Dependable Erection

Monday, October 29, 2007

More thoughts on the mayor's contest

Election Day is just over a week away. This year's race between incumbent Bill Bell and City Councilman Thomas Stith verifies at least one point i've been making in private conversation for a while now: Durham isn't a small town anymore.

Read the latest campaign finance reports, filed this week, to see what i mean. It's clear that the developers and real estate lobby, not to mention folks from Art Pope's empire, many of whom hail from Raleigh and Charlotte, have a favorite candidate. And they're dropping contibutions between $1,000 and $4,000 Thomas Stith's way.

Bill Bell is listing a handful of contributions, totalling a little over $2,000, from employees of the Marcum and Kliegman accounting firm, which is based in new York, and about $3,000 from a couple of other New York residents affiliated with the Sprung Monument Company. No idea what their connection with Bill Bell might be, but it's unlikely they'll be angling for any favors from the Durham mayor's office.

There's no doubt that the mayor's race is the most partisan seen in Durham since Bell first defeated Nick Tennyson 6 years ago, and probably for quite some time before that. Stith plays down his Republican and Art Pope ties on the campaign trail, but it's important to recognize that his campaign is in many ways a petri dish for testing out 2008 themes in other Democratic strongholds in North Carolina. If he does win, expect to see a lot more mud in next year's campaigns. Not to mention another attempt at a statewide run.

UPDATE: Two things i should have noted in the post. First, i'm a contributor to the Bill Bell campaign. After this weekend, i'm in for a total of $140. I don't show up in any of the campaign filings as of yet, though.

Second, Kevin's running a contest. Whoever comes closest to picking the results of the mayor's ection race next Tuesday gets a $25 certificate to a "local restaurant." Don't know if that means you pick the restaurant or he's already got the gift card, but why not give it a shot?

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  • According to this filing, the Hock family is in for another $8 K to Stith. Gary and Michael Hock gave $4k each before and now they have given another $4 K each ( I thought there was an$4 K limit?). The Hock family has now contributed $28 K to Stith. I wonder what they expect in return?

    By Anonymous Steve Bocckino, at 6:16 PM  

  • Maybe they'll give him a nice tote bag. That's what I usually get when I scrape together enough money to send a few bucks to the Nature Conservancy or a public radio station. ;-)

    By Anonymous mrs d, at 8:03 AM  

  • The most curious tidbit (at least to me) that i found in going throught he finance reports was discovering that Councilman Howard Clement is a Bill Bell contributor.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:28 AM  

  • According to our head of Durham elections, Mike Ashe, the State BOE has ruled that even though there was no mayoral primary, we're going to pretend that there was, hence a new election cycle (for reporting purposes, anyway).

    So, the 2 new contributions of $4K each from the Hocks to Stith are legal. $28 K from the Hocks to Stith (so far, they still have a week).

    By Anonymous Steve Bocckino, at 9:49 AM  

  • Not sure why Clements' contribution to Bell is curious. Clements and Stith have never really seen eye-to-eye, except on development. At the Pubs county convention, Stith said that he was the only "card carrying Republican" on the Council, probably a swipe at Clements changing his registration to unaffiliated last year to vote in Dem primaries or his more progressive views. Remember that Clements supported same-sex partner benefits for City workers, which Stith opposed.

    Clements, a cradle Pub, joined the Dems in the 70s, and actually served as County party chair, but switched back after some political back stabbing. Clements has spoken about his disaffection with his party's neo-con direction and said publicly that he didn't vote for GW Bush. So, no surprise that he isn't buying Stith's Karl Rove-style campaigning.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:14 PM  

  • Thanks for the background information on Howard Clement. Much of that comes from before my time in Durham.

    I'm embarassed to admit i did not hear about his party registration change last year.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:24 PM  

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