Editorial board endorses 4 for N.C. House, Senate

The Observer editorial board


Eight N.C. House and Senate seats for Mecklenburg County are on the March 15 primary. Here are our picks in four of them.

N.C. House 100

Voters in the Democratic primary for this east Charlotte district face a choice between Charlotte City Council member John Autry and former council member Billy Maddalon.

With no Republican in the race, the primary likely will decide who will replace Democrat Tricia Cotham, who isn’t seeking reelection.

In his five years on City Council, Autry has worked hard for east Charlotte. But Maddalon would be a stronger representative.

He articulates progressive policies more eloquently, and wisely promises a measured, bridge-building approach to working in the GOP-controlled legislature. As a married, gay small businessman and foster parent, he would bring a stereotype-busting new voice to Raleigh.

N.C. House 92

Incumbent Charles Jeter of Huntersville squares off in the Republican primary against the same man he beat in the 2012 primary, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tom Davis of Mountain Island Lake.

Davis hopes voter anger over the controversial Interstate 77 toll lanes will propel him to victory this time. Jeter has helped lead the anti-toll effort in recent months, but residents have blasted him for failing to fight the project early on.

Still, Jeter remains the best choice for this district, which stretches from Huntersville to Lake Wylie. He is a smart, energetic lawmaker who provides a much-needed moderate voice within the Republican leadership, having opposed controversial abortion and gay marriage bills.

A chastened Jeter remains the better option for District 92.

N.C. Senate 38

Democratic incumbent Joel Ford is running for a third term in this district that stretches from the University area through north Charlotte into western Mecklenburg. He faces Roderick Davis in the Democratic primary. Richard Rivette is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Ford has been a moderate Democrat who’s willing to break with his party on some issues. Ford is part of Main Street Democrats, a group of centrist N.C. lawmakers who’ve shown some ability to work across the aisle in the Republican-led General Assembly.

We don’t always agree with Ford, including his vote for a bill that allowed magistrates to opt out of granting same-sex marriage licenses. (He later altered his position and voted to sustain Gov. Pat McCrory’s attempted veto of the bill.) But we appreciate his independence on issues.

Davis has not mounted a credible campaign. We recommend voters give Ford another two years.

N.C. Senate 40

Voters are getting a rematch of sorts in this heavily Democratic east Charlotte district. Incumbent Joyce Waddell, who defeated four others in the Democratic primary two years ago, is facing one of those opponents, former Charlotte City Council member Nasif Majeed.

Waddell, a former CMS school board member, continues to be an advocate for public schools and teachers in the Senate. She said she’s learning to get things done through committees and fought hard to save teaching assistants and the state’s driver’s education program. Still, even in the Republican-dominated Senate, she has had less impact than voters might have hoped.

Majeed, a Charlotte businessman, thinks he can do better by speaking the language of business-centric Republicans. He’s been active in east Charlotte since the primary loss, leading an east Charlotte coalition that is getting county money for a $40 million recreation center.

Majeed’s group also has worked with police to deal with crime issues, and he says he will be a strong advocate for teachers and education in the Senate. With his strong work in east Charlotte, he’s earned a chance to see what he can do in Raleigh.