Yesterday, more than 500 PA members--our friends, family, and neighbors--voted to endorse progressive voices for North Carolina Supreme Court, North Carolina Court of Appeals, Durham County District and Superior courts, and Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisors. PA members also voted to oppose all six Constitutional amendments.
The People's Alliance PAC endorsements are chosen by a democratic vote of our membership. Members had the opportunity to review candidates’ responses to the People’s Alliance PAC questionnaire, and hear a report on each race from an interview committee made up of People’s Alliance members. We choose the best candidates for the job--candidates whose values and work reflect the People’s Alliance vision and mission statement (English, En Español). PA PAC thanks all candidates running for office. Up and down the ballot we made tough choices between strong candidates seeking to represent Durham and the state.
But it takes more than an endorsement. PA PAC-endorsed candidates win when PA members volunteer at the polls and donate to help us reach out to Durham voters.
Each election, PA PAC develops candidate questionnaires to better understand the candidates' positions on the important issues facing Durham and the state. The questionnaires and resumes received to date for candidates seeking judicial and Soil and Water Conservation District offices are listed below.
Last week, over 33,000 Durham County voters cast their votes and selected Clarence Birkhead for Sheriff and Satana Deberry for District Attorney. We also chose to send experienced leaders to Congress and the school board. David Price will head to the general election in November, and Mike Lee, Natalie Beyer, Bettina Umstead and Matt Sears will return to the school board.
People’s Alliance PAC would like to thank all the candidates who stood for office in this election. Our democracy functions best when we have the opportunity to vigorously debate the issues that matter most.
We came together to support progressive voices for a better Durham. In all, over 80 pollworkers and volunteers worked on this election. They helped staff 23 precincts on election day and early voting where more than half of all votes were cast. They talked with thousands of voters and told them why they supported PA PAC-endorsed candidates. Other PA members delivered food, helped set up the March endorsement meeting and participated in interview committees. We also sent our endorsement mailer to over 40,000 voters and passed out over 15,000 sample ballots.
Election day turnout made the critical difference. In the race for district attorney, election day voters helped Satana Deberry make up an early voting shortfall and go on to win by eight percent and prevail in over three out of every four precincts. Countywide, Clarence Birkhead won in nine out of every ten precincts, winning his race two to one. Mike Lee won the race for district one school board by 15 percent, Matt Sears won the race for district three school board three to one, and Natalie Beyer won district four with over 56 percent of the vote besting two other candidates by 15 percent. Bettina Umstead faced no opponents in her race for district two school board.
Complete election results are available here
PA PAC continues to work for you. You elected PAC coordinators to make sure the interests of PA members were represented in this election. You elected us to keep you informed and engaged. You asked us to be stewards of our collective resources and to support the campaigns that reflected our values. In the coming weeks, we’ll take stock of what worked and how we can improve. We hope that you will take a moment to share your thoughts.
Mike Lee is thoughtful and patient. He builds consensus: As the leader of a progressive school board, Mike understands that the team will not always agree and he is comfortable with debate. Whether he is working with his school board colleagues, teachers and staff, or kids and parents, Mike really listens. As the father of three DPS students, he is empathic with the issues and needs facing parents and students. He can synthesize information to lead inclusive decision-making forward. In the end, Mike’s eye is always on student welfare and student progress.
Coming from a business background, Mike has a strong understanding of finance, operations, and human resources. He is well versed in technology. His finance skills are important to helping manage the budget and when advocating to the County Commissioners for funding.
Mike has a strong race equity lens: Mike supports and advocates for ongoing professional development for teachers and staff. He recognizes that everyone has unique strengths and will continue to advocate for students for the next four years.
Mike Lee is a steady and effective advocate for Durham Public Schools. As school board chair, he successfully convinced the state that Durham solutions are best for Durham education challenges. He knows our schools, he knows our children, and he knows our community. I am voting to send Mike Lee back to the school board.