May 2016 PA PAC Endorsement Meeting

Thursday, May 12, 2016, 6:30pm
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Downtown Durham, 403 E. Main St, 27701

Choose a more progressive challenger to a conservative NC Supreme Court Judge in the Primary June 7.

Discuss whether to reopen the endorsement of Rep. G.K. Butterfield for US Congress 1st District, due to new candidate filings for the General Election November 8.

This is a very important endorsement meeting and all PA PAC members are encouraged to attend.

Recent court decisions overturned North Carolina’s racially gerrymandered congressional districts and declared unconstitutional last year’s law creating “retention” elections for certain state supreme court justices.

The June 4 NC Supreme Court Primary is critical to choose a strong challenger to the conservative incumbent.

Robert Edmunds, Jr. - the incumbent for this seat.  (candidate questionaire available here)

Sabra Faires - the attorney whose successful challenge of the retention election law made this contested election possible.  (candidate questionaire available here)

Mike Morgan - a superior court judge. (candidate questionaire available here)

Daniel Robertson - a corporate attorney.  (no candidate questionaire available)

PA PAC's Law Committee will make a recommendation at the endorsement meeting for the NC Supreme Court. This election is a battle for control of the judicial branch of North Carolina government.  Currently, there are four generally conservative justices and three generally progressive justices.  Edmunds is a conservative justice and his seat is in play. That is no doubt why last year the republican-controlled legislature passed a law allowing him to request a “retention election” instead of a contested election.  Under the retention election law, the voters would only be able to vote “yes” to retain  Edmunds or “no” to throw him out.  If the voters had voted “no,” then Governor McCrory would appoint his replacement.  In January, PA PAC voted to oppose retention elections.  Fortunately, in March, a three-judge panel of state court judges declared this ploy to be contrary to the North Carolina Constitution. 

During our meeting we will also determine whether we will reopen the endorsement process for candidates running for the U. S. House of Representatives in the First Congressional District.  In January, PA PAC voted to endorse incumbent G. K. Butterfield in his bid for re-election.  Soon after our meeting, the North Carolina General Assembly redrew North Carolina’s district boundaries in response to a federal court order striking down the state’s racially gerrymandered congressional districts.  Filing in the first district was reopened and now new candidates have filed who were not among the candidates we considered when we originally made our endorsement decision.  While the PAC’s bylaws do not contemplate this unusual situation exactly, the PAC coordinators feel that the spirit of the rules requires the decision whether to reopen the endorsement process  to be made by the membership.

The candidates running for the first congressional district are:

G. K. Butterfield (D)

H. Powell Dew, Jr. (R)

J. J. Summerell (L)

When PA PAC considered this race in January, neither Mr. Summerell nor Mr. Dew had filed for this seat.

Each of these candidates has no challenger from his party, so there will be no primary, just the General Election on November 8.

The General Assembly also redrew the boundaries for the 4th, 6th, and 13th districts each of which included Durham County precincts.  As a result of the redistricting, Durham County is now divided between the first and the fourth congressional districts only.  Although the filing period for the fourth district was also reopened, the candidates who filed are the same candidates, PAC considered in January.  Consequently, the PAC’s endorsement of incumbent David Price for re-election stands for November 8.


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