Bothwell now running against Shuler as a Democrat

After initially declaring he would run against Rep. Heath Shuler as an independent candidate, Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell has again changed course. Campaign materials released on his website yesterday revealed he will run against Shuler in the Democratic primary, and an announcement this morning made it official.

“Cecil Bothwell, who announced his congressional bid on March 27, has decided to enter the 2012 Democratic primary,” Bothwell’s press release reads. “I originally believed that the best way to address issues too long ignored, and to challenge the corporate power over the national parties was to run as an independent.”

However, the statement continues, he changed his mind.

“But I’ve heard from hundreds of people, from WNC to Washington, DC, who believe the most likely path to success is up the middle instead of trying for an end-run. Groups are smarter than individuals, and I’m following advice gleaned from a wide network of friends and supporters.”

The announcement adds that “Bothwell believes that his platform positions span the political spectrum and will find wide appeal.” Those positions include ending the drug war, devaluing the dollar, slashing military spending, ending corporate personhood and renegotiating or scrapping trade deals.

Bothwell would have faced some heavy obstacles getting on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate. Under North Carolina law, he would need a petition with signatures from 4 percent of the congressional district’s registered voters.

Bothwell’s decision to run in the Democratic primary marks the latest change for the Council member’s electoral plans. On March 24, Bothwell said he would run for Democratic Party Chair which, as a non-partisan officeholder, he was allowed to do. But the next day, Bothwell withdrew from the race, saying he intended to run in a Democratic primary in 2012 (at the time, he didn’t specify which one).

Yet two days later, Bothwell announced he would run against Shuler, but as an independent. Shortly after that announcement, Bothwell told Xpress that due to Shuler’s level of funding, he believed he stood a better chance as an independent, and that his petition organizers would build a useful base for the campaign.

Yesterday, Bothwell’s website unveiled a new poster, noting in the top right corner, underlined, his status as a Democrat. This morning, his announcement verified that he has returned to his original plan of running in the Democratic primary.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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19 thoughts on “Bothwell now running against Shuler as a Democrat

  1. dpewen

    This is great news! Cecil, you will get my vote.
    You know how to keep religion out of politics and I like your platform, especially the part about serious cuts to the military and ending wars!!!

  2. Betty Cloer Wallace

    dpewen, I’d a’thought ye’d be long gone down to Central America by now, as ye keep on saying ye’re gonna be in your posts.

    If not, and if ye’re still here, yes, VOTE CECIL!

  3. The trajectory looked more straight forward from where I sit, but I understand the confusion.

    I was drafted to run for County chair, and reluctantly allowed my name to be submitted for a job I never wanted or sought. That triggered deep consideration of a decision I had hoped to make in late summer, and I decided I would run against Shuler and immediately withdrew their nomination. I suggested I was considering a primary run which would preclude being a party officer. A sleepless day or two later I knew I had to make my intentions public (since many insiders knew I was planning a run) and thought an indy run better expressed my displeasure with the national parties for their close ties to Wall Street. As mentioned above, many folks came forward to dissuade me, and I always pay attention when people offer advice, then follow it if it seems the wisest course. Some see that as “changing my mind” I’m inclined to think of it as the decision making process. Whatever. Game on!

  4. dpewen

    I am and just got back … I will vote for Cecil and thanks for monitoring me!

  5. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Not “monitoring” you.

    Just remembered your numerous statements about abandoning the USA for various and assorted reasons.

  6. indy499

    I’m glad Cecil is running too. He’ll accomplish one of two things, either lose to Shuler but drain him of cash and enthusiastic support, or win, and be an easy pick up for the R’s.

  7. Stewart David

    I can only imagine how much money Shuler’s pals affiliated with the Family and other extremist fundamentalist religious groups will throw at him now that he has a primary challenge from an atheist. As you said, Cecil, “Game on.” This will be a wild ride. Best of luck!

    “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
    George Orwell

  8. At first glance when the Chairman slot became a consideration, then the switch independent congressional run and finally back to Democrat candidate came into play, I was a bit flummoxed….and said so.

    But now I understand…’s a big decision, and as more is revealed during big decision time….the frustrations and disappointments has led to a desire to be part of a change in direction. So be it.

  9. Drat, the comment posted before I finished….

    II’m so used to seeing politics played out that is planned ahead behind closed doors…that it threw me to see someone behaving in a spontaneous manner. You just don’t see that happening in politics very often…so once again, Mr. Bothwell has thought outside the box…and that is VERY refreshing.

  10. indy499

    Great spin by Davyne to describe Cecil’s inability to make up his mind. There may be a spot for you on the campaign as a PR guy.

  11. Mick Ballantine

    I admire Cecil’s resolve. BUT, indy499 is correct. Cecil will only drain Shuler’s war chest and make him an even bigger target for the republican candidate. But who knows for sure. Thanks for giving it a try Cecil. Oh, and Stewart David, Shuler’s big money supporters aren’t the Church. It is the national democrat party big spenders, as witnessed in the expensive but dirty campaign ads against Miller in 2010.

  12. bill smith

    @Mick-I think you’re wrong. Bothwell likely wont beat Shuler, but we need people to pull Shuler further left if he is to continue running as a Democrat. If shuler sees a threat from the left, he’ll move that direction.

  13. indy499

    Great spin by Davyne to describe Cecil’s inability to make up his mind. There may be a spot for you on the campaign as a PR guy.

  14. Johnny

    Hell Yeah!

    Best of luck to to you Cecil. This will make it interesting…..we’ll be watching Shuler tack to port now and then, getting dirty but trying not to seem dirty, etc.

    The duplicitous incumbents of both parties need to be challenged, against all odds or not — and I’m hoping this is not.

    A fine piece of news to read tonight.

  15. Stewart David


    I know who funded Shuler in the general election. This primary battle will be a different story, the Christian right will do all it can to stop the author of “The Prince of War, Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire” from defeating Shuler.

    Cecil will do all that he can to focus on the issues that face our region and country and the reasonable, progressive approaches to problem-solving. They will probably spend most of their time attacking his character and talking about “faith.” I can’t fathom how many images of Heath we’ll see with a bible in his hand or a church in the background.

  16. The Trolls Troll

    I think I would actually vote for Cecil, though I would have felt better about it had he stayed unaffiliated. At least he’s articulate. Heath has a room-temperature IQ and a penchant for speaking in unintelligible, sentence fragments and malapropisms (sort of like Mayor Bellamy). The real question here is where was Cecil born and can/will he produce documents to substantiate his claim?

  17. J

    Cecil’s ability to raise grass roots money will create an interesting conversation when Shuler is primarily relying on corporate funding.

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