PARC releases first attack ad of the season, criticizes Mark Cates’ Tea Party connections

People Advocating for Real Conservancy unleashed the first video salvo of this year’s Asheville City Council race, attacking candidate Mark Cates for his connections to the Asheville Tea Party.

“Most of the candidates have been open and honest about their backgrounds, but one of them, Mark Cates, is presenting himself as a progressive, while hiding his connections to the Asheville Tea Party,” says a narrator in the video, which was distributed via the progressive advocacy group’s Oct. 8 email newsletter. “We’ve seen what Tea Party representatives have done in Washington and Raleigh. We don’t need that here in Asheville. Don’t fall for Cate’s deception when you vote on Tuesday,” she continues.

Watch it here:

The Stealth Candidate from Charlie Thomas on Vimeo.

The video release follows a Oct. 6 post on the Scrutiny Hooligans blog by City Council member Gordon Smith, who reported that Cates was a bookkeeper for the Asheville Tea PAC and has been asking Tea Party activists to volunteer for his campaign.

The only registered Republican in the race, Cates previously told Xpress that he feels he’s been mistreated because of his party affiliation.

“If you’re a Republican in this town, people will treat you poorly,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s something that has to change. No one should be concerned about telling people their political affiliation and telling them they’re a Republican. No one should be treated as an outcast because they’re a Republican.”

He’s also been presenting his economic-development plan as a bipartisan measure, which calls for making Asheville a home for “global environmentalism.”

“If you look at at my economic plan, I tried to build something in that plan that would appeal to everyone,” he said. “We needed a way to reach out to everyone in the community. And this is extremely important issue, and it’s an issue we’re extremely passionate about in Asheville.”

Cates surprised some by tying with candidate Marc Hunt for the top spot in a Sept. 22 straw poll organized by Get There Asheville, a coalition of city residents who advocate for multimodal transit development such as bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways.

PARC, which includes City Council member Cecil Bothwell on its board, has endorsed candidates Lael Gray, Chris Pelly and Marc Hunt.

The primary election will be held this Tuesday, Oct. 11.


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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25 thoughts on “PARC releases first attack ad of the season, criticizes Mark Cates’ Tea Party connections

  1. J

    Who’s paying for this ad and the robo-calls? There’s no PARC PAC listed with the Buncombe County Board of Elections.

  2. reasonable

    Cecil Bothwell, Gordon Smith and our very own dear Barry Summers are trying to discredit Mark Cates harder than they’ve ever worked for anything before. I think they’re scared to bejeebus of Mr. Cates because he actually has a plan to improve the business climate of Asheville, grow jobs and bring real positive change to us all.

    They are the ones being disingenuous in the classic Alinsky model. That’s what progressives do.

    PARC is a uber-fringe group that has shown their true colors before.

    Pay no mind to this minority as they’ve had virtually zero success promulgating their fantasies in the past.

    It only demonstrates that they are seriously scared of Mr. Cates as he is the only candidate that has a real positive, actionable plan to improve our lot for the future that doesn’t involve mortgaging our future for our children.

    The issue is JOBS and not sidewalks that there is no money for anyway.

    And yes, I’d like to know who’s funding this effort as well.

    • Barry Summers

      Ahh, Reasonable (if that is your real name…)

      Neither you nor Mr. Cates have responded to the very serious questions raised by his odd candidacy. That repetitive attempt to pivot all criticism to the economic plan that no one buys reveals much. Don’t get me wrong – you’re plucky, and you have my sympathies trying to sell this candidate in this town.

      Cecil Bothwell, Gordon Smith and our very own dear Barry Summers are trying to discredit Mark Cates harder than they’ve ever worked for anything before.

      I can’t speak for Cecil or Gordon, but I know that I’ve worked harder on many things. It’s actually not been that hard to discredit Mr. Cates. Just reprint his own words and show the discrepancies to his current campaign persona, and voila! (that’s french for: “It’s actually not been that hard to discredit Mr. Cates”.

      That’s what progressives do.

      And thanks for confirming the disdain you hold us ‘progressives’ in. Good luck to your candidate. Is this Mr. Chaleff or Mr. Hoagland?

    • WitchDoctor

      If “they’ve had virtually zero success promulgating their fantasies in the past”, then why are 2 of the three people you mention already on council? Maybe they are not the fringe minority that you wish they were?

  3. D. Dial

    Maybe the same person who’s paying for Cates phoney progressive green smokescreen….hmmmm?

  4. reasonable

    Barry, it is you who harbors “very serious questions” about a very normal campaign. In fact, it was you who seized upon this arid bone of contention and attempted to enjoin a wailing chorus of “look, look! what is this!” when there is nothing but the honest man (Mark Cates) himself. You do not take him at his word that he did the books of the “nefarious” TEA PAC as a one-time favor to a friend. Nope, you’ve as much as called him a liar. That’s strong stuff without anything to corroborate it with beyond your belief. It’s also venal, petty and contemptuous.

    As to Progressives, obviously I do not believe that is the correct view or way to, ahem, progress.

    You’ve done your level best to obfuscate, fling red herring and attempt to sway opinion to a point of view that doesn’t mirror reality. That’s why I said what I have said. It’s patently obvious to even the most disinterested reader that you’ve done so.

    Don’t feign innocence…it doesn’t become you.

    The other gentlemen (Bothwell and Smith) have spoken for themselves to their detriment, IMHO.

    Finally, no, I’m neither of the fellows you wish me to be.

    I am a common citizen of this city, live downtown and am quite tired of the Progressive government we currently endure…as are many of my contemporaries.

    Do you vote in Asheville? Just curious as it’s really not my business, but again, I am curious about that.

    In any event, my fervent wish is that all thinking persons would eschew Alinsky-esque B.S. and man up with full argument and not the half-truth, omission and innuendo with which Alinsky-ite Progressives use to distort reality.

    • Barry Summers

      Barry, it is you who harbors “very serious questions” about a very normal campaign. In fact, it was you who seized upon this arid bone of contention and attempted to enjoin a wailing chorus of “look, look! what is this!” when there is nothing but the honest man (Mark Cates) himself.

      You’re somehow employed in the theatrical arts, aren’t you?

      Anyway, before you rend anymore clothing, just admit that Mr. Cates wasn’t merely “holding the books for a friend” when the Fact Police grabbed him. That op-ed with his signature underneath was the strategic plan for launching Tea Party candidates to state or national office, through local elections. He was very open about that, and his allegiance to “Tea Party values” Yet, he has ditched any reference to that allegiance while campaigning for City Council. Why is that? Neither you nor he have answered that simple question, so we are left to come to our conclusions.

      And I haven’t called Mr. Cates a liar so much as I’ve called him ‘deceptive’, which is the same as calling him a politician.

      To answer your question (and yes, I consider it completely your business to ask), no – I do not vote in Asheville municipal elections. I live about ten feet outside City limits. That doesn’t mean that City Council elections are not of interest to me. I use City water, for example. If a Council candidate has oh, say… indicated he would like to see the City water system privatized, well, that would affect me. So I pay attention and say what I think. This is a problem for you, apparently.

  5. I have to observe that it is symptomatic of the sorry state of politics today when a video that presents accurate information about a candidate is deemed “an attack ad.”

    If we who wish to serve in elected office can’t be held to account for our records, what’s the point of an election?

    Cates’ economic “plan” is a bunch of claptrap. It advocates doing many things that are already being done, and have been done for years. The rest is pleasant greenwashing. The fact that he hasn’t ever even bothered to vote in a municipal election here says worlds. His close alignment with Tim Moffitt should scare any Asheville taxpayer.

    The final financial reports will be interesting reading, but, of course, will only be available AFTER the election.

  6. Jake

    Mark Cates is about as dishonest as politicians come — which is REALLY saying something. Except for an interview by Jake Frankel in this paper, there has been NO effort by local media to reveal Cates’ true colors. Don’t blame PARC for filling in where the media have failed to do their job of reporting what is really going on in the community.

  7. Dionysis

    It doesn’t take much work at all, much less “hard work” to cast suspicion on Mark Cates’ candidacy. No one is making stuff up about him, only using his own words and his own efforts to obscure his passionate support for Tea Party values. For someone to claim that their high school ‘political experience’ (as class president, or whatever it was) when quizzed by a reporter, as the sum of his political experience, while completely ignoring his Tea Party activities, says a lot.

    Sure, his proponents want to divert and hurl insults at those who bring this reality up, but like the Phoenix, it just keeps rising from the ashes.

  8. D. Dial

    Cates has left a revealing paper trail….only a blind idealogue cannot see that. It’s the internet world Reasonable (aka RR)…you can run but you cannot hide. In this case Mr. Cates is running for office and hiding under the illusion of being a green progressive. Paper trails show otherwise.

  9. J


    if Barry keeps hammering Fritz like this, Fritz isn’t going to get elected to city council.

    • Barry Summers

      Fritz is a pro. This is a guess, not knowing the guy, but I doubt he has any interest in running for office himself. He’s here to try to get Mark Cates into the Tea Pipeline to Raleigh and/or Washington, and win or lose, he’s then off to wherever the PAC money calls.

      No disparagement in that, BTW. There are “professional political operatives” working on all sides of the street – some of them are friends of mine…

  10. J


    A note on the English language – an attack is dubbed an attack ad because it is just that – it is an ad that attacks one candidate instead of promoting others.

    Your propaganda is also just that – propaganda. Perhaps the sorry state of affairs is when the people elected are so unreasonable that the expect their propaganda to be taken as the truth.

  11. indy499

    A big thank you to Bothwell and Parc. Between this slander and Cecil’s sneak attack on Jan Davis, I’ve got 2 of my 3 pegged now——————-Cates and Davis.

  12. dpewen

    As a reasonable person who lives downtown and does not hide behind some ridiculous posting name, I will not support a republican/tea party member for our city council. I am very happy with progressives on the council of a very progressive city! Some people who live here complain about progressives and that is too bad … we want to keep this city freaky and progressive!! The vast majority of the city voters feel that way … and it shows in the polls.

  13. Fab4

    Voting (or not voting) based on party affiliation = drinking from a shallow well. We need jobs people! We need business professionals, entrepreneurs and financial literacy for a change. Vote on issues, NOT party.

    • sharpleycladd

      Except Republicans and Tea Partiers have nothing in their stated platform that will create a single job. Quite the contrary: A program of privatization and public-sector impoverishment actually eliminates jobs and stunts economic growth.

  14. cecilbothwell

    Indy, just for the record, again … I didn’t attack Jan Davis. I observed that the 125 page investigative report from the Alcohol Law Enforcement agency detailing misprision of the ABC Board and its management made particular mention of the fact that Davis was liaison to the Board and performed all of their automobile service. A separate page was devoted to accounting for the money involved in those transactions.

    What I noted was that it looked bad and that elected officials ought to go out of their way to avoid the appearance of cronyism. The fact that Davis then announced that he had sought the City Attorney’s legal counsel on the issue before volunteering for the post as liaison tells me that he KNEW it looked bad. And with a former mayor, and another former Council member sitting on the board, the appearance of cronyism was all too blatant.

    Such easily avoidable “good old boys” operations contribute to the general distrust of government that is broadly a Republican game plan, and specifically a Tea Party shibboleth. It contributes to the idea that “they’re all crooks, they’re all in government to line their own pockets” and so on. It depresses voter turnout. It is bad for governance.

    I have yet to see a reasoned defense of Davis’ relationship to the ABC board that addresses what to me seems a clear insult to the public’s trust.

    • J

      But Cecil: “This is a small town. Of course people know people and work with people and etc. But you haven

    • Barry Summers

      Apples & oranges. The case of Esther involved her being forced to recuse herself from a close vote because the subject of that vote, Frank Howington, hired one of her partners mere hours before the vote, in a transparent move to swing the vote his way.

      In the ABC case, Jan should have known (and indeed, he DID seem to know) that accepting business from the ABC Board while acting as CC liaison looked bad. Whether he did anything corrupt (and he probably didn’t) he should’ve opted to either pass on being ABC liaison, or pass on the relatively small maintenance contract. Arguing that there was nothing wrong in having both ignores his responsibility to set a strong example, especially when you consider the level of impropriety that was going on with the ABC Board right under his nose.

  15. J, Barry mostly covered the bases here.

    But as for Shriner: it wasn’t about a particular case. It was about her testimony during the Council interview that she had no knowledge of development issues in Asheville – she presented as an empty-nester soccer mom who wanted to give back to the community. When I learned later that her husband was a partner in the Deal Buick property development plans, it was clear that she had misrepresented herself and her possible financial interest in a major development project. It was the failure to disclose that I took exception to, and for you to boldly state that she had no financial interest in that project is preposterous. Neither you nor I know what the financials are on that property.

  16. travelah

    I do not see that Cates has hidden a thing from anybody. He is running as a Republican with grass roots Middle American support. He has concern for the environment. So what?

  17. Barry Summers

    Mr. Cates is not just a Republican, trav, as you well know. He put his plan to advance “Tea Party values” to Raleigh and Washington in writing less than a year ago.

    “The only real option for those who hope to rein in the federal government has made itself more evident this election cycle. This is good news for the tea party and like-minded citizens because the way forward is clear.

    “…the tea party needs to focus on supporting local individuals who can develop experience in governing over time.

    “…focus our efforts on supporting candidates at the local and state levels that are aligned with Tea Party values.

    “If we can

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