Letter: Where’s the coverage of Edwards vs. Beach-Ferrara?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

An odd thing has happened on the road to the N.C. 11 congressional election. Mountain Xpress’ coverage has been nearly invisible. Coverage by all other local media has been anemic and superficial. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara vs. Chuck Edwards just doesn’t seem to inspire local media the way the blood sport of Moe Davis vs. Madison Cawthorn did two years ago. A very consequential congressional election doesn’t seem to merit many column inches and any thoughtfulness when it might not boost attention, circulation and clicks.

What has been particularly lacking is attention to who these candidates are concerning their backgrounds, belief and policies. Does a candidate stand for the legacy of Jim Crow or of the civil rights movement or of something entirely different? Regarding the 2020 and 2022 elections, are the differences between Edwards and Cawthorn matters of style or substance? The same question holds for the differences between Beach-Ferrara and Davis. Are the emotions each candidate seeks to evoke important: I think it’s fair to observe fear from Edwards, hope from Beach-Ferrara? Is there a difference between being a reactionary and a thoughtful conservative? Between being a woke radical and a sensible progressive?

From reading Chuck Edwards’ messages to constituents over the last four years, it’s clear that his arrogance knows no bounds. He shares the kind of self-righteousness that Cawthorn pushed like squeaky chalk on a blackboard. His panic about “critical race theory” is remarkable for how well it fits with a longtime Republican attempt to defund and undermine public education. His conception of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is limited to quoting “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” as though that was the sum of the Rev. King’s message and the movement’s demands for justice.

One wonders whether Edwards is aware that the Rev. King was in Memphis that awful April 1968 to give strong and unwavering support to the sanitation workers’ union. One wonders whether the pseudo-populist and virulently anti-union Chuck Edwards would prohibit teaching that fact in North Carolina’s schools and would remove from our school libraries any books that give a deep and comprehensive accounting of the civil rights movement and why it was necessary and just.

With just weeks left before the Nov. 8 election, we should expect that Mountain Xpress will at least try to report on both Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Chuck Edwards, what they represent and what they might do for the people of N.C. 11.

— Paul Weichselbaum

Editor’s note: The writer reports planning to volunteer for Beach-Ferrara’s campaign but adds: “The author’s perspectives outlined in this letter were not reviewed or approved by Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and her campaign.”

For Xpress’ part, we’d note that Edwards did not respond to multiple requests for participation in the Xpress Voter Guide, though articles published Aug. 24 (avl.mx/c3r) and Sept. 7 (avl.mx/xmasjbh) reported on his positions.


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Where’s the coverage of Edwards vs. Beach-Ferrara?

    • NFB

      It’ll be a bit closer than 70/30. Buncombe makes up a bit more the 1/3 of the district population Beach-Ferrara will do well here.

      She will get demolished in the other counties, but mathmattically Buncombe will see to it that she at least sort of keeps her head above water. She will likely break 40% district wide, but not by much something along the lies of 58/42 seems in the cards and you can maybe subtract 2 or 3 points from Edwards because of the Libertarian candidate. But yeah, your overall conclusion is correct. Forgone conclusion races don’t get a lot of notice.

  1. Voirdire

    I am reluctant to say this, but the nomination of Beach-Ferrara -whom has close to zero electable weight outside the city limits of Asheville- points to two very obvious things. One, the chasm between the voting denizens of Asheville, and the rest of the 11th district is as wide and deep as it gets. And two, the inability of WNC democrats to come up with even a remotely electable candidate is, well, a bit mind boggling. .. to put it mildly. This is why there is basically no coverage of this race ….and unfortunately, Edwards will prove to be every bit as horrid -in his own somewhat understated/ flying under the radar way- as Meadows and Cawthorn did as our respective representatives to Congress. sigh.

    • NFB

      You are correct, although I am not sure if in the current political climate there IS a Democrat who is electable in NC-11.

      Back in the 80’s NC-11 was perhaps the single most competitive congressional district in the country with the regular Jamie Clarke vs. Bill Hendon races getting national attention in what was called the “revolving door district.” Incumbents lost in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1990. Winning margins in those years was never more than 52/48 and that was the high water mark.

      Back then Buncombe was only barely blue. The narrow Democratic margin easily got wiped out by Henderson County while other counties in the district, Yancey, Madison, Haywood, Jackson, Swain, regularly delivered solid Democratic wins. Today it is Buncombe that is heavily blue with those other counties much more Republican.

      Ms. Beach-Ferrara is a fine public servant but a candidate who is a part of the Buncombe power structure is not going to play well in the 65% of the rest of the district even if her policy stances were more in line with it.

      I was glad to see Madison Cawthorn lose the Republican primary and, despite watching him in the legislature I had sort of vaguely hoped that Edwards, now that he had the nomination and was overwhelming favored to win in November, might conduct himself a little more maganimously (wishful thinking, I guess.) Instead we get the standard culture war rhetoric, a refusal to answer any basic questions in MX’s voter guide, and refusal to hold more than one debate with his opponent (despite lambasting Cawthorn for refusing more than two in the primary.) Edwards is making it plain that he has absolutely no interest in serving a sizable minority of his district. Even Charles Taylor was willing to have town hall meetings in Asheville. Don’t expect to see Edwards here at all, other than maybe to talk to CIBO. Once in office he is going to be more concerned with preventing a serious primary challenge, so look for Cawthron 2.0. The same as Cawthorn 1.0, just without the, ahem, cousin videos.

      • Voirdire

        yes, I agree completely …note that I said a “remotely” electable [democratic] candidate. Anyway, I also agree that Ms. Beach-Ferrera is fine public servant, doing good work there in the Bubble. And I miss Jamie Clarke… he was awesome…. hard to imagine he was our Congressman in light of the last almost forty years of Congressmen we’ve since managed to send to the US Congress. sigh again.

        • indy499

          Stop with the “public servant” nonsense. Some folks like to be at the public trough their entire life.

          • Voirdire

            okay, how about idiot savant? …surely that works for you ;) And btw, I’m pretty sure Beach-Ferrara is there at the “trough” to forward her and her constituent’s agenda…. the compensatory swill is pretty thin as a city commissioner of Asheville, oui?

      • indy499

        I’d guess 90% of people vote for their tribe irrespective of the candidate. That is not completely illogical, btw, because when they get to congress and get strongarmed by their leadership, they vote as a block (Manchin an exception).

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    It’s all very humorous in this race…hard to take seriously.

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