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A message from Maureen Zumwalt, MRW President

Suggestion to candidates as they battle in the upcoming elections

Moore County municipal elections are coming up In November, and we’re beginning to scrutinize all the candidates to find out who they are, what they stand for, and whether we want to vote for them. In fact, many of them will be speaking at our upcoming luncheons.

In North Carolina, municipal elections are non-partisan, meaning candidates are not listed as “Republican” or “Democrat” on the ballots. That’s why so many people depend on the sample ballots provided by Moore County GOP – we will let you know which candidates are Democrats or unaffiliated, so you can choose a Republican.

But the truth is, several races will feature multiple Republicans running for the same office. MRW cannot endorse any one candidate but must be “neutral” among the Republicans.

What to do?

What happens when a “spoiler” is in the race


Let’s take a little walk through history and look at an important election in which one candidate changed the course of our country.

In 1992, Ross Perot ran for office against President Bush and Gov. Bill Clinton, based on his (correct) assessment that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would be a disaster. Political and economic “experts” ridiculed Perot, but NAFTA eventually lost nearly 1 million jobs to Mexico, 370,000 of them in North Carolina.

Perot attracted many to his non-corporate view of the world, and he won 19% of the popular vote (but no electoral votes). Bill Clinton won 43% and George Bush won 37%. The common view is that Perot pulled voters from the Bush camp. Some analysts disagree with this.

The 1996 presidential election results suggest, however, that Perot mobilized his own voters to the election. Perot garnered almost 20 million votes in 1992 but that number dropped to 8 million in 1996. Where did those 12 million voters go? They did not go to other candidates. The Democrat candidate gained about 3 million voters - which is in line with a typical 1 or 2 percent variable in election cycles.  The Republican candidate gained less than 100,000 votes or effectively a 0% gain.

Perot and Our Municipal Elections

So what does the Ross Perot story have to do with municipal elections like the one coming up in November?

Thanks to Perot making it a 3-way race, we got Bill Clinton instead of a second George Bush administration.

In our non-partisan municipal election, there will be several 3 or 4-way races.

The clearest path to victory is to receive a majority of the votes (one more vote than the total number of votes cast divided by two). If there is not a majority, then the candidate with the highest number of votes wins. However, the second highest vote winner can request a run-off and the winner of the run-off wins the election. Only the top two vote winners can be in the runoff. If there is a tie in the run-off, the board of elections shall determine the winner by lot. (This would NOT be a good thing!)

Therefore, if you have a favorite candidate in a municipal race, you should work passionately to get him or her across the majority threshold.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead for a run-off race, and to know that your candidate may need voters who originally voted for other candidates to win. Ross Perot-style voters may be inclined to stay home – especially if their candidate has been unfairly trashed during the campaign. Everyone likes to see lively, civil political discourse. Name calling, insults and mud-slinging only serve to alienate the “other side.”

In many non-partisan municipal elections, that “other side” is still us…it’s our fellow Republicans.

We urge all the candidates to stay classy and argue their merits with dignity, humor and persuasive power. If there’s a run-off, you’ll need to attract those who voted for someone else originally.

Otherwise, the results could mean an extreme leftist winning the majority or the Board of Elections casting lots!


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