Security and Medicare funding.
And lastly, the $2 Billion Connect NC Bond referendum was supported by a whopping two thirds of voters across the state supporting it. A key component in the bond is the backing of state borrowing that would go to the state’s public universities and community colleges with the rest going to spending on water and sewer projects, state parks, and facilities for agriculture, public safety and the National Guard.
Concerns still remain as to the firm commitment of bond funds to state universities such as Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, NC Central University, NC A&T University, UNC-Pembroke, and Winston Salem State University.
The funding of these universities in those areas where needed is paramount at this time. Bond observers view a failure to follow through on the wishes of NC voters as a breach in the public trust in our investment in higher education.