NC-11 Open Thread


It’s a few weeks before the big primary, so I thought we could start having conversations about specific Democratic primary races in the area. Today: the NC-11 campaign.

Cecil Bothwell has been running for this seat since March of last year. Cecil’s a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who asserts that his brand of boldness is exactly what Democratic voters, tired of Blue Dog Democrat shenanigans, really want. He doesn’t accept PAC donations, and this choice leaves him in a great money deficit to Hayden Rogers. He’s received endorsements from national progressive personalities and groups, and he reports that tea party libertarians like him too.

Hayden Rogers is Heath Shuler’s Chief of Staff and has been on board the Shuler team since day one. He’s running well to the right of Bothwell, tacitly making the argument that only a conservative candidate can hope to win NC-11, the reddest district in North Carolina since the NCGOP redrew the lines. Rogers raised $300k+ in six weeks of fundraising – no surprise with the depth of network he’s got.

Tom Hill is the other guy. He got the first of his fifteen minutes by shining a light on the troubles with the Henderson County Sheriff. I don’t know diddly about his politics, but he said this in an HT-N article, “I am somewhere between Cecil Bothwell, the left, and Hayden Rogers, on the right”.

So handicappers, what’s the CW on the race?


  1. Tom Sullivan says:

    A cautionary tale. Matt Stoller had a at naked Capitalism on Wednesday critiquing the professional left’s ability to turn out the vote. They may be able to raise money, create a buzz and get some press, but in the end, Stoller observes, in several recent primaries progressive candidates with lots of “institutional” left backing have lost races they might have won. And there wasn’t enough contrast between candidates, “So people, even Moveon members, picked the moderate sounding guy with a track record. Or they didn’t vote.”

    Contrast is not a problem for Cecil, but Stoller’s is a word of caution about not believing our own online hype. It still comes down to turnout.

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  2. Robert Danos says:

    Hill is irrelevant.

    Rogers will use his pile of Shuler-connection cash & PAC money to blow Bothwell’s doors off in a wave of name i.d. and appeals to the D primary voters that make up a majority of the district’s D primary voters outside of Buncombe.

    Of course, I’m on the other side, what do I know.

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  3. RHS says:

    “…his brand of boldness is exactly what Democratic voters, tired of Blue Dog Democrat shenanigans, really want.”

    It may be what they want but I seriously doubt it is what the majority of voters in NC-11 want. Even in the old NC-11 it is difficult to imagine Councilman Bothwell having much serious support outside Asheville — his book on Billy Graham would be enough alone to make his candidacy a nonstarter with a lot of people in the district. Even if he somehow manages a primary win he will be slaughtered in November against whatever head of cabbage the Republicans nominate. In the new NC-11 it will even be uphill for Rogers although, for better or worse, he might have a fighting chance.

    Having said all of that I do like the idea of progressives making to case to voters more accustomed to voting Republican almost on reflex despite Republican failures to represent their best interest economically.

    For too long liberals/progressives have ceded voters who benefit for their polices to Republicans. This is a long term strategy. I just question sometimes whether suiting up like Don Quixote and handing the Republicans a seat is necessarily the best way to go about it given the long term damage that can be done in a short term way of thinking. I also think a Bothwell vs. McHenry race would have been a lot more fun to watch than Bothwell vs. (insert the name of any of the 200 R’s running in the 11th primary here).

    I will also add that, unless the courts make major changes in the district map, I live in NC -10 and will be unable to vote for or against Bothwell in the May primary.

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  4. Davyne Dial says:

    ” Even in the old NC-11 it is difficult to imagine Councilman Bothwell having much serious support outside Asheville — his book on Billy Graham would be enough alone to make his candidacy a nonstarter with a lot of people in the district. “

    Even with the hard evidence of Graham’s warmongering and bigotry as revealed in the Nixon White House conversations, made available via FOIA. Yeah you can lead a human to reality, but you can’t make them accept reality.


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  5. Ascend of Asheville says:

    I saw Stoller’s piece and thought that his was an idea in search of examples to prove it with. Not his best work.

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  6. Robert Danos says:

    For the record, to whoever saw fit to “thumbs down” my prediction above, i am not happy about my guess that rogers will win.

    bothwell would present the voters with a much clearer choice against my candidate than will rogers, who will run as a shape-shifting ghost of highly “flexible” ideology, just as his boss always has.

    i predict that the R is going to win the seat easily either way, bothwell would at least provide an actual human and set of ideas to debate.

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  7. I honestly don’t see myself as so terribly liberal. Yeah, I opposed the wars since before they started … but most Americans oppose the wars now. Maybe my insistence on civil liberties, but that really runs left to right and back again. The Ron Paulists are as upset about the USA PATRIOT Act as I am. And my stance on the war on drugs is ringing bells all across the district (similar to Paul’s, and George Will, and Pat Robertson, for heaven’s sake).

    I have been the only outspoken opponent to Amendment One in either party (in my race), but now Vinroot and the state GOP are rethinking that one. The John Locke Foundation and the NC Libertarian party have joined me on that.

    I am an old-fashioned Dem. I believe that government often does well when it does for all of us what we can’t do alone. I support the programs that Dems have delivered: Soc.Sec., Medicare, 40 hour work week, end child labor, the CCC, the WPA, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the TVA. If I seem “left” it is largely because Limbaugh has relentlessly dragged the country right for these many years.

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  8. I agree with that Danos guy. Plus, he looks fabulous in heels.

    And as often as we might disagree, and as much as I poke him on the Twitter, Cecil Bothwell is a stand-up guy and will always have my respect and affection. He’s got guts to beat the band, stands by his principles, and has a great sense of humor. And he looks good in heels too.

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  9. Davyne Dial says:

    And a chainsaw is fitting for Cecil as a promo prop.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3

  10. Cecil could use some fashion advice, darling. You’re good for that sort of thing.

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  11. Davyne Dial says:

    I can see Cecil in some vintage Willis Geiger.

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  12. mat catastrophe says:

    I agree. Capitalism is anti-american.


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