Bothwell running for Congress

Bothwell running for Congress-attachment0

Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell will run for Rep. Heath Shuler‘s congressional seat in 2012 — as an independent.

Coming just two days after Bothwell withdrew from the race for chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, Bothwell this morning posted a link on the Scrutiny Hooligans political blog pointing to his new campaign website.

“I herewith declare my candidacy for the United States Congress in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District,” Bothwell announces on his campaign site. “This decision was jump-started by recent events in both the Buncombe County Democratic Party and Congress. The election is more than 18 months away, but it will take that kind of time to build a viable grass-roots campaign across the 13 counties of Western North Carolina. Position statements, organizing information, and all the rest will be posted here in coming days. A booklet version of the platform should be available for distribution in about two months.”

In announcing his withdrawal from the chair’s race Friday, Bothwell indicated that one motive was that “there is a very strong likelihood that I will enter a primary race in 2012, and would have to quit the post were I elected chair.” Party chairs can’t occupy a partisan elected office (Council members are non-partisan).

However, in ensuing comments on Scrutiny Hooligans, Bothwell noted that “I won’t be entering the primary.” This would mean that Bothwell is running as an independent. To get on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate in a House of Representatives race in North Carolina, Bothwell would need to submit a petition with signatures from four percent of the registered voters in the congressional district.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter

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47 thoughts on “Bothwell running for Congress

  1. Funny, my comment on Scrutiny Hooligan has been deleted — twice. Oh well, here it is:

    “Shuler will not be running for re-election. Right Lindsey?”
    ………………………..

  2. Hi Orbit!

    It’s true that I endorsed Shuler in the last election, but on very narrow grounds (his environmental voting record had been reasonably good). And that in an election in which I deemed his opponent to be the lesser choice.

    Like it or not, we frequently face choices in electoral politics that amount to the lesser of two evils, but the choice is still important.

    However, in the 30+ years I’ve lived in Buncombe County I have never felt like my congressional representative was representative of my views in many, often most, major issues.

    I kept hoping for an alternative to appear. This time around I have decided to step up to the plate. And I have to add that I have become deeply disillusioned with the major parties, particularly at the national level. Both have become corporatist, though there remain some meaningful differences in policy choices, principally on matters of smallish import.

    So we got a health care bill, but one that was sold out to insurance companies from day one. Where’s the public option?

    We voted for change, but have one more war added to the two previous wars of choice.

    We voted to close Guantanamo. Hello?

    We continue to wage a war on drugs that has failed for a century. And Obama just stepped up our support for that war in Mexico.

    The Asheville Metro Area has the 7th highest incidence of hunger in America with 1 in 6 of our neighbors experiencing food insecurity, while we continue to pump money into corrupt Wall Street investment scammers.

    Unemployment is sky high, much higher than the reported numbers, and the CEO of General Electric is chair of Obama’s employment commission, while GE makes $15 billion and pays no U.S. taxes.

    It is time for a real change. And I am way too tired of waiting.

  3. Mick Ballantine

    Wait til Cecil meets Heath’s high dollar national attack ads. He’ll find out just how it feels to be lied about in the most outrageous ways. Just like Heath’s attack dogs went after Miller last year. Heath has an “investment” in being a career politician, and those who buy his votes want to keep him in office. Cecil, save your breath and serve us locally. Just sayin…

  4. Cecil, I don’t know you and I don’t think we’ve ever spoken even in passing on the internet, but I think you are making a mistake here.

    As a city council member, you are able to far more directly and effectively impact members of your community than if you were, by some unlikely quirk of electoral action, elected as one of five hundred and thirty five members of body dedicated to doing as little as possible for as many as possible.

    A failed run as an independent against a Democrat in a General Election year also would have the high likelihood of tarnishing your record on City Council and damage your chances of a successful re-election there. Which means that the thing that you could have done for the city will likely face a tougher battle.

    My advice would be to solidify your base in Asheville and the surrounding area, work toward making Asheville an example of success through progressive, socially democratic reforms and showing to the people of the mountains (and possibly the South and near-North) that progressive alternatives are viable, sustainable, and possible.

    For far too long, other progressives have squandered too much precious time and energy on seeking national office and, in the process, have neglected the power of local elected bodies in promoting policies that, when successful, could then be used in larger areas.

    Just a thought. Whichever path you walk, good luck.

  5. tatuaje

    This is all just a ploy to get me to start commenting on this website again.

    NICE TRY SUCKERS!

  6. Jim Shura

    timpeck, There’s a whole lot of mist obscuring your first comment. Do you think he’s not running because one of his staff is leaving?

  7. Jim Shura

    MtnX Webmaster: Why is Cecil the only “moderated member” on this thread? Click on poster profiles and you’ll see what I mean.

    Cecil’s post was not here at 5:51pm, and now it is, with the time stamp of 3:49 pm.

  8. No real clue why I’m moderated.

    And thanks for the optimism Tim! The idea of Council selecting a replacement obviously includes the idea that I win! WooHoo!

    Lot of distance between hither and yon.

  9. T100C-1970

    This is “unusual”.. Kind of like how Ralph Nader defeated Al Gore, and Ross Perot defeated GHW Bush.

    There is no way Bothwell can win as an Indy and even though I don’t agree with him on anything, I DO believe he is bright enough to understand that.

    There is also no way Bothwell can defeat Shuler in a multi-county primary and I do believe he understands that too.

    There is a quasi-rational “two year” plan than makes some sense though. Mr. Bothwell understands he can’t defeat Shuler, but assuming the Repubs mount a reasonable candidate like Miller he can split the Democrat vote and make Shuler lose.

    Then MAYBE in 2014 Shuler will have moved on to more financially lucrative pursuits and Mr. Bothwell can snag the Democrat nomination.

  10. “And I have to add that I have become deeply disillusioned with the major parties, particularly at the national level. Both have become corporatist, though there remain some meaningful differences in policy choices, principally on matters of smallish import.”~Cecil Bothwell

    High popalorum or low popahirum ~ Huey Long

  11. Politics is Such Fun

    This will be fun. Atheist schoolmarm with nothing but principles and undisclosed lesson plan, vs rube quarterback with nothing but no principles and undisclosed game plan. We could call it David vs Goliath, but the only candidate who’s read that Book is the one who doesn’t believe it. This will be fun.

  12. ” No real clue why I’m moderated.”

    Perhaps someone is nervous…due to the attempt cut you off at the knees back in ’08? Gotta keep a close eye on those people one deems too hot to handle, ya know.

  13. Michael McDaniel

    I can’t wait for Congressman Bothwell, but it’s going to take a lot of work!

    And money! I just made a 30 dollar donation, now who here will match me?

    http://cecilbothwell.com/

  14. Elzy Lindsey

    Finally, a candidate I can FULLY support. The teachers will back you, especially if you stand for quality public schools, which I know you do. I hope this becomes a trend and we can build a strong, progressive 3rd party for 2012.

  15. J

    I think MatCat is wrong. I don’t see how running for Congress will damage a City Council bid. Asheville is overwhelmingly democratic – playing to a pure partisan base would be to Cecil’s advantage in 2013.

    Futhermore, Cecil may energize some folks who might not otherwise vote (Warren Wilson, I’m looking at you) to come out to the polls. It could strengthen local progressive balloting in down ballot races.

    I do agree with Cecil-both parties have become corporatist.

  16. NextNew

    Cecil, Lose the avatar. It’s a cheap ripoff of Obama’s campaign poster. Surely you or one of your supporters can come up with an original image.

    The original Obama poster is already in court since the artist who designed it “appropriated” an image copyrighted by the photographer. Yours is a ripoff of a ripoff.

    This is a city/county of artists and designers. How many will vote for someone who appropriates another’s work?

  17. Margaret Williams

    @MrYuck and @CecilBothwell:

    All elected officials are moderated at Mountainx.com (the few who are registered and comment regularly, in any case — which would be Council members Gordon Smith and Cecil Bothwell).

  18. Anne Craig

    Run,Cecil,Run! “If not you, who, if not now, when?If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I?” Folks make good points about strategy,yet sometimes the best, most calculated strategy still doesn’t get the desired result. So, it’s time for Citizen Cecil, progressive populist, to go for it! We all should start brainstorming how we can support him – think of who you can collect signatures from, how you can donate, talk it up!

  19. ironhead

    For those who say Cecil can’t win as an independent, I would remind y’all that Aixa Wilson got 38% of the vote in the last primary, and his campaign could be charitably described as bare-bones.

  20. Jim Shura

    @Margaret,

    All I’m saying is it that kind of messes up the conversation when the moderated comments get a timestamp for when they were submitted, instead of for when they appear.

  21. Bert

    Aixa Wilson got 38 percent of Democratic Primary voters, not Buncombe County altogether. Theres no doubt Mr. Bothwell can easily win the Asheville vote. But he has to get more than that to win the seat. And frankly, judging by WNC voting patterns outside of Asheville, I dont think a genuine liberal can win this seat. I would love to see Bothwell prove me wrong. But Charles Taylor never lost until a pro-gun, anti-choice Southern Baptist Democrat challenged him.

  22. Bjorn

    We’ll vote for him & Cecil, wake up more potential voters by immediately removing Fluoride in the Municipal water. If we have to pay for water we certainly don’t want poisons added to it, Chlorine is bad enough.

  23. bill smith

    [i]Yours is a ripoff of a ripoff. How many will vote for someone who appropriates another’s work? [/i]

    Actually, no. Since Sheppard Fairy is being sued for using an AP-owned image of Obama without ‘fair use’ notation, and Cecil’s image is clearly one of himself and not Obama, your comparison is wildly off the mark, in addition to appearing incredibly trivial in comparison to numerous points addressed in the thread so far.

  24. T100C-1970

    Many of you folks don’t seem to grasp the fact that Cecil is NOT RUNNING AGAINST HEATH SHULER. As a democrat, that would be the honorable thing to do, but that is NOT what he is doing.

    He says he is running as an Indy. Thus he will NOT FACE Shuler in the Democrat Primary and Shuler will win with little or no opposition.

    Then in the general there will be 3 candidates (1) Heath (2) Cecil and (3) a republican who is probably as strong as Miller who got 45+% of the vote in 2010.

    Now what percentage of the republicans / Miller voters do you think are going to switch from Miller (or his replacement) to Cecil. 0 is the correct answer.

    Now what percentage of the Shuler voters are going to:

    (1) keep voting for shuler (maybe 75%)
    (2) switch to Cecil (maybe 20%)
    (3) finally give up on democrats (maybe 5%)

    Even if NO previous democrat voters switch to the republican — guess who wins!

  25. Reckon they don’t want us straightforwardly campaigning here.
    And I removed my solidarity-with-wikileaks avatar per the upthread suggestion and am unable to get any other (correctly sized) picture to load.

    Guess I’ve just become part of the faceless crowd.

  26. Who

    The moderator is a bit hyper-sensitive and too much hands on. I’ve had a couple of posts blocked.

  27. travelah

    This is interesting. A leftwing candidate running as an independent against a Democrat incumbent in western NC.I suppose that is a novel method for getting another Republican elected to Congress.
    Way to go, Cecil!

  28. It ain’t over till election time. Time frame of this cycle is an eternity in politics. Should be interesting.

  29. JonathanBarnard

    I agree with T100 that Cecil should run against Shuler in the Democratic primary, not as an independent in the general election.

  30. T100C-1970

    There are definite precedents for what Mr. Bothwell is doing and the consequences thereof. Depending on your political persuasion you may like or not like some prior consequences: (1) Ross Perot likely elected Bill Clinton and (2) Ralph Nader likely elected G. W. Bush (If Nader could have donated his Florida votes to Al Gore the result would have changed)

    A reasonable person can conclude that Blue Dog Shuler is worse than a real republican and so “make a statement” with their vote for Mr. Bothwell like Nader voters (who amazingly found Al Gore insufficiently green) did in 2000.

    The population of AVL is now about 80,000 but the population of the 11th District is 600,000+. Even if all Democrats in Asheville vote for Mr. Bothwell in the general, he still FINISHES LAST in a three way like Mr. Perot and Mr. Nader.

    Mr. Bothwell is (like Nader and Perot) is an intellegent fellow and doubtless understands the reality regardless of what he might tell his potential voters… He apparently feels he need to “make a statement” as Nader and (to a lesser extent) Perot did.

  31. T100C-1970

    (Sorry if this is a resubmit– I couldn’t tell if I go the magic code right first try)

    Many of you folks don’t seem to grasp the fact that Cecil is NOT RUNNING AGAINST HEATH SHULER. As a democrat, that would be the honorable thing to do, but that is NOT what he is doing.

    He says he is running as an Indy. Thus he will NOT FACE Shuler in the Democrat Primary and Shuler will win with little or no opposition.

    Then in the general there will be 3 candidates (1) Heath (2) Cecil and (3) a republican who is probably as strong as Miller who got 45+% of the vote in 2010.

    Now what percentage of the republicans / Miller voters do you think are going to switch from Miller (or his replacement) to Cecil. 0 is the correct answer.

    Now what percentage of the Shuler voters are going to:

    (1) keep voting for shuler (maybe 75%)
    (2) switch to Cecil (maybe 20%)
    (3) finally give up on democrats (maybe 5%)

    Even if NO previous democrat voters switch to the republican — guess who wins!

  32. bill smith

    T100. I’m confused. Your post’s conclusion seems to contradict it’s introduction.

  33. Of course, T-100, we later learned that Gore actually won the election.

    And I’d note that 18 months is a long time in politics. If Shuler jumps parties, for example, the game is changed.

    Should be an interesting year.

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