The boundaries of Senate District 19 have been re-drawn. I will not go deep into the history of the court battle that lead to the changes, but the district was drawn in 2010 to exclude as many African Americans as possible, and the federal courts did not find that constitutionally permissible. Republican Wesley Meredith won the seat in 2010 and has had little trouble beating down the opposition every two years since.
All that may or may not change this year. The lines no longer favor a Republican and make up what FLIPNC calls the third most “flippable” Senate District in North Carolina.
Two Democrats believe they can flip the seat and have filed. They will face off May 8th in the Democratic primary for the right to take on Meredith.
Kirk deViere – New School
Kirk deViere is a former city councilman who has run for mayor a few times and failed. He is a marketing and advertising specialist and uses it to get out his message. Plus-sign graphics on his banners imply a stance on education. Yellow and black colors point to his military experience. Also featured is a hash-tag: (#ABetterFuture). DeViere’s campaign facebook page already has over 2,000 followers.
DeViere dresses better than 99.99% of Fayetteville, and his hair is always perfect. He blends in on 5th Avenue, but he stands out on Hay Street, and due to his work on the City Council, public appearances, and recent campaigning, he’s a well-known face in Fayetteville in 2018. You either like him or you don’t.
Ed Donaldson – Old School
Ed Donaldson is a former District Court Judge. He was elected back when the Democratic Party controlled the courthouse and county-wide elections (an argument can be made that it still does, but Senate 19 is not a county-wide seat).
I became an Assistant District Attorney a few years after Donaldson was voted out of office in a campaign centered around Donaldson’s low D.W.I. conviction rate. Here’s an old WRAL story about the race.
As I was cutting my teeth as a young prosecutor, I heard war stories from the older A.D.A.’s about losing cases Donaldson’s courtroom.
Unlike deViere, Donaldson has no hashtag, or even a website (that I can find), but he has signs up around town, and they are as old school as they get.
A dozen years have passed since Donaldson ran for anything, but he seems confident that he can win. His campaign is a referendum on the collective (or selective) memory of Cumberland County voters.
What to Expect
I think deViere is the favorite and could win the race by leveraging the D.W.I. story to his advantage. It’s what Donaldson is most known for, and it’s a stain on his public record.
The question is, does deViere need to go negative? It carries implied risk. Namely, it opens deViere up to a counter-attack on issues related to unpaid taxes and his business relationships with Mike Lallier. It also gives Donaldson name recognition that he may have lost over time.
I expect deViere to stay positive and campaign on education and the environment (GenX). I honestly have no clue what Donaldson will do. Put up more signs???
Expect a relatively smooth race unless one of them fires a shot. Then, all bets are off.
I would welcome a sporting primary. The winner is going to need the practice. Meredith is going to come at the victor with more money and an all out assault of negative ads (mailers, T.V., radio). Meredith doesn’t hold back, and the seat won’t flip without a fight.