The Campaign Trail: A look at what happened this week in local politics

In the 10th Congressional District race, Democrat Patsy Keever continued to hammer Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry this week over Medicare and Social Security.

As she did a week before, her campaign shot out a press release that aimed to portray McHenry as an extremist and “loyal [Paul] Ryan servant” who’s wants to “end Medicare as we know it” by converting it into “a voucher system that could cost seniors an additional $6000 a year for their health care.”

Meanwhile, the McHenry campaign continued to tout a recent Forbes Magazine article that named the four-term incumbent one of the country’s most influential people in business crowd funding.

Highlighting his business credentials, McHenry also visited Asheville, which is now largely in the 10th District, to take a tour of local breweries. Gathered over pizza and beer at the Asheville Brewing Company, he told folks involved in the local beer industry that he strongly supports the Small Brew Act, which would lower taxes on every craft brewery in the country.

Keever also told Xpress that she supports the bill. And after an appearance on Local Edge Radio with Blake Butler, Keever sent out another statement calling for McHenry to do a radio debate with her.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for McHenry told Xpress that he’s planning to take part in three debates with Keever, including one in Buncombe County. Details are still being worked out, according to the campaign.

Meadows heads to Tampa, Rogers slams him over education policy
In the 11th Congressional District race, Republican Mark Meadows’ campaign announced that the Highlands businessman will speak at his party’s National Convention when it convenes in Tampa on Aug. 27. He was one of only a dozen or so congressional candidates in the whole country to be invited to speak at the convention.

Those candidates, said RNC Chief Executive Officer William Harris in a statement,“represent the future of our party and a better future for our country.”

Local Republicans are planning to gather the evening of Aug. 27 to watch the convention at Pack’s Tavern in downtown Asheville.

In other news from the Meadows campaign, Majority Leader Eric Cantor joined him at a Aug. 22 fundraiser in Asheville.

But Meadows’ Democratic opponent, Hayden Rogers, used the occasion to take a whack at him over education, saying the Republican’s “agenda is even too extreme for Cantor.” In a statement, he noted that Meadows has repeatedly called for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education – which Cantor is opposed too. The Rogers campaign asserted that Meadows’ education plans would cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for special needs children and rural school districts.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee sent out another statement aiming to tie Rogers to his national party and the struggling economy, bashing “Democrats’ job-crushing agenda.”

Battle continues over N.C. House District 116, Asheville Water System
In other political news, N.C. House Democratic Candidate Jane Whilden released a statement calling a controversial blog post by her opponent, Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt, “extremely irresponsible.”

She also huddled with supporters at an Aug. 21 fundraiser in Fletcher.

Meanwhile, Moffitt appeared Aug. 24 on The Pete Kaliner Show on News Radio 570 AM, and answered a wide variety of questions about the proper role of state government, redistricting, the Asheville Regional Airport Authority and the Asheville Water System.

Despite serving on a committee that recommended the controversial step of transferring control of the Asheville Water System to the Metropolitan Sewage District, Moffitt told Kaliner that he “supports” city council’s recent decision to put a referendum on the November ballot. It will read: “Shall the City of Asheville undertake the sale or lease of its water treatment system and water distribution system.”

Moffitt said he supports the referendum because his proposal doesn’t call for the “sale or lease” of the system and he doesn’t want it privatized.

However, a few weeks earlier, as city council was still considering whether to hold the referendum or not, he told Xpress that the proposal “serves no purpose.” Under state law, the referendum won’t be binding on the actions of the General Assembly.

On The Pete Kaliner show, Moffitt said he thinks his opponents are trying to use the water system issue as a political ploy to defeat him in November.

Buncombe County commission race gets personnel
And in the race for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, the recent fracas over the county’s personnel policy seemed to set the stage for a heated debate over equality and transparency issues going in to the fall. 

Rankled by a failed effort to add LGBT protections to the county’s personnel ordinance, Commissioner Holly Jones urged voters in a Aug. 21 Facebook post to support candidates she says “aren’t afraid to stand up for our LGBT employees.”

Citing Ellen Frost, Brownie Newman, and Terry Van Duyn, she declared that “a new generation is coming, one who understands the relevance of this specific protection and can think for themselves.” (Xpress will have more on this development in the Aug. 29 print issue).

A couple of days later, Frost kicked off her general election campaign Aug. 23 with a fundraiser at Hickory Nut Gap Farms in Fairview.

But the commissioner candidates with the most money, might not necessarily win in November, according to an Aug. 24 article in the Asheville Citizen–Times.

In local races, sometimes good retail politics can overcome financial disadvantages. And the article noted that in the May primary, “Republican J.B. Howard won his party’s nomination for the chairman’s job despite being outspent by his opponent, Glenda Weinert, more than 15-to-1.”

Meanwhile, Xpress is continuing to seek reader suggestions for questions to ask this year’s local candidates in its election questionnaire. If you’ve got any on your mind, post them in the comments section of this blog.


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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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9 thoughts on “The Campaign Trail: A look at what happened this week in local politics

  1. “a controversial blog post by her opponent, Republican Rep. Tim Moffitt..”

    Here’s the ACTUAL link to the so-called “controversial blog post”:

    Specifically in what way it is controversial has yet to be discovered. The post occurred hours prior to a vote by city council to hold a meaningless and purely political nonbinding referendum on the irrelevant question of selling or leasing a public enterprise to which the city cannot properly claim exclusive ownership.

    [@TimMoffitt post on local gov timestamp: “3:33 PM – 14 Aug 12” | City council meetings start at 5p. #avlgov #avlh2o]

    And, as accurately reported above, Rep. Moffitt has no quarrel with the referendum. The referendum has absolutely no bearing on the matter at hand. The city might as well hold a referendum on selling the Brooklyn Bridge.

    A question asked on the Pete Kaliner show was, “The Legislative Research Commission

  2. D. Dial

    Tim are you saying that the exchange is in the video, but missing from the minutes? If so do you have an idea where in the timeline this occurs?

  3. bsummers

    This is going to two long months of swatting down lies.

    “City Attorney Bob Oast AFFIRMED Mayor Bellamy’s suspicion that a ‘No’ result on the referendum would “effectively prevent the city from collecting compensation”

    That is simply 180 degrees FALSE – he said no such thing. The minutes reflect exactly what he did say, and you can see the entire exchange on the video. The referendum discussion starts at 1:56:30, and the Mayors question and Oasts reply starts at 2:02:15. (BTW, my computer will not play these videos using Firefox, but they will play using Explorer.)

    I don’t know if Leslee Kulba was asleep during this part, and she simply asked someone else what happened when she woke up, or if she too has gone over to the darkside of: flat-out lying. But if you were there (as I was), or if you watch the video, you know that what she reported (and Mr. Peck will continue to repeat even though it’s a lie) is FALSE.

    (BTW, if the only way you can continue to justify this falsehood is by implying that City Clerk Maggie Burleson has deliberately falsified the minutes, I guarantee you will be assailed by people from all over the political spectrum.)

    • Dionysis

      You still willing to pay attention to his habitual fantasies and falsehoods?

    • bsummers

      As long as certain people are trying to get falsehoods about the water issue into print, yes. Somebody else has to correct the record, or the whole discussion gets clogged up with crap.

      Yuck. I need some waders.

    • Jake Frankel

      Hi Tim, Do you have a question about that Tweet? I see the question mark but I’m not sure if you’re asking me something?

  4. D. Dial: “Tim are you saying that the exchange is in the video, but missing from the minutes?”

    D. Dial, after reviewing the video I don’t find the remarks by Oast to substantiate Leslee’s report. The official minutes appear to correctly reflect comments made.

    Also, in the Tribune report Leslee states that, “The study committee, then, determined that the city could retain the water system so long as they ‘negotiated in good faith’ with entities lining up to take over the system.”

    The committee recommends that the legislature take action to transfer the system. The city may negotiate the transfer in advance of a mandate but “retaining the system” is not an option.

  5. Jake Frankel: “Hi Tim, Do you have a question about that Tweet?”

    No. The extra character (?) turns up when I copy from Twitter and paste here.

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