When the early votes were posted on Tuesday, Nov. 8, it appeared District 59 Republican state Rep. John Hardister was in trouble in his bid for a sixth term.
Hardister held a very narrow lead over Democrat Sherrie Young.
As the ballots of those who voted on Election Day were posted, Hardister steadily increased his lead and won by a comfortable 12 point margin.
However, the fact that Young finished the night with 15,054 votes for 43.6 percent is something of a shock.
District 59 is rated as a Democrat plus 2 district, which means all things being equal the Democrat should win by 2 points.
But this race was extremely unequal. Young won the Democratic primary with 75 percent of the vote, which was a surprise since there was no evidence that Young campaigned at all. Young spent no money on the primary and didn’t have a website or even a campaign Facebook page.
In the general election, according campaign finance reports, Young didn’t raise or spend a dime. According to those reports Young put $140 into her campaign and then paid herself $140 for the expense of “holding office.” Since Young doesn’t hold any elected office this is at best a questionable campaign finance expense.
But Young lists no other donations or expenses on her campaign finance report.
Young did have some campaign signs for the general election, but how those signs were paid for is also a question since she lists no donations or expenses on her campaign finance report. There is no evidence that the Young campaign bought any advertisements, had any brochures printed or otherwise spent money.
Young also has charges pending against her in Guilford County court for discharging a firearm in the city limits and “going armed to the terror of people.” She allegedly threatened people with a handgun.
Hardister, who was elected to his sixth term in the state House, said that despite the lack of campaign activity by his opponent, “We didn’t take the race lightly.”
Hardister’s campaign finance reports are markedly different from Young’s. The reports show that Hardister raised over $300,000 for his reelection campaign
Hardister said that in the course of his campaign he knocked on about 5,000 doors as well as doing advertising and mailers.
So in this race there was a Republican five-term incumbent who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his campaign up against a Democratic opponent running for the first time who officially spent nothing on her campaign.
And at the end of early voting the two were running neck and neck.
Politics is a strange game.