The Capital City of Raleigh is home to an election that is taking on state-wide, and perhaps, even national significance for this fall. As political observers watch for fireworks at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, the Raleigh News and Observer published its first article on the fall election for four members of the seven member Board of County Commissioners (BOCC.)
First the “players” involved: the chief characters are two current members of the BOCC running for re-election, Paul Coble and Tony Gurley; the other main characters are the county party chairs, Jack Nichols for the Democrats and Claude Pope,Jr. for the Republicans. Jack Nichols gets double-billing, as he is challenging Commissioner Coble for a Commission seat and concurrently serving as Chair of the Wake Democratic Party.
Coble has broad name recognition as a result of having served as both District 7 County Commissioner and as Raleigh mayor. He is also a nephew of the former US Senator, Jesse Helms. Tony Gurley is the current Chair of the BOCC, and he is completing his second term as District 3 Commissioner. He is a Real Estate Attorney and a pharmacist, who runs a drug store in Durham.
The big news in today’s N & O story is that Nichols announced that he will soon resign from the post as Democratic Party Chair. While no effective date was given for a resignation, Nichols told the N & O’s reporter that he would step down “next month. “ Information on exactly how and when this will take place is pending. An attempt was made to get a response from Nichols and the Wake Party’s Executive Director, Tammy Brunner, this morning.
Nichols, an attorney with Allen & Pinnix, made the news last week, as one of his current cases involves his representation of well-known former lobbyist, Don Beasley. Beasley is appealing a large fine for violations of North Carolina ‘s lobbying laws.
Nichols is a former County Commissioner, but has lost in Democratic primary elections since losing reelection to his seat on the BOCC in 1994. He has lost 3 primary races for the NC House and the NC Senate in recent years. Before becoming a private attorney, he lobbied for former Democratic Governor Jim Hunt as a state employee.
Jack Nichols said to the N & O: “Because of the school board, there are more people interested in the race this year than any time I have seen in the past. I think that people are very energized about the race, and they understand that the county commissioners have a banking role in the school board. They are involved; they are very committed.”
However, the “Republican-backed majority on the nine-member board, winning victory after victory on 5-4 votes over the mostly Democratic minority, insists that it’s simply restoring fairness and equity to a system that has shortchanged low-income students.”
Although NC school board elections are supposed to be “non-partisan,” in the 2009 Wake Board of Education Election, both parties supported a slate of candidates. Democrats formed a political action committee to run a television ad against the school board candidates who backed “neighborhood schools.”
Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2009/12/21/250241/parties-battle-for-wake.html#storylink=misearch#ixzz0u8h21eic