In the US Senate race there is little doubt that former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is going to win the Democratic primary. She has by far the most money and the Democratic state leadership cleared out her real competition.
However, reports indicate that the national Democratic leadership has already given up on Beasley and doesn’t plan to spend much if anything on her campaign in the fall.
Even with the Democratic Party clearing out her competition, Beasley is still being challenged by 10 Democrats.
One of the 10, Tobias LaGrone, a clinical counselor from Greensboro, stands out from the other candidates by having opinions that do not follow the mantra of the mainstream liberal Democratic Party.
He actually calls himself a “conservative Democrat” – an entity that many people thought was extinct and is certainly an endangered species.
LaGrone, on his campaign website, states, “I am a Pro-life Conservative Democrat, I believe that all life is sacred from the womb to the tomb, because God created every Soul on purpose, for purpose and with purpose. In terms of our tax dollars, we as people of faith do have a right to demand that our tax dollars NOT be used to abort the God-designed destiny of any child, either through abortions, unjustified police shootings, school to prison pipelines, or foreign wars for corporate interests.”
LaGrone also states, “As your United States Senator, I will work to provide safe communities, livable wages, affordable housing, affordable childcare, affordable healthcare, job training, fair law enforcement, and quality educational opportunities.”
LaGrone is the rare Democratic who isn’t kowtowing to the Democratic Party line and is the best choice in this crowded primary.
NC House District 59
Eddie Aday is the better candidate in this race. Aday has a long history of service to the country, first as a Marine and then as a member of the Florida National Guard, where he was deployed to Iraq. Aday then served as a diplomatic security officer in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He currently manages a small farm in Gibsonville. On his campaign website he states, “In Raleigh, I’ll champion policies and programs that balance the needs of industry with smart environmental stewardship so that we can protect our lands for hunting, fishing, camping and hiking for years to come.”
He supports “robust funding” for public education, speaking out against racism and bigotry, basic medical care for all, promoting local agriculture and support for veterans.
Our search for information about Aday’s opponent, Sherrie Young, has not been fruitful.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican District 59 state Rep. and House Majority Whip Jon Hardister in the general election.
The Democratic primary for Guilford County district attorney is the election for that office – since no Republicans filed to run. It means that registered Republicans in Guilford County have no role in choosing the district attorney.
Guilford County District Attorney Avery Michelle Crump is facing Brenton Boyce in the primary.
Crump was elected in 2018 and has not pleased law enforcement or judges in Guilford County with the way she has run the office. In November 2021, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge John Craig ordered Crump to hold special sessions to clear up the backlog of homicide cases that had not been tried. This was worked out without special sessions, but the fact that Craig ordered it is an indication of how dire the situation was.
Attorneys have complained that minor cases were going to court while major felonies were not.
Brenton Boyce currently has his own law practice but worked for the Guilford County Public Defender’s office for four years and has practiced with law firms in Greensboro and Charlotte.
On his campaign web page Boyce states, “My plan is to use the Office of the District Attorney to make our criminal justice system more fair, efficient, and accountable to the public. We restore fairness by using common-sense criminal justice reforms to protect people’s civil liberties and by believing that no person is above the law. We restore efficiency and protect our community by using our limited resources to prioritize the prosecution of violent crimes.”
Those all sound like good ideas and, according to those who work in the courts, are much needed.
Boyce is the better choice.
Board of Commissioners At Large
At-large Guilford County Commissioner Kay Cashion has been on the Board of Commissioners since 2004, first representing District 6 and then elected as the lone at-large commissioner in 2018.
Cashion was the driving force behind establishing the family justice centers in Greensboro and High Point. In Greensboro, Cashion somehow managed to get the Greensboro City Council to help fund the founding of the new Guilford County department.
Another one of her successful projects was founding the Guilford County Citizens’ Academy.
Although Cashion supports most of the Democratic initiatives, she is one of the few Democrats who will stand up to Chairman of the Guilford County Commissioners Skip Alston, if she disagrees.
Cashion is the better candidate in this race.
Greg Drumwright is also running for the at-large seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, and if you believe the current board is too conservative, Drumwright should win your vote.
Drumwright is well known for leading Black Lives Matter protests in Graham, where he was arrested and convicted of two misdemeanors. He is appealing those convictions.
This is Drumwright’s second run for public office. In 2018 he ran for a seat on the Guilford County Board of Education but lost.
Board of Commissioners District 7
District 7 Guilford County Commissioner Frankie Jones hasn’t been a county commissioner very long. In February, Jones was appointed to fill the seat left vacant by the death of County Commissioner Carolyn Coleman.
Jones is a vice president and managing director in the investments department at Lincoln Financial and has a long history of public service in Greensboro.
In his short time on the Board of Commissioners, Jones has done a good job and deserves the opportunity to show what he can do with a full four-year term.
Jones was nominated by the Guilford County Democratic Party and confirmed by the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, which is a strong indication that a lot of folks thought he was the best person for the job.
Jones is running against Anthony Izzard and Lisa McMillan in the Democratic primary.
Clerk of Superior Court
Clerk of Superior Court Lisa Johnson-Tokins is being challenged in her reelection bid by a former employee, Lu-Ann Wilkinson.
There is no Republican running so the winner of the Democratic primary will be elected to office.
Johnson-Tonkins was first elected clerk in 2014 and is running for her third term. Before being elected clerk, Johnson-Tonkins was a Guilford County assistant district attorney and prior to that was an attorney in private practice.
Wilkinson is a graduate of UNC-CH and worked in the clerk’s office from 2012 to 2020 and was promoted several times. She left to work for a nonprofit in 2020.
Wilkinson has clear goals about changes she would like to make to the clerk’s office and says that the office would benefit from a fresh perspective and new leadership. One of those goals is to reduce the high turnover rate. As someone who worked in the office and left, she should have some ideas about how that could be done.
Running against an incumbent is usually tough and is particularly difficult when the incumbent is the daughter of former Mayor and current City Councilmember Yvonne Johnson.
Wilkinson would bring change and a new perspective to managing the clerk’s office and should get a chance to give it a try.
Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers was elected in 2018 and is running for a second term. He is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Therron J. (T.J.) Phipps and Juan Monjaras.
Phipps is a retired Greensboro Police Department captain with nearly 30 years’ experience in law enforcement.
Rogers, who defeated former Sheriff BJ Barnes in 2018, has had a lot of well publicized difficulties running the Sheriff’s Department – some of those caused by a lack of law enforcement experience himself. Also, Rogers made his job more difficult by immediately firing 28 experienced officers, reportedly because he thought they were loyal to Barnes. Because of those firings he lost his chief deputy, E.L. Melvin, who has law enforcement experience and is now running for sheriff in the Republican primary.
The Sheriff’s Department, like other law enforcement agencies, has been shorthanded throughout Rogers’ tenure, but other agencies didn’t fire a bunch of experienced law enforcement officers for political reasons.
Jail deaths and having his own vehicle stolen from the Sheriff’s Department parking lot are just some of the unfavorable news stories in the past four years.
Monjaras has worked for both the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and the Greensboro Police Department but doesn’t have the experience in law enforcement or leadership that Phipps does.
With nearly 30 years’ experience, Phipps knows law enforcement and is the better candidate for Guilford County sheriff.