Holshouser Heads Boylan Campaign
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Former Gov. Jim Holshouser has been named campaign chairman for Joe Boylan's bid for the District 52 seat in the state House of Representatives.
Boylan said Wednesday that Holshouser would be "an integral part of my campaign, not window dressing" and definitely would not be working behind the scenes.
"Gov. Holshouser's greatest value to me is his tremendous insight into politics and he can give me such good advice," Boylan said. "In fact, he has already given me good advice on campaign strategy. He is a real valuable asset."
Holshouser said his endorsement reflects his growing concern about the state's fiscal condition as well as his interest in restoring Republican Party unity.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Holshouser said the legislature faces the potential for a shortfall when it reconvenes in January.
He said he fears that lawmakers have "dug a hole for themselves," and when the legislature reconvenes in January, the state will face a potential shortfall reminiscent of the one experienced five years ago. At that time the state was forced into emergency belt-tightening measures that had a significant effect on local government budgets.
"They squandered the little bit of cushion built up this year and have just dug the hole right back," Holshouser said.
Holshouser said he thinks Boylan is the man who can make a difference in fiscal matters and can also unite Republicans in the state House.
"People tend to think every election is special," Holshouser said in reflection. "This one takes on special importance, especially because of things happening in Raleigh. It's important to send people to the legislature who can make a difference, and I think Joe can make that difference. It's unusual for a freshman to do that but in this case I think it can be done."
In a statement released this week, Holshouser said he is worried that the current budget's recurring expenses are being funded with nonrecurring revenues.
"We've got to have a new effort in fiscal restraint by the legislature, and a united Republican delegation can help to drive this home," Holshouser said in the statement released Tuesday. "I'm convinced that Joe Boylan can be a really positive force in uniting the Republican delegation behind a position of fiscal responsibility at this critical time."
Boylan's announcement came as a surprise to some political observers, because Holshouser was regarded as a moderate when he served as governor in the mid-1970s. He was the first Republican elected governor in North Carolina since 1896.
Holshouser is known as a fiscal conservative aligned with the traditional arm of the Republican Party, while Boylan based much of his primary campaign efforts on a social agenda.
But this week Boylan was emphasizing fiscal issues.
Boylan recalled that as governor, Holshouser's first executive order created an Efficiency Study Commission, whose report he later used to bring about savings of about 8 percent of the General Fund budget. He said that is equivalent to $1.3 billion in today's economy.
He said that the efficiency movement allowed Holshouser to improve education, set economic development records and double North Carolina park land without a tax increase.
"I'm excited that the governor has endorsed my candidacy," Boylan said. "I know that his knowledge and experience will be a great asset to us."
Holshouser's reference to party unity reflects divisions that surfaced during the spring primary campaign in which the state Republican Party poured funds into Boylan's campaign in an open effort to defeat incumbent state Rep. Richard T. Morgan. The movement succeeded with Boylan winning by a 52-48 percent margin.
Morgan, who was seeking his 11th term in the House, has long been an influential presence in the legislature and in the Republican Party. He formerly served as House majority leader and as co-speaker and presently serves as speaker pro tempore.
His defeat in the May primary left some local Republicans unhappy with the role played by the state GOP leadership. Traditionally, political party leaders do not take sides in primary battles, but do support the primary winner.
One result of this controversy is the unaffiliated candidacy of fellow Republican, Manila G. "Bud" Shaver, who, in his announcement, said he was offended by the attempts by "outside forces" to control elections in Moore County. Shaver, a retired Army major general, remains registered as a Republican, but his name will appear on the November ballot as unaffiliated.
Another unaffiliated candidate later emerged -- Gerald Galloway, retired Southern Pines police chief. Galloway is a former Democrat but registered as an unaffiliated voter a few years ago and remains unaffiliated.
Holshouser said that divisions within the party and differences among people are part of the process and expressed confidence that the picture will change in Raleigh and in Moore County.
"People have always had their differences in the county," he said. "That's the nature of the process. I think people tend to pull together when they go to the polls. People come and go and face change."
Boylan said Wednesday that he plans a stepped-up campaign in the final six weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 general election.
Those plans include a fundraiser in Raleigh on Oct. 5 and an Oct. 18 fundraiser at National Country Club, featuring 6th District Congressman Howard Coble, 5th District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and Holshouser.
These are in addition to numerous public forums and more informal "meet the candidates" type events.
Holshouser predicted that Boylan "will hit the ground running in the legislature and that he will have a real opportunity to help mold the state's priorities next year.
"Both the state's direction and the completion of the development of a two-party system in North Carolina make it important for us to put aside our differences here in the county and unite behind Joe Boylan."
A native of Watauga County, Holshouser moved to Southern Pines shortly after ending his term in the Governor's Mansion. He opened a law practice in Pinehurst and later formed a law firm with the late Terry Sanford, a Democrat who had served as governor, U.S. senator and president of Duke University. The firm is still known as Sanford Holshouser LLC, with offices in Pinehurst and Raleigh.
Holshouser served a number of years as Moore County attorney and remains actively involved in the law practice.
In recent years, his political services have focused more on issues than on partisan politics. He was active several years ago in the North Carolina movement promoting Elizabeth Dole for the GOP presidential nomination. She was elected to the U.S. Senate four years ago.
Prior to his election as governor, Holshouser served several terms in the state legislature.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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