There are 15 Democratic presidential candidates on the ballot. Only eight are still officially in the race, but if you don’t like any of the candidates left in the race, you can send a message by voting for someone like Marianne Williamson or Sen. Cory Booker, who have dropped out, but votes for them still count.
Of the eight left, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard deserves consideration just because it would be cool to have a president who went surfing instead of playing golf.
But the candidate who has received some votes and might have an outside shot at winning is Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She is moderate enough to win a national election, has experience in the Senate and appears to have all her wits about her.
For US Senate it would be fun to endorse state Sen. Erica D. Smith, but then people would think we were in the pocket of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is reportedly linked to a PAC that is running pro-Smith ads. It’s evidently an attempt to force a runoff and get former state Sen. Cal Cunningham to spend more money on his campaign so he will have less to spend in the fall against Republican Sen. Tom Tillis.
Smith and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller are both in favor of the Green New Deal and Medicare for all, which is pretty far left. Atul Goel, a retired physician, and Steve Swenson have reportedly raised less than $10,000, which is not enough to take a statewide candidate seriously.
According to the latest reports, Cunningham has raised over $4 million, which means he is the only candidate with the funds to go up against Tillis.
US House of Representatives District 6
The winner of the 6th District Democratic primary has more or less won the election. The mainstream media keep reporting that the newly drawn 6th District “leans Democrat.” But it leans so far Democrat that 6th District Rep. Mark Walker decided he couldn’t win it. If a three-term incumbent doesn’t see a path to victory in the district, it seems a more powerful word than lean should be used.
Former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis has become a perennial candidate. He’s run for the state Senate as an independent and as a Democrat.
He’s run for mayor of High Point twice and he’s run for Congress in both the 6th District and the 13th District and is now running again in the 6th District.
That’s a lot of races to lose and it’s difficult to support a candidate who constantly files to run and loses.
Rhonda Foxx has a different problem. She registered to vote in Guilford County on Dec. 13, 2019 and filed to run for Congress on Dec. 16, 2019. In November 2019, she voted in Cumberland County. She has also only voted in North Carolina seven times since 2004 and only once in a primary election.
District 72 State Rep. Derwin Montgomery and Ed Hanes would each have a much better shot if the other weren’t running. Montgomery served three terms on the Winston-Salem City Council before moving on to finish our Hanes’ term in the general assembly in 2018. Montgomery also inherited Hanes spot on the ballot for the general election in 2018, which he won. Hanes served nearly six years in the legislature before stepping down and handing the seat to Montgomery.
I think Guilford County, the third largest in the state, should have a representative in Congress and the 6th District is Guilford County’s only opportunity, which makes Kathy Manning the best candidate.
In 2018, Kathy Manning ran a well-funded, well-run campaign for the 13th congressional seat and lost to Republican incumbent Ted Budd.
This time around Manning only has to make it through the primary. According to the latest reports, Manning has raised over $800,000 – much more than the other four candidates combined.
Gov. Roy Cooper is being challenged by Ernest Reeves.
Reeves has run for office eight times since 2014, including twice in 2016 and 2019, and never been elected.
Cooper, despite that he can’t get along with the Republican-led legislature, is a better candidate than Reeves.
NC Lieutenant Governor
The Democratic lieutenant governor’s race, with only six candidates, is not as crowded at the Republican, but it’s still crowded.
Hoke County Commissioner Allen Thomas, Bill Toole, state Sen. Terry Van Duyn, state Rep. Chaz Beasley, Yvonne Lewis Holley and Ron Newton are all running.
It appears Van Duyn is winning the fund raising battle with over $500,000, and that usually means a win, particularly in statewide races that are down ballot.
Toole, an environmental lawyer, appears to be running a spirited campaign for a lot less money.
But Beasley has raised about $200,000 and looks like the best candidate.
NC Commissioner of Agriculture
Walter Smith, who lost to Republican NC Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler in 2016, wants another shot. Smith is 66, which makes him older than his two primary opponents combined. Jenna Wadsworth, a political consultant, is 31 and Donovan Watson, who runs a farmers’ market in Durham, is 25.
They all have similar views, but Smith seems to be a bit more moderate and practical than the other two.
NC Superintendent of Public Instruction
Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is running for lieutenant governor, not reelection, leaving his position open. The five Democratic candidates for superintendent of public instruction are, as one would expect, not too far apart on the issues and they all seem to spend an inordinate amount of time complaining about a lack of funding, which is a function of the legislature not the superintendent.
Jen Mangrum has reportedly raised the most money, which gives her an advantage. In 2018, she ran a losing race for the state Senate against state Sen. Phil Berger.
James Barrett, who is a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board, seems to better articulate what the job entails and what can be accomplished.
The other candidates are Keith Sutton, Constance Johnson and Michael Maher.
Republican NC State Treasurer Dale Folwell has no primary opponent and will face the winner of the three-way Democratic primary in November.
Ronnie Chatterji is a professor at the Duke University Fuqua School of Business and Sanford School of Public Policy and was a senior economist for President Barack Obama.
Matt Leatherman was policy director for the last Democratic state treasurer, Janet Cowell.
Dimple Ajmera, 33, is an at-large member of the Charlotte City Council and is a certified public account who worked for Deloitte.
Chatterji had raised close to $400,000, Leatherman about $60,000 and Ajmera about $80,000.
Based on their work experience, Ajmera appears to be the best choice. Of course, if you think that Obama had a great economic policy then Chatterji would be your man.
NC District Court Judges
For judicial endorsements I consult with attorneys who either have to deal with the judges or will have to deal with them and go with their recommendations.
District 18, Seat 4
In the Caroline Tomlinson-Pemberton and Tomakio Gause race, the results were split, but Gause was preferred by more.
District 18, Seat 7
District Court Judge Angela Foster, who is running against Michele Lee, however, is an unusual case. Foster was censured by the North Carolina Supreme Court following an incident where she had a woman handcuffed and locked in a holding cell without a hearing and over the objections of her attorney.
The NC Supreme Court in its ruling stated Foster had “engaged in willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute …”
The NC Supreme Court did not remove Foster from the bench, but the voters can by voting for Lee.
District 18, Seat 12
In the Gavin Reardon versus Kelvin Smith race, it’s Reardon.
District 18, Seat 13
In the Brian Tomlin versus Moshera Mills, its Tomlin.
Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 5
The District 5 Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips is not running for reelection, which leaves this seat open. Carly Cooke and Macon Sullivan have filed to run and the winner will take on the winner of the Republican primary.
Cooke appears to be the better candidate. Sullivan has pledged not to raise more than $1,000. It’s hard to run even a district county commissioner race for under $1,000.
Although both list school funding as a top priority, Cooke appears to be more flexible about how a major bond would be paid for and appears to be running a much more active campaign.
Cooke in District 5.
Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 8
In the District 8 Guilford County Board of Commissioners Democratic primary, the incumbent, District 8 Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, is the best choice.
Alston is running against Fahiym Hanna.
Alston served on the Board of Commissioners from 1992 to 2012. He was the first African-American chairman of the board, serving as chairman a total of five times. Alston took a break after 20 years and didn’t run for reelection in 2012. His successor, Ray Trapp, served from 2012 to 2017. When Trapp resigned to accept a position with NC A&T State University, Alston was appointed to replace him and in 2018 won an election against Hanna to serve the final two years of the term.
Hanna gained some local notoriety in 2013 when he was caught voting twice in a City Council election.
Despite his strong stands on issues and at times fiery rhetoric, Alston is a popular commission on both sides of the aisle.
Board of Education District 1
In the District 1 Board of Education race, incumbent T. Dianne Bellamy-Small faces two challengers, Ron Tuck and Jeff Golden.
Bellamy-Small proved that she didn’t really want to be on the school board by running for the Greensboro City Council in the middle of her term.
Tuck has some good ideas and does a lot of good work in the community, but Golden, a former member of the High Point City Council, is the better choice. Although the district is split between High Point and Greensboro, the same district on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is represented by Carlvena Foster from High Point and is considered by many to be a High Point seat.
Board of Education District 7
District 7 Board of Education member Byron Gladden faces two challengers, Bettye Taylor Jenkins and Jayvon Johnson.
Gladden has done a good job and deserves another term.