Two Challenge Boylan for House
Embattled incumbent Joe Boylan faces two challengers in the May 6 Republican primary for the right to remain in the state House of Representatives.
Jamie Boles and Lane Toomey filed to run against Boylan for the District 52 seat.
Boylan owns a hair salon in Aberdeen. He is beloved by supporters for toppling Richard Morgan in the 2006 primary. Morgan had angered Republicans at the local and state level by cutting a power-sharing deal with Democrat Jim Black that made him co-speaker of the House.
Boylan, 50, will have to overcome some significant bad publicity. He was charged April 10 with driving while impaired after a one-car wreck in Cameron that left him briefly hospitalized. He drove his vehicle off the road, through a rock-lined ditch and into a tree along a dead-end road.
Boylan called the charge a wake-up call and said he is seeking treatment for alcohol dependency.
The DWI charge came on the heels of a survey naming him the least effective current member of the House.
Boylan said that the survey relies too heavily on the opinion of lobbyists and fails to take into account the Democratic majority.
Controversy dogged Boylan during the House session as well. He was accused of making an improper drunken advance on a female representative, which he says was untrue.
"People know who I am," he said. "They know the love I have for my wife. It's just politics. It's mean-spirited, but it's a fact of life."
His opponents are well-known in the county. Boles is a funeral home owner with branches all over the Sandhills. Toomey is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who helped plan the first Gulf War.
Boylan then won a general election against two unaffiliated candidates, Gerald Galloway and Bud Shaver.
Boylan's supporters claim that both Boles and Toomey have ties to Morgan. Boles had been a Boylan supporter before filing.
"I'm going to treat them like it's their idea," Boylan said. "They're on their own. I don't see them as being controlled by anybody."
Boylan thinks his opponents are running because they think he may be vulnerable.
"I'm a first-termer," he said. "This is the best time to take a shot."
Proud of Constituent Services
Boylan said he intends to run his campaign on his conservative voting record and his service to constituents. He said he was surprised by the volume of requests his office received over the last two years.
"I thought it would be more about legislation," he said, "and less about constituent services. But that's the most rewarding part of the job."
Boylan recently shook things up by proposing legislation that would suspend the gas tax in North Carolina because of soaring prices at the pump.
He won the Pinewild vote in 2006 by promising to propose legislation that would end involuntary annexation. He made good on that pledge, introducing several bills related to annexation, but all died in the Rules Committee.
Still, Boylan points to an annexation study commissioned by the General Assembly that he said may result in some legislative changes as a success.
He said that he is also proud of a bill he proposed to raise pensions for fire and rescue workers, which failed when he proposed it but passed when a Democrat introduced it. He said he also fought hard to have Moore County included in a study of services for the elderly.
Boylan said that if re-elected, he would fight to toughen some of the laws on illegal immigration.
"We need to make North Carolina less attractive to illegals and people who prey on them," he said.
As for his two opponents, Boylan said that he expects both to run clean campaigns, unlike the ugly feud of 2006.
"I think it will be more like the (2006) general election," he said. "Mudslinging? I don't see them doing that."
Boles said he will bring a businessman's sense to the General Assembly. He has been in business in Southern Pines since 1984, when he bought McKeithan Funeral Home.
"I feel I can represent Moore County in Raleigh with a strong voice and an open mind," he said.
Boles said he remembers taking field trips to Raleigh as a kid and thinking that he would like to be a representative some day. He pledged to run a campaign about himself and his qualifications, not his opponents.
"I'm not a mudslinger," he said. "There is a greater judge in this world than I."
Boles, 47, said that he is confident enough in his staff that he feels his business will run smoothly even if he is elected and needs to spend most of his time in Raleigh.
If elected, Boles said that he would like to see the state work on some emergency water plans to ease inter-basin water transfer restrictions.
He said that the annexation law might need to be changed, but it shouldn't be completely abolished.
"I do feel that since it was implemented in 1959 that the state has changed," he said. "The law may need to be reviewed, critiqued and updated. But you know, if there is no annexation law, there's no growth."
But Boles said he is primarily concerned with business issues. He said would like to see the corporate tax for small businesses lowered. The state budget needs to be run like a business, he said.
"You cannot write blank checks," he said.
Boles said he does not favor incentives for big companies but is for helping small companies.
"I think the economy of North Carolina will always remain solely on the shoulders of small businesses and small corporations," he said.
Through his work, Boles said he helps people deal with tough times. He said he gets to know them and hears about their problems. As a member of the Aberdeen Rescue Squad, he also has experience dealing with a different type of extreme circumstance.
"My whole life has been dealing with crisis," he said. "I feel this is an asset I have as far as helping families now overcome adversity."
'Far Reaching' Vision
Toomey, 55, said that his military experience showed him that North Carolina needs significant education reform.
"I saw a lot of guys and gals come into the military," he said, "and they were not where they needed to be."
He spent 26 years in the military, mostly as an Army engineer with the 82nd Airborne. He said he is a staunch Republican, remembering the sparse funding of the Carter administration.
He helped plan both the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations. From there, he moved "kicking and screaming," to the Pentagon, where he had to deal with a whole new enemy: budget cycles.
"I'd rather get shot than do that again," Toomey said.
He retired in 2000. He said he decided to run for the House because he said he is not satisfied with the performance of the current representative.
"I think I could do a better job than the incumbent," he said.
Toomey said that his neighbor, George Little, a well-known local Republican and expert fundraiser, asked him to run. He said that he learned when dealing with people at the highest levels how to negotiate.
"People on that level, they're all highly intelligent and highly driven," he said. "When it comes to budgets, they dig their heels in. You have to work with those folks. Desert Storm went through 41 different iterations."
One of the problems with the current Iraq war, Toomey said as an aside, is that the plan didn't seem to go through that vetting process.
Toomey said that he supports lowering the income tax rate and opposes incentives for businesses. He said he wants to eliminate the food tax, which he calls "immoral." He is for securing the borders and giving police access to immigration databases so that they can find out the status of people they arrest.
He said he is against the lottery for religious and social reasons, he said.
"It preys on folks who can't afford to waste money," he said.
Toomey thinks that name recognition is his biggest problem. To combat that, he's taking a page out of Boylan's book and going door to door talking to voters. Boylan did that to great success in 2006. He is doing that again this year.
"My background on the higher levels of the military side makes me much better qualified than either of my opponents," he said. "My vision is farther reaching than theirs."
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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