Politics & Government

Tea party Republicans favor Davidson Democrat

A road to victory?

In the race for Republican Thom Tillis’ state House seat, Democrat Natasha Marcus is getting some help from an unlikely source.

Tea party Republicans.

Some Lake Norman-area conservatives opposed to Interstate 77 toll lanes are backing Marcus over Republican John Bradford III in the district where Republicans and independent voters outnumber Democrats.

Marcus, from Davidson, opposes toll roads. Bradford is a Cornelius town commissioner who voted for the tolls, though he unsuccessfully tried to delay the project for more study.

Chuck Suter, a tea party activist and toll road critic, was among several conservatives who posted on a Facebook page called “Exit 28 Ridiculousness.”

“I’m a TEA Party guy but today I ask that everyone vote for Democrat, Natasha Marcus,” he wrote. “John Bradford … is a cheerleader for the 50 year P3 Toll Road plan set up by Thom Tillis.”

Bradford supporters say not all tea party activists or toll road opponents are supporting Marcus.

And the Bradford campaign supplied this comment from Huntersville Commissioner Rob Kidwell: “As a Tea Party supporter and opponent to the tolls, I still support, and stand by John Bradford. He is fair, listens to all sides and will help the conservative cause in more ways than just one.”

State transportation officials have said adding toll lanes to I-77 between Charlotte and Mooresville is the only way to finance the project anytime soon. The Spanish company Cintra is expected to close on a 50-year contract for the $655 million project later this month or next.

The tea party activists aren’t the project’s only opponents. A citizens group called Widen I-77 retained legal counsel last month to help it fight the project.

Bradford and Marcus are running the most expensive legislative race in Mecklenburg County, and one of the costliest in the state: He’s raised $380,000; she’s raised almost $200,000.

“People are very angry about our region getting stuck with the (toll road),” Marcus said.

Bradford said there’s really no choice. With roads ranked by priority, it could be 25 years before the state would widen the interstate.

“I don’t think any elected official supports tolls, but I support improving our interstate,” he said. “I don’t think waiting is the right choice.” Jim Morrill

Now everybody’s for Sean Haugh!

Libertarian Sean Haugh hasn’t spent much money on his U.S. Senate race. Maybe he doesn’t have to.

The conservative American Future Fund has run online ads to support Haugh, presumably taking votes from Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.

“More weed, less war,” went the tagline of some ads. Then there are banner ads such as: “If you want war, vote for Kay Hagan. If you want peace, vote for Sean Haugh.”

Then there’s the flier that would appear to be from the other side.

“Thom TILLIS has been very busy raising our taxes,” it says alongside a picture of Haugh.

“Sean Haugh: Lower Taxes, Less Government,” it says, describing Haugh as “a principled conservative who believes in limited government.”

There’s no indication on the mailer who paid for it.

Says Haugh: “Apparently all three campaigns are now busy telling everyone that I am the best candidate in this race.” Jim Morrill

A vote for the Cosmo Party

Cosmopolitan magazine is sending a “party bus” with models to N.C. State University this week to take students to and from the polls on Election Day.

The bus is part of a contest won by the university, and the latest in Cosmo’s foray into political coverage. This year, the magazine endorsed candidates in 10 races – all Democrats – based on their views on abortion, contraception and equal pay.

“On Election Day, a bus decked out with snacks, swag and models (hi, this is Cosmo) will roll up to North Carolina State University, the winner of Cosmopolitan.com’s first-ever party bus contest,” the magazine said. “The bus will shuttle students back and forth to a nearby polling location so students can vote.”

The university was entered into the contest by sophomore Camden Willeford, Cosmo said. The Washington Post

No limo for him

Politicians these days usually taxi around in big SUVs, usually black, usually rented. Not Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The South Carolina Republican, who campaigned for Senate candidate Thom Tillis this week in Concord, drove up in his 2003 Crown Vic, with 260,000 miles.

License tag: “U.S. Senate 1.” Jim Morrill