LG: May the Best Progressive Win

Stop. Everyone, just stop, and take a deep breath. We all want a progressive lieutenant governor. And, believe it or not, there is no reason whatsoever we need to consolidate on a candidate right now. The reason we don't need to is the magic number: 40.

First things first, here: I'm making the assumption that most people here would rather Walter Dalton not win the nomination. I know there are a few running around, but my sense is the overwhelming majority of the active users here have him as their last choice.

Besse, Smathers, and Dellinger are all progressives of one stripe or another. (Smathers is the least classically progressive, but there's a lot of progressivism in his message.) There's been some talk in other threads about who has the best chance to defeat Dalton and why we need to get behind this candidate or that candidate.


The May 6 primary is between four candidates. If one of them reaches the magical 40% number, he becomes the nominee. Otherwise, the top two go to a runoff.

What does that mean? It means that the #1 priority between now and May for anyone who has a general interest in seeing a progressive take this job is to get LOTS of progressives out to vote in the primary, and make SURE they vote for Besse, Smathers, or Dellinger, and that they understand that Dalton is the guy we don't want. Basically, our first job is to get 60% of votes between the three progressive candidates.

Now, there's a chance one of those three could make 40% on their own, but it's highly unlikely. But as long as Dalton doesn't win 40%, we'll have a runoff on June 3 with at least one very good progressive in it. That's a pretty sweet situation, if you ask me.

I don't have a lick of interest in hearing about who's the best one to run against whom. I'm going to make my determination about who's the best candidate against Dalton based on one single solitary factor alone: who gets the most votes on May 6. You say your guy has the best statewide appeal? That he's the most dynamic speaker? That he has the most money? That he has the best connections with progressive organizations? Great. Turn them into votes on May 6.

Until then, I've got a novel idea. Tell me why your candidate would make a better Lieutenant Governor than the other guys.

I've got pretty good confidence that whoever takes the Democratic nomination is going to be our next Lieutenant Governor. That means we've got the rare opportunity to throw electability out the window and focus on getting a good, strong progressive in the office. Quit ruining it for me.


Fantastic post.

A voice of reason in the wilderness. Thanks, MTBinDurham

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Consider How IRV would impact this race and your choice?

I know all four candiates, and can say something positive and progressive about all of them, and make a rational for any one. Truthfully, I am undecided.

The purpose of this post may be off topic a bit, and I apoligize if that is fau pax, but it is an intersting excercise to consider what the impact of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would be on this race.

Supportors of IRV argue that it helps progressive candidates by saving money and the expense of costly runoffs.

If IRV was used in this race it would definatley favor the candidate with the most resources and name recognition. In practice IRV favors incumbents.

Whether you support Sen. Dalton or not, you can argue he is somewhat like an incumbent in this race. It is very likely Sen. Dalton would get enough second choice votes from the other three candidates voters to secure the nomination. None of the other three would be able to gain enough momentum to over come him.

If there is a runoff, turnout may be lower, but the committed show up, and a challenger can gain enough momentem to over come an establishment candidate.

Food for thought.

Dalton getting second place votes?

I beg to differ. I doubt many of Dan's, Pat's, or Hampton's voters would put Dalton as second on their ballot.

"jump in where you can and hang on"
Briscoe Darling to Sheriff Andy

yes, logically it would seem

yes, logically it would seem that would be the case, but it is not. You see, most people who vote pay only a fraction of the amount of attention to elections that you, I or anyone else on this site does, particularly for a down ballot race like Lt. Gov. Therefore name recognition plays an every greater impact. It would not take that many from each of the other three to get there.

Look at what has happend in San Fran. This is a case where the academic does not meet reality.

IRV and name recognition

If I understand WhalerCane correctly, he believes (1) name recognition gives incumbents (and those in the public eye generally) an advantage, and (2) instant runoff voting (IRV) somehow makes this problem worse.

I don't get the second point at all. Name recognition gives you an advantage. IRV may not solve that problem (although I would argue that can do so in primaries), but I can't see how it makes the problem worse.

What San Francisco election do you have in mind as an example of this?

In down ballot races, name

In down ballot races, name recognition is a more important factor. Few will show up on for the primary because of Lt. Gov. Most who vote will do so because of Gov or Pres or because they vote everytime.

The reason it matters in this case is the dynamic appears to be that you are for Dalton or not. Those who are not are spliting that vote. If it was IRV, even if the majority of the votes from the third and fourth place finishers went to the second place finisher, the first place finisher will get enough of them to make it very difficult for second place finisher to overcome first unless second place is much closer to first than third. See it's already confusing. Not to mention that challengers have to spend resources not only to rationalize thier candidacy but to eductate voters how to vote, and who to rank where.

In San Fran there were a number of issues with the process, including the ability of the voting equipment to handle it. Although I like Gavin Newsome okay, he certainly isn't considered 'progressive' by the progessives in San Fran. He isn't very popular at all, but because of IRV, 17 people filed against him and not one of them got enough momentum to seriously challenge him in any way.

In Cary this year where IRV was used, if three candidates had challenged Ernie McCallister instead of just one, Ernie would have likely won recieving only 40% of first time votes.

If this Lt. Gov race was using IRV, I would bet the House on Walter Dalton. As it is, if he is kept under 40%, I would give the second place finisher a decent shot at defeating him in a runoff.

I am a Dalton supporter

I have kept silent on this becasue I did not wish to fan any flames or make an appearance of doing such. I once gave a reason why I was a Dalton supporter and I will do it again in a civil manner if anyone wishes to do that. But the last time I did this Dr Frank in my opinion got too nasty to both myself and anyone who backed Sen Dalton. He still seems to be that way. The sad thing is while I have my candidate I respect other Democrats for backing thier own including Dr Frank and other Dellinger supporters. I hope the Lt Governors primary does not get too nasty Becasue Betsy I am not so sure the Dem nominee is a given winner in November and if this keeps up we may well have Lt Gov. Pittenger I do not care much for him but I do not underestimate him.

I know this came off as anti-Dalton

Dalton is not the guy I want in that post, but I'd happily take him over any Republican.

I think that with what's still looking like a second straight Democratic wave year, plus a Presidential, Gubernatorial, and Senatorial election above it on the ticket, whoever wins the general is going to be determined largely by coattails. Maybe I'm banking too much on assuming that we're going to keep the Governor's seat, but it's highly unusual for the LG race to turn out significantly different from the gov race. To my mind, that's the ideal time to slip in a progressive in a statewide race, when there's going to be so much media noise over the other races that the liberal hating has no room.

The good news is, as I said above, that the electoral lineup for this year makes it easy on me. I vote for one of the three non-Dalton candidates in May, vote for the one that's left in June, and vote for the Democrat still standing in November.

If only every election were this simple.

your opinion?

That would not be an opinion you ever expressed to me personall, but thanks for taking a shot at me in a diary I wasn't even posting in.

As I have repeatedly said, I respect Sen. Dalton and would support him if he were to get the nomination. But I will do everything I can to make sure Hampton gets it instead.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

Well you may not realize it

But you are being a jerk about this race, and you may not even be serving you guy all to well either. The last time I posted in this race I gave my opinion I said I was for Dalton becasue I thought he was the best fit for this office and why, I actually said I thought Hampton has a future in the party and will most likly hold office one day but I was not sure why of all offices he chose the Lt Gov race I thought then and still do it is not an office that is a good fit for him. You feel different that is fine, but in your response to me you crossed the line. I was so digusted I have refrained from commenting on the race, and had decided that if Hampton were to be nominee I was going to leave it blank. But after the diary over the past few days everytime someone has decided to support another candidate you crossed the line of good behavior with them also.

When I thought about this and read what Betsy said I realized I the problem was not the Dellinger campaign as much as it is you. I hope, in the future when you give your reasons for supporting Dellinger, you stop coming off that anyone who does not see it your way is an idiot, but I am not sure you will.

I don't mean to

prolong the agony of a conversation which hasalready outlasted my own interst in it, but I can't let this comment go without asking you to be specific.

Here is our exchange on the "WHOM do you support for Lt. Gov. and why?" thread from 12 weeks ago:

your comment
Dalton for me
Submitted by THE MODERATE on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:24pm.
I thought about this and jugded who would be the best to hold this office, and it was Dalton. I will say that whoever wins this seat Democrat or Republican, Basnight will still run the Senate. But I think that off all the candidates Dalton is the only one who will have any chance to be heard by Basnight and presumably Gov Purdue. I any of the other candidates are Lt Gov they will be nothing more than place holders who will have no say in the actions of the state. I also like the fact that Dalton is from the Western half of the state and will help the party make development there also, something I do not think the others can do. When I worked to Easley for Senate in 1990 I met and got to know Hampton Dellinger, but I am not sure why he is running for this post becasue I do not see it being the right fit for him. If he does win the seat he will spend eight years being ignored, the same was Basnight treated Dennis Wicker, and I just do not see that as a good path for either him or the party.

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my response

I think maybe you have an old idea of
Submitted by DrFrankLives on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:39pm.
what the LG does.

Anybody who goes into that office thinking they are going to affect Basnight is deluded. Even Walter Dalton.

Three things in response to your post

(1) We have a Majority Leader. We don't need two of them.
(2) Basnight won't be Presdent Pro Tem for the entire 8 years that this person is LG
(3) The job is what you make of it. Whose ideas do you want to see given a higher profile?

For me the answer is clear - Hampton's.

For the record, I also like Pat Smathers. I think he's a great guy and I like his ideas about helping state government work better for local government. Local governments need more authority in this state.

But I am backing Hampton for the total package.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

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Now, maybe I am wrong, but I see nothing in there that crossed the line or should have disgusted anyone. I would respectfully request that you back up accusations like that with links.


And to the extent I got too fired up last night after reading unfounded statements about Dellinger, I apologize - too little sleep and too much work can grate on a person until he takes it out on others. We're all on varying versions of the same side.

That said, there's nothing wrong with a candidate who has shown his care for and dedication to North Carolina taking donations from friends and acquaintances outside the state. It's not as if Hampton just moved here from New York and decided to run for office. He's paid his dues.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire


xenophobia - undue fear of the foreign or different.

I saw a lot of undue fear in those comments. I don;t think that was out of line at all. Your sensitivity to my proper use of the term may be an internal issue for you to deal with. I am sorry I escalated the issue, but I am not sorry that I pointed out that there was no rational ground for fear of those outside North Carolina who support Hampton Dellinger.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I received your message

In my inbox, if you would like me to speak of any concerns in private I will, but your inbox does not accept email if this is your choice than it is impossible for me to address these things in private but I will say when I met you, you seemed like a reasonable person. I had a difficult time trying to figure out how the person I met had become the person who was blogging these opinions.

should be working now

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

I don't think anyone expressed fear.

Concern, perhaps, not fear. I was the first one to bring up the fact that a large amount of Dellinger's money came from out of state. I'm not afraid of things outside of NC, for goodness sake. I explained in an earlier post why out of district money concerns me. That's one issue I haven't changed my mind about - yet. I haven't been given a good reason to change my mind.

I certainly don't like the tone of the conversation in this thread, or with the arrogance that I perceive surrounding Dellinger's campaign. It makes me alternately angry and sad.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Dalton earned a little more respect from me at the SEC mtg

After checking his background, I think he'd be a decent LG. He's just not my first choice. I'd certainly support him in the General if he wins the primary.

I'd love to hear your reasons for supporting him, but understand if you don't want to share it.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Thanks for posting this..

Being a new guy to NC politics, I would be interested in other viewpoints on the candidates. I do remember reading some comments a few weeks ago on some environmental issues and came away liking Mr Besse's outlook. But I know very little about the rest, so will be reading intently, and maybe asking my own questions.