Today is the day

Hello everyone.

What a week this has been. With the crazy train running off the tracks in Raleigh, it's tempting to pack up and run for cover.

So thank goodness it's Friday, the perfect day to officially launch a new kind of campaign to shape a new kind of politics in North Carolina. I am running for governor.

My friends will tell you I am not a professional politician. I've never wanted to be one, and I don't really want to be governor. But I can’t stand by and watch our state dragged down by special interests, corporate welfare, and short-sighted thinking.

After a century of progress under moderate bi-partisan leadership, Republican extremists are turning North Carolina into a state of madness. They’re putting our schools and environment at risk, undermining what has made us a leader in attracting business for decades. And for what? So the ultra-rich can buy more luxury cars?

North Carolina voters trusted Republicans to lead our state forward. That was a mistake. We must do better, and that means working together. For starters, please give me whatever feedback, advice, criticism or complaints you're willing to share in public. No back rooms. No secret meetings. No special interests.

For better or for worse, this is going to be the most transparent campaign North Carolina has ever seen.


Go for it!

I just joined your campaign and can act as a volunteer in the SE coastal region of the state.

Do good, be nice, have fun.

Thank you, Emma.

And thanks for reminding me about Good Nice Fun! These days, "nice" is really hard to come by in the face of so much insanity happening in the legislature.

Just remember

the words of Oscar Wilde, "If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you."

Also Wes Nisker, "If you don't like the news...go out and make some of your own."

My pseudonym is Emma and I am a quoteaholic.

Not any time soon. : )

I am working right now to see if we can help get people to participate in the civil disobedience campaign in Raleigh. Would love to talk with you more about that.

Am currently thinking of targeting June 3, which would give us time to gear up and gain firm commitments from people who may not be able to make it to events on short notice.

I am so impressed with what Rev. Barber has been able to accomplish. We need to support him. Am thinking that if we could get 500 people arrested ... or maybe 1000 ... that it would help him take this all to the next level.

Another thought I've been exploring is the idea of demanding something very specific. In my view, the highest and best use of civil disobedience would be to force redistricting NOW ... in time to reshape the 2016 election.

What do you think about that?

Not sure you want the first big thing you ask your supporters

to do for you as a candidate for governor is to get themselves arrested. While it is a noble purpose, that could be the sort of thing that throws cold sludge on a shiny, new campaign. Perhaps a rally later in Raleigh could achieve similar pressure without your JP crew getting a police record.

And your note to self below is quite appropriate today. HIgh drama indeed.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?


This is helpful insight ... and reminds me that I intend to have a life independent of the campaign.

My wife and I are planning to engage in civil disobedience, possibly on June 3, to protest the illegitimate government running roughshod in Raleigh. I guess it could be a bad early move for a statewide campaign, but so far the people we've talked with are more than eager to participate.

On another note, I would love to run some of my ideas about education by you. It's a "teachers first" framework that mostly involves getting people in Raleigh out of the way of teachers. Are you open to having that discussion with me?

civil disobedience

I work a lot out in eastern NC, and I'm hearing some folks who are considering coming up from Rocky Mount to get arrested too. Not everyone is in a position to be able to do that. But for those who do, it's keeping it in the media, keeping people talking about it, and inspiring more folks to take that or other actions.

I'm hoping in June we'll be able to give the students the opportunity to view and participate in the protests. Redistricting is an important issue to keep in the conversation right now too. On the legislative front I think it'll be easier to pass a bill in the first half of the decade than in the latter half because right now politicians can't be sure who will be in power in 2020. Of course the fight has to continue on the judicial front too.

One problem with the redistricting piece when it is mentioned alone, people complain that the Democrats did it too so it's only "fair", but if it's a part of the broader conversation with photo ID, attacks on early voting/same day registration/Sunday voting and the other stuff being discussed in these protests then people really do see it as an effort by self interested politicians to choose their voters by making it harder for some people to vote, rather than letting voters choose their representatives.

Kids on the playground

I guess if someone is in kindergarten, the "he did it first" excuse is always a good one. In politics it leads to a perpetual downward spiral that is not just immoral, it is illegal.

Democrats were wrong when they did gerrymandering. Republicans are too. Standing on a morally bankrupt position is what I would expect from the GOP today, but that doesn't make it right or legal.

Note to self

In the future, don't announce anything that might potentially be important in the middle of high drama on Friday afternoon.


Filing for office

A guardian angel reminded me today of the significant paperwork drill required for anyone who wants to run for office. I went to the SBOE website, which still lists Gary Bartlet as the big cheese, and was unable to find the appropriate forms. As a result, I sent them this email:

Dear sir or madam.

I announced today my intention to run for governor of North Carolina as a Democrat in 2016. I went to your website to look for the appropriate forms, but could not find them. Perhaps the error is on my part, but the site does not appear ready for this kind of early announcement. If I am mistaken, please forgive me. But I do need your help in finding the correct documents. As I understand it, I have only ten days to comply with your regulatory requirements.

Would you please have someone contact me with the appropriate forms, as well as the most current guidance on the filing process?

In the meantime, I have two specific questions. First, the fact sheet says a filing fee of 1% of the salary of the office sought is required. Do you know what the salary of the governor's office will be in 2016? And second, if I were to win the election, it is likely that the salary for my office would be zero, as I would not be accepting any money from the state for my service. Does that mean my filing fee would also be zero? Please advise.

Thanks for your assistance. Don't hesitate to call if that would be more convenient.

James Protzman

PS Get used to this

Every aspect of this campaign will be documented in full public view. For better or for worse.

Will spread the word

here in the mountains!

Boat school alum is good enough qualification for me!


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Guardian Angels

are good to have around, particularly those with barely discernible Irish accents.

I hear that sometimes birds whisper in their ears.


And guardian angels ... both enormously appreciated. Thanks.

Thanks to birds and angels

for helping me get to the proper forms. Now I need a "Forms Genius" to help me figure out what's really necessary, what's bureaucratic baloney, etc., etc.

I hope you'll all take a minute to look at this mess and get a good view of the barriers our government puts in front of people seeking public office. With Citizens United, a guy like Art Pope can buy all the elections he wants without so much as a shred of paperwork. But a private citizen who wants to put his hat in the ring has to deal with more micromanagement than anyone should ever have to endure.

Check it out.


What you are seeing as micromanagement is *how* transparency occurs.

Good point

Now that I'm "in the soup" I am getting a very different picture of the machinery of government, with many new perspectives to consider.


This idea isn't novel, and I would guess the DNC would get involved on a larger level in a gubernatorial campaign. But I've always thought that a candidate, state wide or district wide, should have at least one point-person in every county. This person would be responsible for working with the county party to assist them in making sure every precinct is organized and mobilized. He would work in tandem with the various precinct chairs to visit each precinct, address their questions/concerns, and pick their brains on how to best relate to and energize voters in that county.
If a county officer or precinct officer has a concern or idea, this is who they contact.

This persons reports back to a regional director. The regional director is the conduit to the state/district campaign. He also visits counties and precincts to assist the county person(s).

I want to make it clear that I'm not specifically creating a chain-of-command structure. It's not like the regional person is the boss of the of the county person, etc. It's just a way of make sure information, ideas, problems, etc, can be efficiently shared, analyzed, and corrected, if necessary.

Of course, GOTV efforts will be specialized based on the usual data. Resource allocation is very important. But there are so many counties that are maybe 60% R, 20% D, and 20% U, yet the Dems don't even bring in their 20% share of the people who actually vote.

And it's hard to blame the voters. They know their candidate is going to lose, nobody from the campaign is encouraging them because the campaign knows the candidate is going to lose that county, so screw it.

Look, I realize that if the Dem gets all of their voters out and a majority of the Independents, they're still not winning Davie County. But we should be at the very least playing to get our share. Just putting forth a real effort, empowering and engaging people, would go a long way toward this goal.

Does a county party, or a precinct, need a website or other online presence? We send in a guy to do that and show them how to maintain it. Do they need GOTV training? We send someone in to help with that. Do they need voter data? Phone banking lists? We get them that information.

Anyway, maybe this is naive. I'm quite sure it is easier said than done. But it is not an unmanageable goal.

I love these ideas, Crowbar

It seems like a natural starting point for any campaign that wants to consider itself even remotely "grass roots." And the truth is, getting back to grassroots has to be a big part of our 2014 and 2016 plans.

One intention behind my campaign is to show people what the process looks like and what some of the journey looks like. To me, the leading indicator of success in the future will be the number of people who announce early that they will run for office. A true groundswell of candidates could be the harbinger of a true groundswell of voter activism and turn out.

Your county champion and regional directors model makes a lot of sense to me.