For Incumbents, Good Day After All
Americans hate government at all levels and can hardly wait to throw the rascals out. Or so goes the conventional wisdom. One letter writer to The Pilot even came up with a neat acronym: “VOICE (Vote Out Incumbents Completely — Everyone.”
That angry sentiment against “politics-as-usual” may yet prevail in the November general election, especially at the national level. But don’t look for any early indications of such a nascent trend in the results from Tuesday’s primary election in Moore County. Generalized voter discontent notwithstanding, incumbents hereabouts mostly had little trouble carrying the day.
At the top of the ticket, the only two current holders of federal offices, Sen. Richard Burr and Rep. Howard Coble, scored runaway victories in the Republican primary here, each leaving a handful of opponents choking on heel dust. Their performances on the broader stage — Burr statewide and Coble throughout the 6th District — were also impressive.
Especially noteworthy was the trouncing that Dr. James Taylor suffered at the hands of the crusty Coble, even here in his own county of residence. All Taylor’s prideful boasting that he was going to be the district’s next congressman now rings pretty hollow. The personable and popular Coble, with only token opposition in the fall, seems a shoo-in for a 14th term.
‘The Way We Do Politics’
In the Democratic Senate race, N.C. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, the only holder of elective office among the six candidates, scored a comfortable victory statewide, though not comfortable enough to avoid a runoff with Cal Cunningham — who handily carried Moore and will probably give Marshall a run for her money
The most dramatic local showing by an incumbent was state Sen. Harris Blake’s blistering defeat of his onetime ally turned bitter adversary, former N.C. Rep. Richard Morgan. Here, though, an argument can be made that much of Blake’s victory was less an endorsement of his performance than a reaction against Morgan, who made many enemies during his years as a wielder of power in Raleigh, including two years as co-speaker.
Morgan is to be commended for taking his beating with grace, commenting philosophically that “this is the way we do politics in America.” But he’ll probably think twice about seeking office again.
Little Dissatisfaction in Evidence
By far the most glaring exception to the incumbency pattern in Moore County was the loss by County Com-missioner Cindy Morgan to a political newcomer, Craig Kennedy. We wish Kennedy well, but Morgan’s defeat is clearly an unfortunate case of collateral damage. She has done a conscientious job on the board, and her loss can surely be attributed largely to an undeserved spillover of negative sentiment against her husband.
So closely did the two Morgans become identified, indeed, that Richard recycled some of the signs left over from his wife’s unsuccessful 2008 campaign against Blake, scissoring off the name “Cindy” and thriftily putting the remaining half to new use.
The results for the Moore County Board of Education are harder to read, since they amounted to voting one of seven candidates off the island, leaving six to compete for three at-large seats in November. Incumbents Dale Frye and Sue Black led in this first round while the third incumbent, Pam Thompson, trailed Enola Lineberger, whose supporters worked hard to get out the vote.
All in all, Tuesday’s outcomes provided little evidence of seething voter dissatisfaction with the status quo. November, though, may well be a different story.
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