Video: Moffitt discusses election loss, political future

In the wake of last week’s election loss, local N.C. House Rep. Tim Moffitt told the News & Observer in a video interview that he will do some “soul searching” before deciding if he will run for office again.

He lost a hard-fought campaign to Democratic challenger Brian Turner Nov. 4 by less than 1,000 votes. The race to represent District 116 was marked by a slew of negative ads and allegations on both sides.

“I enjoy the work but I don’t necessarily enjoy the politics,” he says in the interview. “It’s been very tough.”

Video interview embedded here via the News & Observer YouTube page.

Moffitt has a history of returning to politics after electoral losses. He lost his first campaign for the N.C. House to Democrat Jane Whilden in 2008. He then beat her in 2010 and and 2012, rising quickly to a position of prominence in the state Republican party.

But he was one of only four Republican incumbents who lost seats in the N.C. House this year. Buncombe County was a political anomaly, electing an entirely Democratic delegation to the General Assembly.

In office he frequently clashed with the Democratic establishment and the city of Asheville. The most prominent battle was over the city’s water system, which Moffitt tried to transfer to a regional agency against the city’s will (The measure is pending a legal suit brought by the city).

Alluding to such conflicts, Moffitt tells the News & Observer: “Being a conservative in Buncombe County is very difficult. … I man the far western outpost closest to the enemy’s base camp, and I think this election pretty much demonstrated it.”

District 116 is the most conservative electoral district in the county, encompassing Sandy Mush, Enka-Candler and Biltmore Forest. Turner is up for reelection in 2016.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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38 thoughts on “Video: Moffitt discusses election loss, political future

    • Dionysis

      I noted the same phrase; this is not new. Republicans have characterized the other major party in our two-party system as ‘the enemy’ for a long time now. That is, evidently, how they see any group opposed to them.

      On a lighter note, perhaps Mr. Moffitt can snag a job for a razor company. Or then again, maybe he’s just trying for that hipster look.

        • Dionysis

          Yes it is, but based upon past photos of him, every month is a no shave month. Must be the hipster thing.

      • bsummers

        It’s not a hipster look – he sees himself as an outlaw, a rogue. When the AC-T did a profile on him a couple of years ago, they quoted me as calling him a ‘pirate who came to plunder’.

        When we met at the Tea Party two weeks ago, he told me that he loved that.

  1. Bobby Poon

    All one has to do is look at the Asheville City Council.Asheville is full of loons.

  2. Buncombe Loses

    In the 2014 General Election Buncombe Country lost Big Time. With the election of John Ager, Terry Van Duyn and Brian Turner Buncombe Country gains nothing. All of the seven bills that Terry Van Duyn was a CO-sponsor of were referred to committee and have not become law. And in my opinion, have very little chance of ever becoming law. John Ager and Brian Turner will have little to no support in the House as the Democrats do not hold the majority nor do they seem to hold the goals of the majority. So, one can only come to the conclusion that none or very few of the bills they sponsor will get past the committees they will be referred to. So, I ask you what did the citizens win with their election of these three? Nothing.

    You ask what did Buncombe Country lose by not reelecting Tim Moffitt and Nathan Ramsey? Let’s look at Tim Moffitt which “During his freshman term, Representative Moffitt was singularly responsible for the comprehensive reform of North Carolina’s long-standing annexation laws and he was the primary sponsor of 28 other bills. So far this session, Representative Moffitt has co-sponsored 289 bills and was the primary sponsor of 118 bills, 45 of which are now state law. He was also a chief architect of the General Assembly’s historic Tax Reform and Regulatory Reform legislation this year. For these and his many other efforts, Representative Moffitt was ranked among his colleagues as the #1 Most Effective legislator of both the House and the Senate this year.” – http://nchouse116.com/about-tim/. To see the 289 bills Representative Moffitt co-sponsered visit:http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/reports/introducedBills.pl?nUserID=623&Chamber=H. Representative Moffitt’s website http://nchouse116.com was one of the best in research and explanation of bills people could use to help them in understanding the work of Legislature.

    Now, let’s look at Nathan Ramsey “Before he was elected to the House, Representative Ramsey served eight years as Chairman of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, where he served the citizens of Buncombe County on countless boards and commissions, including the Buncombe County Farm Bureau, the Blue Ridge Mental Health Authority, the Buncombe County Board of Health, Buncombe County Smart Start, Children First, Partners in Education, the Asheville Buncombe Drug Commission, Asheville Buncombe Vision, the Buncombe County Audit Committee, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Buncombe County Economic Development Coalition, Asheville HUB, French Broad MPO,the Community Energy Advisory Committee, and the Regional Water Authority of Asheville, Buncombe, and Henderson Counties. Representative Ramsey has also also served as the co-chair of the Legislative Goals Committee of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and as a member of the United Way’s Peaks Development Committee and United Way Highland Circle.” – http://nchouse115.com/bio/. Representative Ramsey sponsored or co-sponsored 264 bills 2013-2014 Session. To see the bills visit: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/reports/introducedBills.pl?nUserID=653&Chamber=H.

    Buncombe Country lost two hard working representatives with lots of knowledge looking to do the work that was needed to put North Carolina on the track of good government, and fiscal responsibility.

    • Todd Bennett

      Pffft. The Greasiest eel in the pot was lost when Moffitt went down to the Dem. He’s the biggest Crony Capitalist water toting RINO in the General Assembly. Period.

      Good Job Buncombe County.

      Todd Bennett

  3. RHS

    “Being a conservative in Buncombe County is very difficult. … I man the far western outpost closest to the enemy’s base camp, and I think this election pretty much demonstrated it.”

    Setting aside the use the the word “enemy” I find it fascinating the implication in this statement that he resents that those targeted by his use of his public office to carry out a personal vendetta he has against the city of Asheville would object and make an effort to defeat him in an election. Since few residents of the city were in a position to vote for or against him, given very little of it is in the district he seems to be reminded that it was his own constituents, mostly non city residents, who gave him the boot.

    • bsummers

      It’s also interesting that in this statement, Raleigh is the center of civilization, and Buncombe County is some farflung frontier post on the edge of hostile territory. So unfair for the Emperor to exile him out here with the Visigoths…

  4. Dave

    Moffitt’s spin of his loss is absurd. Granted, the Asheville area is largely a liberal Democratic enclave, however, Moffitt’s district leans Republican and has a Cook PVI of R+6. He should have had an easier time winning reelection this year than he did in 2012.

    Once again, Moffitt strains credulity. No one some call him The Eel.

  5. Tom Williams

    Isn’t a Republican, who is “soul searching” an oxymoron?

  6. Meiling Dai

    During Rep. Moffitt’s 4 year term in office, he sponsored legislation that no other legislator has been able to get passed into law since 1959.
    I am referring to Rep. Moffitt’s restoration of the vote on annexation in North Carolina previously hijacked by corrupt legislators.
    Prior to 1959, North Carolineans regularly voted on whether or not they wanted to be annexed by an adjacent city.
    Our Constitution affirms we have the right to vote on issues that affect us. Annexation is certainly
    an issue affecting home owners and land owners alike. Cities like Asheville used to annex land adjacent to its borders without the consent of
    the residents, forcing them to pay city property taxes. North Carolina was one of three states practicing forced annexation; now there are only two.
    Forty-eight states choose not to implement forced annexation as it is “taxation without representation!”

    • Dionysis

      Perhaps the annexation matter was offset by his other ‘accomplishments’, such as trying to wrest control of Asheville’s water supply over to the MSD, his effort to eliminate women’s legal right of self-expression (regardless of one’s personal feelings on toplessness), setting up an ethically-questionable business that relied on GOP politicians’ money and the never-solved ‘Twittergate’. These milestones, coupled with the attitude evident in his sore loser comments, probably were instrumental in him being booted out by voters.

  7. Meiling Dai

    Another major accomplishment by Rep. Moffitt during his 4 year term in the N.C. House of Representatives
    was the removal of Asheville’s zoning authority in six (6) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction areas ceded
    by corrupt politicians after 1959. They reasoned that by giving cities zoning jurisdiction over adjacent land areas, it
    would help prepare them to be annexed forcibly. Rep. Moffitt had received multiple complaints from business
    owners in Asheville’s ETJ’s who suffered from Asheville’s strict signage and zoning regulations. Due to Rep. Moffitt’s efforts,
    Asheville’s former ETJ areas are now under Buncombe County’s zoning jurisdiction (licensing, permitting. and inspections).

  8. Meiling Dai

    Asheville’s ETJ’s were a manifestation of “zoning without representation” since affected residents in those areas
    could not vote for city council members. This is an example of Rep. Moffitt righting a past wrong by supporting
    legislation that returned zoning authority over Asheville’s ETJ ‘s from the city back to Buncombe County.

    • Dionysis

      And yet he chose not to run on this signature accomplishment, instead choosing to ignore debates and public appearances while acting as if he was running against President Obama. Hmmm.

  9. Meiling Dai

    In regard to the law that Rep. Moffitt and others sponsored requiring Asheville to turn its water system over
    to the Buncombe County Sewerage District, please consider Asheville’s past history of maintaining its water system.
    For your information, Buncombe County built and maintained its own water system prior to the Depression, at which time it asked Asheville
    to manage and maintain that system. However, instead of using water revenue to maintain the infrastructure of the water system some years ago, City Council members at that time decided to use the revenue paid by water customers to pay down non-water related bills. As a result, the water system
    suffered from neglect over the years resulting in busted pipes which manifests itself to this day. Please remember that the city vigorously
    fought against the Sullivan Acts which requires city water rates to be the same for water customers within the city and outside city limits.
    Asheville is bound and determined to get the Sullivan Acts overturned in the Legislature so that they can charge DIFFERENTIAL WATER RATES :
    in other words, lower rates for city customers and higher rates for customers outside the city. If the Sullivan Acts are repealed and the
    city still controls the water system, it will enact VOLUNTARY ANNEXATION, using “water as a tool for annexation”. More specifically, if outsider areas receiving
    city water do not agree to be “voluntarily annexed”, the city will increase their water rates astronomically! Voluntary annexation is the underlying motivation
    behind Asheville’s aggressive stance on its water system.

    • bsummers

      Buncombe County built and maintained its own water system prior to the Depression, at which time it asked Asheville to manage and maintain that system. However, instead of using water revenue to maintain the infrastructure of the water system some years ago, City Council members at that time decided to use the revenue paid by water customers to pay down non-water related bills.

      You’re referring to the depression-era debt that the City accrued facilitating the County-wide development boom of the teens and twenties. People weren’t going to buy land and live in “the Miami Beach of the Mountains” as they were calling it, without basic services within reach, so the City went into debt building roads, schools, parks, expanded water and sewer systems, etc etc etc, so that the entire County would benefit. And they did, until the Crash came, and then the County threw up their hands and said “Run our water systems for us, but oh BTW, don’t ask us to help pay off the debt you accrued trying to help us.”

      I think the City was totally justified in using water revenues to help retire that debt, and that helped pave the way for Asheville to be the gleaming success story that it is. And that success is still supporting the County fiscally, sending tens of millions of dollars of sales tax revenue into County and municipal coffers through the generous re-distribution formula the County has used over the decades. It’s the golden goose that the people who are dependent on it love to hate.

      But just take the examples of Messrs Moffitt and Ramsey. They were sent packing by their non-City constituents, who maybe didn’t want to see the golden goose slaughtered after all.

    • Dionysis

      Why, I do believe the Mr. Summers’ history recap is tantamount to a chess player saying ‘checkmate’. Game over.

      • RHS

        “Why, I do believe the Mr. Summers’ history recap is tantamount to a chess player saying ‘checkmate’. Game over.”

        AKA: For the win!

    • sharpleycladd

      Folks who pay off their debts tend to be ‘aggressive’ with welchers who declare bankruptcy to escape their debts. Buncombe-area water systems all reneged on their debts after the crash of ’29, leaving Asheville to clean up the mess. The City of Asheville retired its debts – the people of Buncombe County cannot say the same.

      Welfare cheats.

  10. Meiling Dai

    According to newspaper accounts, Buncombe County taxpayers paid for their water system through bonds. It is true that Buncombe County transferred their
    water system to Asheville during the Depression, probably because they could not pay down the rest of their debt incurred during the
    installation of county water pipes. But the taxpayers of Buncombe County did pay for a good portion of the county water system which is why the N.C. Legislature voted almost unanimously a few years back to approve Sullivan Acts II and III which require Asheville to charge equal water rates to city and outsider
    customers. The water history between Asheville and Buncombe County is unlike the history in other counties in which the area receiving water from an adjacent municipality DID NOT PAY for its water infrastructure. For example, the city of Charlotte occupies most of Mecklenburg County, largely due to voluntary annexation, using water as a tool for annexation. This dispute over the Asheville water system could have been avoided a few years back if Asheville had agreed to give Board members representing areas served by the water system a vote in decision-making. Instead, Asheville insisted on calling all the shots regardless of input from other Board members. If the law being litigated in Raleigh requiring Asheville to transfer its water system to the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) holds up in court and in the N.C. Supreme Court, that means all parties on the Board of Directors, including Hendersonville, will have a vote and say on matters pertaining to water.

  11. Meiling Dai

    There are Citizen-Times and News and Observer newspaper articles that document why the N.C. Legislature (Democrat majority at the time)
    chose to approve almost unanimously to approve Sullivan Acts II and III. The main factor that prompted legislators to vote YES
    for these acts is the fact that Buncombe County taxpayers paid for the county’s water system infrastructure through bonds.

  12. Meiling Dai

    Here’s some documentation.. If you search on “NORTH CAROLINA SULLIVAN ACTS”, you will find a Wikipedia version of events
    and I quote; “In North Carolina, United States, the Sullivan Acts are a set of statutes passed by the North Carolina General Assembly
    in response to the bankruptcy of all sewer and water districts in the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina.

    Timeline: 1920’s….Water districts emerge outside the city, TAXING their own residents . They go broke during the Great Depression,
    and Buncombe County takes on the debt. Asheville eventually annexes the areas, taking on the debt.

    • bsummers

      Interesting. According to the wikipedia article you cited,

      “Overall, based on the [Moffitt’s] study committee’s report, privatization and consolidation of the region’s water resources seem to be an end-goal“.

      Why, that’s not what we were told over & over again.

      Thanks for pointing us to this source, Ms. Dai, confirming what we suspected all along.

      My & Katie Hicks op-ed from Jan. 2012:

      https://mountainx.com/opinion/010412private-business/

  13. Meiling Dai

    “Overall, based on the study committee’s report, privatization and consolidation of the regions’ water resources seem to be an end-goal.”
    This quote assessing the study committee’s recommendation was made by a Citizen-Times reporter, not Rep. Tim Moffitt. Here are portions of an article dated April 11, 2013 in @NC Capitol by Raleigh reporter Laura Leslie entitled: “House Votes to Take Asheville’s Water System” as follows: “The state House gave tentative approval Thursday to remove Asheville’s water system from the city’s authority and put it under the governance of a regional board (House Bill 488).
    The proposal would set up a Metropolitan District that would be governed by an appointed board. The board would have the power to issue bonds,
    determine tax rates, set utility rates and charges, and have right-of-way and easement authority. Primary sponsor, Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe,
    says THE BILL STRICTLY FORBIDS PRIVATIZATION, ONE OF THE CONCERNS OF THE BILL’S OPPONENTS.”

  14. Meiling Dai

    To better understand NC House Bill 488/SL 2013-50 (5/14/2013) entitled: “Regionalization of Public Utilities”,
    go to Rep. Moffitt’s website: NCHouse116.com. Type “water” on the Posts by Category subject line, and scroll down to:
    “THE WATER: OUR REPORT TO THE NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY.”

  15. Meiling Dai

    A better route to access “The Water: Our Report to the North Carolina General Assembly” is: nchouse116.com/water/

  16. Meiling Dai

    Here is an unbiased factual account of the decades long water debate between the city of Asheville and Buncombe County
    written by a Citizen-Times reporter on May 22, 2014. The title of this article is:
    “How politics, population shaped Asheville’s water debate”. You can find it on Google
    and probably on other major search engines.

  17. Meiling Dai

    Here is an excellent article dated July 19, 2014 by a Citizen-Times reporter explaining why Asheville’s water system has a 30% leakage rate
    and the bold steps that are being taken to address this.

  18. Meiling Dai

    The article referred to above is entitled: “Millions spent on leaky Asheville water system”
    and can be found on Google and other major search engines.

  19. Meiling Dai

    See today’s article in the Citizen-Times dated 5/15/16 entitled: “Asheville water case may turn on obscure points of law.”
    This article explains the current status of the lawsuit before the N.C. Supreme Court regarding whether or not
    Asheville’s water system should be handed over to the Buncombe County Metropolitan Sewerage District as per
    state law.

  20. Meiling Dai

    Please read: “The water: Our Report to the North Carolina House.” posted on December 13, 2012 on Legislative News from Representative
    Chuck McGrady. Go to:…. nchouse117.com/water-report/ This report contains all the facts, figures and history of
    Asheville’s repeated attempts to charge higher differential water rates to its outside water customers in Buncombe and Henderson Counties.
    Due to legislative pushback to the city’s efforts to charge more to outside ratepayers for water, Sullivan Acts I, II, and III were passed
    by the N.C. Legislature. They prevent Asheville from charging differential water rates to outside ratepayers based on the unique water
    history between the city and Buncombe County. This report also mentions Asheville’s intent to voluntarily annex outside ratepayers, using
    differential water rates as a means for annexation.

  21. Meiling Dai

    In the Citizen-Times May 30, 2017 edition, there is a relevant article comparing Asheville’s population growth despite its constraints with that of Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. The article further states that “State law (Sullivan Acts) bars Asheville from charging more for water outside its borders than inside, and limits its ability to decline to hook up new customers.” By comparison, “other N.C. municipalities charge non-city residents twice or more what those inside city limits pay for
    water and refuse to extend service unless an area is ANNEXED.” For those interested in reading the full article, please go to: citizen-times.com. The title of
    this revealing article dated May 30, 2017 is: CHARLOTTE, RALEIGH GROWING FASTER.

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