Judgment day

By Steve Woodward

Moore County citizens, and North Carolinians across the state, should by now be acutely aware of the havoc that can be wrought by activist judges. Exhibit A is the state’s congressional map, redrawn as recently as 2016 when a court ruled the 2011 map unconstitutional as a result of so-called racial gerrymandering, and challenged again this year by a three-judge panel, skewing Democrat, only months ahead of pending 2018 mid-term elections. Fortunately for voters of all parties, an effort to re-draw close to an election was quelled.

Until the recent hard-left turn by the Democrat Party, the phrase “activist judge” rarely was mentioned. But the party gradually has become intoxicated by the practice of overturning the will of voters in courts.

This is relevant in these early days of November 2018 because there are six contested judicial races on the Moore County ballot. Despite their best efforts, Republican judicial candidates, most of whom are incumbents, will go into Election Day this Nov. 6 (Tuesday) likely wondering if their campaign appearances and yard signs will lift them to victory.

Democrats have the same fears, undoubtedly. There are multiple variables in play. Foremost among them is that voters, even some engaged voters, pay little or no attention to judicial candidates. Secondly, judges are not in campaign mode as often as state and federal congressional officeholders. They are less known, less visible, and not always natural campaigners.

Judge Barbara JacksonA prime example is North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson (left), who is running for re-election after an eight-year term. Prior to that, Jackson was six years on the North Carolina Court of Appeals as an associate judge. Despite her experience and reputation as a justice of utmost integrity, with a record to prove it, Jackson is in an uphill battle. In addition to being targeted by Democrat groups outside of the state (one run by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder), which are funding her opponent Anita Earls, Jackson has a second opponent in Chris Anglin.

Anglin appears after Jackson and before Earls on the ballot as a Republican because he simply switched his longstanding Democrat affiliation before filing. That such a loophole exists is a story for after Election Day.

“He is seven years out of law school,” Jackson said during an October appearance before the Moore County Republican Men’s Club. “I posit that he is in here as a spoiler (to confuse voters and take votes away from Jackson).”

We know RESOLVE readers are up to speed and fully aware of Anglin’s dishonesty. Now it’s up to all engaged Republicans to inform friends and neighbors why a vote for Justice Jackson is vital, especially given the defeat of GOP state Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds in 2016.

Also worth noting when you are imploring fellow citizens to vote on Tuesday is that there are two other judicial races pitting Republicans against one another. To be sure your friends vote for the endorsed candidates in these races (Jefferson Griffin for NC Court of Appeals, Seat 2, and Steve Bibey for NC District 19D Court Judge), ask them to carefully review the Moore GOP’s gold sample ballot before heading to the polls.

Finally, in addition to sample ballot “homework”, it’s suggested every Republican planning to vote on Election Day spend time over the weekend visiting the web sites of our judicial candidates.

Here they are:

Justice Barbara Jackson; Andrew Heath for NC Court of Appeals; Jefferson Griffin; Chuck Kitchen for NC Court of Appeals; Michael Stone for NC Superior Court; Warren McSweeney for NC District Court (unopposed); and Steve Bibey.

Historically, a “blue moon” election is a ho-hum affair marked by low voter turn out. But early voting data indicates Republicans outvoted Democrats handily and in atypically high mid-term numbers. The key on the way to Tuesday’s finish line is to fend off complacency when voting for Republican judges down the ballot.

“The game plan (among Democrats) is to start using state constitutions,” Justice Jackson said, “as a means toward political ends.”

Voting is a right and — in 2018 — an obligation

“The Kavanaugh (Supreme Court) nomination … has come down to an undiscoverable accusation. The defeat of a Supreme Court nominee on this basis would be a victory for a level of conscious political nullification not seen in the U.S. for a long time. Republicans in the Senate shouldn’t allow it, and voters in November should not affirm it.” (Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, 09-20-18)

Republicans are approaching one of the most consequential midterm elections of our lifetimes this November 6. We need historically high numbers of motivated voters to maintain Republican majorities in the U.S. House and in the North Carolina General Assembly. That means vote absentee (now), vote early at one of two locations, or vote Nov. 6 at your polling place — and bring friends and neighbors, even if you need to bribe them with coffee and doughnuts!

The smear campaign to derail the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court demonstrates the ruthless intensity Democrats are bringing to the fight. They will do anything, make any claim, to win at any cost to diminish the Trump presidency.

But their counter-offensive itself is diminished by the indisputable facts that America is back!  Think about what has been accomplished:

  • We now enjoy lower taxes and fewer growth-killing regulations.
  • Consumer confidence and the value of retirement accounts are way up.
  • We have the lowest unemployment in decades – and the lowest on record for African Americans and Hispanics.
  • The GDP grew at the rate of 4.2% last quarter (average growth was 1.075% under Mr. Obama).
  • We are on the road to a modernized and stronger military.

Allowing the Democrats to win will reverse all of these achievements. We can’t let that happen! Be an informed voter, recruit fellow voters, and let’s keep America on the path to greatness. Again.

Thwarting dirty politics

North Carolina Democrat legislators seem to forget they are the minority when the General Assembly is in session, and even express incredulity when Republicans use super-majority votes in representing the will of their constituents.

Of course, it never happened when the roles were reversed! But it was particularly amusing to watch Democrats try to protest when lawmakers returned to Raleigh July 24 to take up two timely bills — a House bill on wording Constitutional amendments on the November ballot, and a Senate bill essentially to stop a wholly inappropriate ploy by state Supreme Court candidate Chris Anglin.

The House bill was in response to a battle over semantics in presenting six amendments to voters this November. It revolved around a typical presumption among Democrats that their constituents are not very smart and need dumbed-down wording to understand the purpose of the amendments. These are the same Democrats who expect to sell higher taxes as a way to spur economic growth.

However, Senate Bill 3 represents a home run by Republicans lawmakers. Passage of the bill thwarts Anglin from appearing on the ballot as a RINO (Republican in name only).

Carolina Journal offered some key insights into how the Stop Anglin story played out, one of which was the factual point that Republicans created the scenario whereby Anglin suddenly became a Republican.

Republican legislators canceled this year’s judicial primaries. They permitted no other process for the major parties to identify the candidate of their choice on the ballot. … Acting roughly 105 days before the election, the General Assembly clearly rewrote election rules in the middle of the process.

Yet no leading Democrat has stepped forward to disparage the chicanery on his side of the political aisle. References to Anglin have feigned ignorance about partisan political factors motivating either the candidate or his backers. It would have been easy for a (Democrat) legislator to distance himself from the Anglin team’s questionable conduct.

On the last possible day in June, Anglin flipped his voter registration to Republican and filed for the Supreme Court race. The Senate bill eliminates political affiliation next to Anglin’s name on the ballot by specifying that any candidate (for any office) may not realign with a different political party if filing 90 days or less.

It’s clear,” writes Mitch Kokai for the Journal, “to any fair-minded observer that — regardless of Anglin’s original intent — elements within the Democratic Party have latched onto Anglin’s candidacy as a tool to help blunt Barbara Jackson’s vote among Republican voters. Their ultimate goal is to help ensure (Democrat Anita) Earls’ victory.”

Far better for NC Republicans to absorb baseless criticism for “changing the rules” in the middle of the game than to have allowed Anglin to masquerade as a Jackson alternative.

Judicial endorsement quandry

By Dan Barry

In a few weeks we will gather with Republicans from across our great state in Hickory as we unite our party for the coming election during our annual convention.  

Like so many of you, I am thrilled to have the primary behind us so we can focus on the task at hand — electing Republicans. Union County, like other counties across the state, has been hard at work getting organized, raising money, and walking a few neighborhoods. We are busy building the Red Wall to prevent the Pelosi Progressives from gaining an inch.

This year I had the privilege of serving on the North Carolina Republican Party Plan of Organization Committee. The committee is asking delegates to approve a change in the Plan of Organization to allow Executive Committees to endorse candidates in judicial races where there is no primary. From a fundamental perspective, this is not something that any of us are pleased with. It is, however, necessary given the NCGA’s elimination of primaries in this year’s judicial elections.

The problem is simple math. If we have multiple Republican candidates enter these contests, the vote will be diluted and the opposition candidate runs at a significant advantage. Additionally, there is nothing to prevent a Democrat from switching party affiliation, filing as a Republican, and immediately switching parties after the filing closes. The Executive Committee will have an opportunity to vet these issues and make recommendations on candidates worthy of support. In no case is the Executive Committee required to make an endorsement.  

Union County has firsthand experience with this challenge. Several years ago, Union County had a number of individuals file in a non-partisan School Board election for an at-large seat. Only one Democrat filed. Diluting the Republican vote among several candidates gave the Democrat candidate a significant advantage and the Democrat was elected. 

We have all seen and are too familiar with what happens when Democratic activist judges are on the bench. We must come together and do all in our power to prevent this from happening.

The Plan of Organization Committee report is available online at the Convention Tab of the NCGOP.org website. I also welcome email inquiries to chairman@uniongop.com.  

Dan Barry is Chairman of the Union County Republican Party