The Sanford Herald endorsed Mike Stone and his re-election bid to the state House of Representatives, despite Mike’s strong attempts over the last two years to prevent any media from ever endorsing him again.
The Rant has been asked several times since the endorsement for its thoughts. We’re actually very on board with this endorsement, because it allows us to use Adam Sandler gifs for the first time. So here’s Saturday’s endorsement, and our thoughts translated via gifs from Adam Sandler movies.
EDITORIAL: N.C. House, District 51
By The Sanford Herald
We could be misreading the tea leaves here, but it’s difficult to recall a time when political factions in North Carolina have been so divided or so polarized. A quick study of almost any of the PAC-driven direct mail pieces filling your mailbox tells the story — a story which, if believed, illustrates North Carolina’s General Assembly as a bunch of imbeciles who, depending on whose side you’re on, are either saviors or puppy killers.
The unsettling side effect, of course, is that the people elected officials are supposed to serve are more and more disengaging themselves from political dialogue, further stalemating a process that has become a mishmash of exclamation-ridden accusations and weary embellishments. All of that can make voting decisions difficult.
Which brings us to the District 51 race in the N.C. House of Representatives …
Of all the three contested local district races in this year’s state legislative elections, The Herald’s Editorial Board struggled the most with a decision in this contest between incumbent Mike Stone of Sanford, who’s seeking his third term, and his opponent, Democrat Brad Salmon of Lillington.
On numerous occasions over the course of Stone’s four turbulent years in the General Assembly, we’ve taken umbrage with him. Most troubling to us, in a list of irritations, was how often Stone has circumvented his constituency in sponsoring and supporting legislation.
So as this year’s short session wound down, and as Salmon — who narrowly lost the 12th District state Senate race against Ronald Rabin — began his campaign, the prevailing thought was: the race is Salmon’s to lose.
In this love-‘em or hate-‘em environment, though, pigeonholing candidates is too easy and, on occasion, risky.
So a funny thing happened on the way to Nov. 4. As the candidates met in various forums and laid out their respective cases for the voters, two things became clear to us.
First, independent of Mike Stone, Brad Salmon has failed to make a convincing argument for his candidacy. Missing is the energy we saw from him in 2012, and also missing is a clear picture of his views on the issues and his specific solutions to what ails our legislature and our state. Whether you’re in office or you want to be, having a message, and articulating it, is a must. If Salmon’s platform and his campaign aren’t compelling, then our question is: how would he equip himself in a GOP-heavy environment as a freshman legislator?
And second, it’s become clear that despite misgivings about Stone’s past actions (both in and out of legislative sessions in Raleigh), over the course of four years he has grown into the job to which he’s twice been elected. He does a very good job of analyzing the shifts and trends in Raleigh and the vision of his party to address the economy, the state’s budget woes, the issue of hydraulic fracturing and righting the struggling ship that is North Carolina.
And better, he clearly explains his rationale on each issue. There’s no doubt that in his evolution into a representative, Stone has become a decisive thinker.
Many voters will see this race as simply boiling down to fracking or school spending or stepping in, uninvited, to make school board and city council races partisan. We understand that. But with all the noise and distraction and emotion in the election-eve air, that’s unfair and shortsighted. The fact is, with a Republican governor and a Republican majority in Raleigh, Stone’s four years there position him better to do things to make a positive difference in the legislature for Lee County and the rest of the North Carolina.
Given the state of our state, Mike Stone is the better choice.