Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Republicans sweep local election races (yawn.)

(Reprinted from the Mooresville Weekly, Nov. 5, 2010; leave your comments at the end of this posting or at http://mooresvilleweekly.com/opinion/2010/11/republicans-sweep-local-election-races-yawn/)

Tuesday, as expected, was a great day for the GOP when it gained several seats in the Senate and took control of the House of Representatives in a historic national election. Locally, Republicans also swept the Iredell County elections, but that wasn’t surprising. Why? Because being elected to public office in Iredell has almost always been as simple as running Republican.

To the majority of Iredell voters, moral character and fiscal responsibility are irrelevant, as is how much money is raised or spent campaigning. It doesn’t even matter if a Republican candidate is a liberal-at-heart (or even if they’ve previously registered Democrat). Most Iredell voters don’t care who the candidate is, or what baggage they carry, as long as they carry the “R” behind their name.

Tuesday’s Iredell election was no exception. It was boring. (Yawn!) Anticipated. Predictable. After all, every contested partisan seat, as expected, was won – easily – by a Republican.

Of 43,077 ballots cast in Tuesday’s election in Iredell County, 16,008 voters cast straight-ticket ballots, with 10,292 of those being Republican.

Sheriff Phil Redmond, a Republican, easily carried his race, thanks in part to those straight-ticket voters. But how many of his supporters realize that Redmond was a Democrat before deciding to run for Iredell County sheriff in 1994? Redmond changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1987 – 13 years after he began working for the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office and seven years before he became sheriff.

Bill Stamey, the Democrat who challenged Redmond, collected only 9,321 votes on Tuesday, compared to Redmond’s 24,431. Though on paper Robert “Skip” Alexander, who is unaffiliated, was the most qualified candidate for sheriff – with prior service as a law-enforcement officer, a lawyer and a special agent with the FBI – he garnered even fewer votes than Stamey, finishing with only 8,897.

Let’s face it: Redmond didn’t need to campaign to win; he’s not only a registered Republican, he has also been Iredell’s sitting sheriff for 16 years. But according to campaign finance records at the Iredell County Elections Office, Redmond raised $10,700 in campaign funds, primarily through individual contributions.

Redmond’s campaign expenditures totaled about $12,800, including refunds/reimbursements from his campaign committee and in-kind contributions. Redmond spent the majority of his campaign collections on newspaper and radio advertising, shirts, cards and campaign signs.

Stamey raised a fraction of Redmond’s campaign bounty. He collected about $8,800 – $3,000 of which he loaned to his own campaign. Stamey’s expenses, including in-kind contributions, totaled about $8,500. The majority of Stamey’s campaign collections were applied to advertising, cards and campaign yard signs.

Then there’s Alexander, who spent about $19,500 of his personal money on advertising, printing and promotional materials, such as rulers, jar openers, caps and shirts. Alexander did not raise money from individual contributions.

Just as Redmond easily secured his fourth term as Iredell’s sheriff because he is a Republican, a 20-year county officeholder lost her seat primarily because she isn’t.

Brenda Bell has been Iredell’s Register of Deeds since 1990. It was presumed that since Bell was the long-time incumbent, she had a natural edge on Tuesday. Another factor appeared to give her even more leverage: Bell and her experience were being challenged by a young, political newcomer, Matt McCall, who had just turned seven years old when Bell first became Iredell’s Register of Deeds.

Bell secured $4,000 more in individual campaign contributions than McCall, and she spent double what McCall did on his campaign. But Bell lost the race, 18,807 votes to McCall’s 23,471.

Don’t get me wrong: McCall seems like a great guy. He is young, personable and energized, and he will almost certainly introduce new, fresh ideas to a little-known office in Iredell County. But he received nearly 10,300 straight-ticket votes right off the jump simply because he’s Republican. He knows as well as the next guy – and I’d bet he’d be willing to admit – that the “R” behind his name gave him an immediate advantage over Bell in Iredell County.

Even while Redmond and McCall arguably would have won the election without raising or spending the first penny in campaign materials, credit belongs to both men, especially McCall – who called a press conference to air some of his concerns about the Register of Deeds office – for demonstrating the spirit of democracy by actively vying for their seats.

The top three vote-getters in the Iredell County Board of Commissioners race – all Republicans – campaigned more like what could be expected of Republicans who know they are government shoe-ins.

Compared to the tens of thousands of dollars spent in other county races, Marvin Norman, a Republican incumbent, spent about $1,800 on promotional materials and dinner tickets to a Republican Party event. Republican incumbent Steve Johnson spent about $4,200 on campaign signs and radio advertisements. Newcomer Renee Griffith spent about $1,920 on a photo for newspaper advertising, promotional items and entrance to an event where she campaigned.

All three Republicans easily edged out their one Democratic challenger, Theodore Geary, who collected only 11,912 votes compared to Johnson’s 30,299, Norman’s 30,013 and Griffith’s 29,283.

In a separate election to determine who will serve the remainder of the late Godfrey Williams’ term on the county board, Republican Frank Mitchell easily defeated Democrat Chuck Gallyon. Both spent about the same amount of money in their campaigns. Mitchell spent about $1,265, primarily on campaign signs, and he collected 27,690 votes. Gallyon spent about $1,350 on cards, handouts, posters and emery boards. He collected only 14,532 votes.

Finally, in the election for Iredell County Clerk of Superior Court, Republican incumbent Rena Turner easily defeated Democrat challenger, Erin Mendaloff-Green, 30,073 votes to 12,110, respectively.

Nothing except party affiliation matters in an Iredell County election – not the time or money spent campaigning and not who’s most qualified for the job.

Perhaps many Iredell voters would say “don’t fix what isn’t broken” – certainly those who are registered and voted Republican on Tuesday are happy with the status quo.

But I wonder if those same Republicans realize that when they vote straight-ticket, they may easily be voting for a true-blue Iredell Democrat who has switched party affiliation simply to have that “R” behind his or her name?

After all, one’s record doesn’t have to speak for itself. At least not when you’re in Iredell County. And not when you’re running Republican.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sour grapes?....

I really don't see your point on this Jamie. There is nothing earth shattering here...politics has always been a matter of affiliation...nothing has changed...

Tis' better to light a candle than to complain about the darkness!...Jamie, on this one, you haven't shone a light on anything. What are your positive suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

Jamie you are dead on it. The problem with this county is there are ignorant, uninformed people in the north and lazy people that won't vote in the south.

I spoke to a person who was going to vote. He said he absolutely would not vote for one of the democratic canidates. When I asked why? He replied "Because he is a democrat."

This county has it's own elitist politicians and thanks to the uninformed voters they are keeping their positions just becuase of R after their names.

Voters need to step away from their parties. That is what is hurting all government. People vote for what is best for their parties and not what is best for the people.

My "positive suggestion" is for people to leave their parties and register as independents. This would keep incubents guessing if they were going to win. Thus causing them to make sound, responsible decisions.

God help Iredell County if the people don't wake up and pay attention to whats happening.

Anonymous said...

I hear CNN is accepting applications

Anonymous said...

Term limits would be one suggestion.

Anonymous said...

A Democrat will never win office in Iredell County and that is just fine by me HOWEVER there are some Republicans that NEED TO GO. They will never be voted out and in that respect I agree with the other post that said this article is dead on. How do we go about pushing for term limits for public officials? Does anybody know?

Anonymous said...

Most of the people are not directly connected with this political BS and really don't care. As long as their life is going "pretty good" they will just keep voting as they always have. Those few that are right in the middle want to see changes made and can't understand why everybody can't see it.

Anonymous said...

10:06 Keep your eyes closed and Keep drinking your republican red kool aid. I for one want to know who I am voting for when I go to the polls.

I am a hard core conservative who only wants a clean government.

It's called the tea party movement. Look into it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe reporting in Mecklenburg county would fit into your liberal agenda. -Joe H.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you must be new here. Let me introduce you to Jamie Gatton. She wants to rid the government of corruption no matter what the persons party affiliation. Sound liberal to you?

Anonymous said...

one dowdle gone, one getting a new tahoe maybe the sbi will get to work now????how long before the sheriff hires her?? wait and see

Anonymous said...

Let me get this right, Jamie. You're obviously a liberal at heart and disappointed that your band on brothers got spanked. You're for big government and social programs. That's why your party of choice got killed in the election, the Republican Party stands for what most of common sense America wants, not the crap that you and the Democratic Party profess. As to Skip Alexander, what made him the most qualified candidate? Just because he was a lawyer and former FBI Agent by no means makes him qualified to be Sheriff. I've known plenty of FBI Agents who never once testified in court, were full time surveillance agents and did no real life law enforcement. Stamey and Redmond were career law enforcement officers with an understanding of the county. Like it or not, the best candidate won. Better luck for you and your party, but in two years it'll be more of the same.

Yankee Bob

Anonymous said...

You just don't get it do you Bobby?

Vic Marquis said...

The mind set of the local republicans, is just vote for th R's. no matter how crooked and corrupt they are. For me , moving into a RED State, offers no surprises. The worst part of this election, is putting REDMOND back in his very questionable seat. If it were a Democrat pulling the stunts he does, the dem would be out on his ass. Oh Well another election done, and Status Quo remains, giving us more NO votes in History.

Anonymous said...

Vic, you're confused. The party you're talking about is the Democratic Party. They've been in power in North Carolina for the past 100 years. I guess you've forgotten about Jim Black and the other democrats convicted of state and federal crimes. Oh, I forgot that Mike Easley is presently under investigation. If I'm not mistaken he's a Democrat. Talk about crooked, look at the gerrymandered district of your local Democrat Congressman, Mel Watt. What's up with that? That 100 mile district was created to put a Democrat in power, with no chance for a Republican candidate. As to Redmond, no he's not perfect, but no one is and he was more qualified than the other two. Apparently, 58% of the county agreed.

Yankee Bob

Anonymous said...

Oh Bobby. First off like, you I am a conservative.

Apparently you missed Skip's qualifications. The only reason that crooked Redmond won was becuase of the R after his name. He rode the waive of uninformed voters.

By the way did you miss the other articles about Redmond. Saying Redmond is not perfect is like saying Hitler wasn't perfect.

You sound like a smart guy, but you need to do more homework.

Anonymous said...

in many of these cases the person was actually the best for the job. 'skip' alexander only had the intention of serving one term, and i think word got around about that. the people who know sherriff redmond actually think he does a pretty good job. rena turner was clearly more experienced for her clerk position, and her competition was just not. democrats have to realize that what is going on nationally is the reason so many were voting straight ticket, not just blind republicans in iredell county.

Anonymous said...

To November 8 5:18pm.

The people who REALLY know Redmond know he is one of the most evil, corrupt persons around, they also know he has the power, money and charm to hide it well. It's ironic that so many people talk about the bad drug problem in Iredell County when the main reason for it is that the Sheriff is involved in the distribution of it. Yes, Redmond does do a great job of hiding what he is really doing from the majority of the people. Hopefully with more articles from Jamie Gatton this will start to change.

Anonymous said...

8:15...guess you got that crack your smoking from Redmond?

Anonymous said...

7:03 all i can say to you is your full of crap!!I "REALLY" know Redmond i've worked for him for years, evil he is not,corrupt he is not,charm well i'll give you that one, a drug dealer your just a liar on that one. "Gatton" it's not hard to tell she's a tree-hugging liberal who most likely voted for Hussian Bamma. "YOU" it's not hard to tell you were a Nickleson supporter who Redmond fired. Go find another job an get a life!!!!

Anonymous said...

7:41 you don't work for Redmond now and you never have. Do you even live in North Carolina or are you just family looking to harrass?

Anonymous said...

7:03...so what IF Redmond is selling drugs? He gets lots of drugs off the streets and confiscated money to boot to start new programs and get equipment. Maybe sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

Anonymous said...

4:53.....Really? You can't possibly be that stupid.

Anonymous said...

7:40...Nobody is perfect. Regardless of what may be going on behind the scenes Redmond is doing a great job. Read the paper and look at the recognition he has received. Aren't all Sheriffs crooked to some degree? Nobody is going to be the perfect Sheriff and Redmond is no exception. This deal with Adams was only a Sheriff looking out for one of his best deputies who was trying to reap some fringe benefits from a low paying job. The reason that Adams was hired, put through rookie school and placed in detective so quickly is that the Sheriff is able, due to his years of law enforcement experience, to recognize talent when he sees it. Not everyone takes years to learn a job. Tommy is very smart and picks up on things quicker than most. As for the guns they were going to be destroyed anyway. I think that is what probably happened to Mr. Goforths belongings as well. There was a mix up and the items were going to be destroyed so some were probably taken home. Dowdle told Goforth that he has steam engines himself. Wouldn't surprise me if he has them if he thought they were going to be destroyed. After it was discovered to be a mistake he may have just been too embarrassed to return them. Wouldn't you be? Goforth was paid for his belongings at a price that he set. I don't see what the big deal is. Why should useful stuff be destroyed? That makes no sense whatsoever. The sheriff and his men are a practical bunch. Good north end boys who know the value of a dollar because they have been hard workers all of their lives. Do you think that Jamie Gatton or Mark Nicholson would throw useful propery away if they were in control of it? I think not.

Anonymous said...

I think it is high time that some people got a life of their own and let the Sheriff do his job however he sees fit. The voters have spoken and he was re-elected with ease. I personally think that Nicholson worked there all this time and saw what Redmond has built the place up to and saw the side benefits of being sheriff. Now he wants to be in charge of a great department and reap those benefits himself. I work for Redmond too but unlike Nicholson I am still here because I know what an impact Redmond has had on the crime in Iredell County. Look at the statistics and read the paper. I don't know why a handful of people are so determined to cause problems for a good man. It is the same people posting on here trying to look like a vast majority. I haven't asked him but I am sure the Sheriff isn't impressed or concerned. Nothing has changed and we are all still doing the great job we were doing before this election timed political attack was launched. I hope Redmond is my boss for as long as he wants to be and according to the votes that were cast once again, he will be. Keep your head up Sheriff and you too Tommy. Don't let a handful of idiots drag you down. Jamie Gatton, start writing childrens books because you are great at fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

8:13..... I can't believe what I was reading.
There is one reason and one reason only that you should destroy a perfectly good item from the evidence room. That (one) reason is BECAUSE THE JUDGE OREDERED IT DESTROYED. That is what you have to do. I don't give a rat's ass how good it is or how valuable it is, you can not just take it home. I can not believe that you actually think that is proper.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that 8:13 and 8:31 were being sarcastic with those last posts. If not that is exactly the reason I did not vote for Redmond this time. There is alot of "rumors" about him and his top cops that have been going around for years, not just at election time. Where there is that much smoke,there is fire somewhere even if we don't want to admit it. First of all, they are sworn to uphold the laws not to break them. Cover ups are the same as breaking the law,no less than the criminals that are in jail now. Law breakers are criminals whether they wear a badge or drive a car that the county has loaned them. Taxpayers or politicians, they are still criminals and should still be held acccountable if the law is broken. Evidently it has been and still is today but alot won't stand up to do anything about it and those who do get crucified for it.(Sound familiar) Don't quote scriptures and then do the same things over again. No wonder so many people are disgusted with our system today that reward the bad and degrade the good people.

Anonymous said...

James 3: 6-8

6 And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

8 But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Anonymous said...

10:24 you need to get your mind caught up with reality. Sheriff Redmond and his people work hard for low pay and very little thanks. Making use of items that are in evidence unclaimed or to be destroyed only makes good sense. It has always been one of the perks of the job and Sheriff Redmond is obviously old school enough to realize that or he would have had him fired and arrested like the politically correct chiefs that responded to Gatton's questions. Thank goodness we have a Sheriff with common sense instead of some uptight prick who bends to every whim of the system. Relax and tend to things in your own life. Leave the details of law enforcement to those who understand how it works.

Anonymous said...

another liberal story by gatton "yawn" "yawn"

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, it is not "bending to every whim of the system" IT'S THE LAW and when you have the number of years in Law Enforcement and the advanced training that I have....then maybe you will understand.

Anonymous said...

Redmond is the law. Live with it.

Anonymous said...

Redmond isn't the law. Nor are his top cops. He just thinks he is. That's really sad to think of someone who thinks of himself that highly. I feel sorry for his family and employees who have to walk a step behind him and look so pleased knowing what he has done to them.

Anonymous said...

9:55 Redmond THINKS he is the law. He also thinks that things work like they did in the 70's which is where his law enforcement knowledge ends. And, so far the S.B.I. has aided him in running things the 1970's way. Nobody's luck holds out forever. Not even Redmond's.

Anonymous said...

8:13
Tommy does pick up on things quicker than most. Of course after he picks it up he keeps it. You may be willing to accept corruption, but I am not.

I know Mark Nicholson. He will always do the right thing. Even if that means destroying a piece of property that the court has ordered destroyed.

Anonymous said...

8:31 If you work for Redmond and think highly of him you must be one of the few that are in the loop. You know what I mean. One of the guys that the SOP does not apply to. One of those guys that can do as they please and not have to worry about the consequences. Those are the only employees that respect him.

Anonymous said...

2:23 everyone has the opportunity to be "in the loop". It is all in how you play the game. If you choose not to be a team player then I guess you will always be just another deputy. Make your decisions and live with them but quit bitching and whining because the Sheriff favors others who do what he asks of them.

Everyone else that is whining can quit as well. If anything illegal was being done don't you think that there would have been an investigation followed by charges? Instead no one has been charged with anything and that is for a reason. Get with the program and quit complaining about things that don't exist.

Anonymous said...

1:41 if Tommy had done something "corrupt" he wouldn't be there right now. Tommy gets picked on because he is favored by the Sheriff for doing what he is told. They have a trust between them based on good leadership and employee dedication. Try doing your job correctly which begins with trusting the man that the citizens of Iredell County have chosen AGAIN to be their sheriff.

Also Mark Nicholson isn't any different than anyone else including Tommy. He is crying about problems that don't exist so he can be in a position to reap the side benefits of law enforcement. He has a personality conflict with the sheriff that he can't get over so he wants his job. Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

7:17 What planet are you from anyway?

Anonymous said...

7:17

I agree Mark Nicholson has a personality conflict with the Sheriff that he can not get over. Mark is what you would call an honest man and the Sheriff is what you would call a dishonest man. Glad Mark doesn't want to get over that.

Anonymous said...

7:17 is from planet Redmond. Where the Koolaid flows free and evidence is open for personal use. I've been there. Dowdle flew by riding a unicorn and Campbell was blowing purple bubbles from a giant badge shaped bubble ring.

Anonymous said...

No article in the best paper in Mooresville this week.. WHY????? did they fire your always critical ass? I along with many others hope so and also wish that your blog would close up also.

Anonymous said...

9:40 sounds like you need to read the Redmond & Landmark to get your daily dose of liberal white washed feel good everything is fine bullshit. This blog is for people who like the truth.