As temperatures cool down, campaign season has started heating up.
In a recent online post, Xpress reported, "Buncombe GOP Fires First Video Salvo." The blog includes a video produced by the Buncombe County Republican Party in which Chair Chad Nesbitt asserts, “In order to defend ourselves against socialistic terrorism, we need to have a large turnout of Buncombe County voters that believe in God and America.” The video was also designed to tout the party's recent 9/11 fundraiser, which featured Nesbitt and other volunteers rappelling down a 90-foot tower at the Swannanoa Fire Department. The goal was to raise $100 per rappel, with a total of 210 rappels.
“Socialism is a cancer on the United States,” Nesbitt declares, explaining that the party would donate a percentage of the money raised to Hunt the Cure, a nonprofit that raises money for research and sends children suffering from cancer on hunting and fishing trips.
Rep. Heath Shuler and Republican challenger Jeff Miller also recently unleashed campaign videos online and on local TV stations.
In "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall," the Scrutiny Hooligans blog aggregated a couple of them in which each candidate attempts to paint himself as a Washington outsider.
Miller's begins with a collage of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama as an announcer grimly declares that "self-serving politicians have failed us." It concludes by describing Miller as a conservative "job creator — not a politician."
Shuler's ad features the congressman standing by a pickup truck explaining that he knows "You're mad at Congress, and so am I."
"You didn't send me up there to blindly follow one party," he concludes. "You sent me up there to do what's right for our mountain families."
Keever gets jump on House seat; Buncombe sheriff’s candidates face off
In other political news, a widely circulated press release announced that on Sept. 8, Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed Patsy Keever to fill the 115th District state House seat vacated by Rep. Bruce Goforth after Keever beat him in the Democratic primary. Technically, Keever will now be campaigning as an incumbent in the November election, but since the General Assembly won’t reconvene until January, she’ll have little chance to legislate unless she wins.
The Buncombe County sheriff's race also got a lot of attention last week, with the Asheville Citizen-Times giving both incumbent Democrat Van Duncan and Republican challenger Dickie Green print and video forums to make their case to voters.
In his commentary, Duncan asserts that under his leadership, the Sheriff's Office has "made great strides in improving service and professionalism." As evidence, he cites lower average emergency-response times and a decline in local crime rates, among other changes.
Green, meanwhile, uses his print space to tout his qualifications as a Christian and constitutionalist with extensive experience in law enforcement, including a 17-year run with the Asheville Police Department. Besides having served as president of the Fraternal Order of Firefighters and vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Green says he’s also won awards as the city's Officer of the Year and the Best Dressed Police Officer in the United States. If elected, Green pledges to focus on balancing the budget, fighting illegal immigration and increasing political accountability.
And though it doesn't seem to pose a problem for either of those candidates, the Smoky Mountain News reported last week that a newly proposed state "Ballot Measure Would Bar Felons From Serving as Sheriff." According to the article, state legislators crafted the constitutional amendment this summer after six felons ran (unsuccessfully) for sheriff in various North Carolina counties during the May primaries.
The amendment will be up for a public vote on Nov. 2. Under current law, a felon could be elected sheriff but would be barred from carrying a firearm.