John Arrowood endorsed for Court of Appeals by NCDP Executive Council

John Arrowood has received the endorsement of the North Carolina Democratic Party Executive Council to return to the NC Court of Appeals. He is running in a field of 19 candidates that includes almost an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans. The NCGOP endorsed former judge John Tyson. The candidate who receives the most votes wins the seat that came available when Chief Judge John Martin announced his retirement.

Arrowood's other endorsements include Equality NC, North Carolina AFL-CIO, North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), NC NOW - National Organization for Women PAC, and the Durham People's Alliance.

According to the NCDP Plan of Organization, the Executive Council consists of "the state chair, each of the three state vice chairs, the secretary, the treasurer, the chair or co-chairs of the Sustaining Fund, the chair for minority affairs, the advisor to the Teen Dems, the state presidents of all state auxiliary organizations with by-laws approved by the state executive committee, the congressional district chairs, non-voting Ex-Officio Members, the members of the Democratic National Committee from North Carolina, the national committeeman and the national committeewoman of the Young Democrats of North Carolina, and three at-large members appointed by the state chair. "

Arrowood is a partner at James, McElroy & Diehl, P.S. You can find out more about him by visiting his website or his Facebook page.



I wish they hadn't.

Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy with their choice: I've been endorsing John Arrowood to anybody who will listen.

But the makeup of this ballot is not radically different from a Primary contest, and choosing one Democrat over other Democrats is shaky business, especially for a Party (that should be) trying to rebuild bridges. And (like Martha said) just because the GOP does something, it doesn't mean we should necessarily follow suit.

Last week I seriously contemplated shooting out some e-mails to a few on the EC, to see if maybe they should take a vote to see if the majority of the Council actually wanted to endorse an individual candidate in the race, before proceeding with the endorsement itself. But I held back, because I've already meddled enough from the peanut gallery.

If that last sentence gave you the impression I'm not going to meddle anymore from here on, I apologize for inadvertently misleading you. :)

We had to

This is a simple election - whoever gets the most votes wins - there is no runoff and there is no threshold to cross. If Republicans are targeting a candidate and we are scattering our votes, they win. It is that simple. I don't like it, but there you have it.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Re: Endorsements, State Court of Appeals

I cannot access the NC Assn. of Women's Attorneys endorsement page. If anyone reading this blog knows whom they endorsed, I would like to know.

Thanks to Betsy for posting this information about Arrowood. He is obviously very qualified and has several important endorsements besides the NC Democratic Party.

I am guessing with very little info to go on that the Party's "powers that be" (whoever that is) decided to go with a male after the GOP picked their candidate. According to Rep. Duane Hall of Wake County, the vote came down to Arrowood and Lovelace, and Arrowood won the run-off vote.

From FaceBook post:
Duane Hall

We heard from six excellent candidates yesterday at the Goodwin House. The endorsement process came down to a runoff between Keischa Lovelace and John Arrowood. In a very close vote, the Executive Council endorsed Arrowood.

I also am guessing that folks claiming Arrowood was their pick because "he supports public education" don't know much about him except he was endorsed by the NCAE. I am aware of how the NCAE goes about their endorsement process (at least in Wake County), and the probability of a candidate winning gets weighed in disproportionately to what the candidate can or will do for education.

To sum up, endorsements can be and often are misleading. I almost always wait until the Independent Weekly endorses, because they send out questionnaires and post the completed forms, so I can read them for myself and weigh my evaluation against the Indy's published endorsements.

I still think the party decision to endorse reflects poor judgment, but I am open to hearing an argument supporting the decision other than "the GOP did it."

Martha Brock

I don't think the argument is "just because the GOP did it"

The fact is, that since the GOP did it, we were pretty much forced to endorse if we wanted a snowball's chance to win this seat. There is no runoff. Whoever gets the most votes wins and with a slate of excellent candidates, we need to offer voters some guidance or our vote gets split while Republicans target their votes and win the seat.

I don't like it. It doesn't feel right. Sadly, I think an endorsement was necessary.

I have linked to the NCDP Plan of organization where you can see who is included on the Executive Council. I know that Matt Hughes and Ian Palmquist both served as proxies. The presidents/chairs of African American Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, Senior Democrats, Democratic Women, and Advisor to Teen Dems, national committee chairwoman/man for college dems or young dems. Chair, 1st/2nd/3rd vice chairs, sec, treasurer, the 13 District chairs (although I don't think we have 13 active districts) and I know three people were appointed by the chair. I'm not sure exactly who else serves on Executive Council, but I believe it is a good cross section of our state and party.

As far as John Arrowood's selection, he is a known quantity, having been appointed to serve on the Court of Appeals by Mike Easley when he was Governor. He is well-liked and very respected.

I don't know that he is more qualified than Keischa Lovelace, but I'm not really sure that's what this decision means. I think the two are equally qualified and I gathered from those I've been in touch with that this was a very difficult decision.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I have heard that the push to endorse started on a phone call

after Arrowood sent a letter to party leaders. I give credit to those who resisted just endorsing without any further input or a chance for other candidates to be heard. But, I still think this was more "insider politics" and that I-- and folks like me who are just loyal Democrats--will never know just how Arrowood became the favorite candidate. He did write a letter asking for the Party's endorsement triggering a discussion to put it on the Dems' agenda.

I based my comment that it was "because the GOP did it," because I am told that was the reason given by the Dem leaders in September after the GOP endorsed, and because several people have said the same to me on FaceBook and in private emails.

Martha Brock

From Candidate's questionnaires

Keischa Lovelace

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: KEISCHA LOVELACE
Date of Birth: SEPTEMBER 17, 1975
Home Address: 768 SEASTONE ST, RALEIGH, N.C. 27603
Mailing Address (if different from home): POST OFFICE BOX 27491, RALEIGH, NC 27611
Campaign Web Site:
Home Phone: 919-810-5531
Work Phone: 919-807-2560

This is a long questionnaire but you can read it all, if you follow the link.

I could not find a questionnaire for John Arrowood at this time.

Martha Brock

2004 race multiple judges

Supreme Court (Orr seat)[edit]


Popular Vote


Paul Martin Newby 582,684 23%
James A. Wynn, Jr. 508,416 20%
Rachel Lea Hunter 452,298 18%
Howard E. Manning, Jr. 312,319 12%
Betsy McCrodden 281,777 11%
Ronnie Ansley 213,657 8%
Fred Morrison, Jr. 163,601 6%
Marvin Schiller 64,824 3%

2010 COA race multiple candidates

Cressie Thigpen 395,341 20.32%
Doug McCullough 295,758 15.2%
Chris Dillon 202,164 10.39%
Anne Middleton 174,673 8.98%
Daniel E. Garner 154,163 7.92%
Jewel Ann Farlow 152,150 7.82%
Harry E. Payne, Jr. 99,322 5.11%
Stan Hammer 96,604 4.97%
Mark E. Klass 90,604 4.66%
Pamela M. Vesper 90,180 4.64%
John F. Bloss 78,920 4.06%
John Sullivan 70,000 3.60%
J. Wesley Casteen 45,639 2.35%

© 2014 Microsoft

John Arrowood's Endorsement

The NCDP State Executive Council set up a committee to develop a procedure to culminate in the endorsement of one of the Democratic candidates for the Martin seat, which was chaired by David Bland of Wake County. This was as a result of a discussion and proposal originating with the State Executive Council. I was a member of the committee. The members of the committee were from Wake, Catawba and Haywood Counties. In addition, Senator Don Davis served as an invaluable resource to the committee as we developed procedures for the Sunday meeting. The NCDP staff assisted us with the logistics of printing, copying and mailing. We reviewed judicial surveys from various states, compiled a survey, which was vetted by the Executive Council. The survey was revised, sent again to the SEC, as was the timeline for this process. Next, the surveys were sent to the candidates, after we had spoken with them personally to explain what we were trying to accomplish, along with a letter explaining the process from Chairman Bland. The candidates completed the surveys and sent resumes as well. That information along with the SBOE voter guide for the judges' races were then sent to all SEC members. There were conference calls along the way with the SEC and extensive discussions among the committee members about making the process as fair and transparent as possible. The procedure for the Sunday meeting was revised based upon the input received from the SEC. On Sunday, no campaign literature or signage was allowed for any candidate and hard copies of the surveys, we had received previously from the candidates, were disseminated to SEC members and to a few proxies in attendance. The candidates made ten minute presentations to the group. All candidates were impressive and brought different skills and experiences to the table. On the second round of voting, John Arrowood gained the majority plus one vote he needed to be the endorsee. I hope this helps explain the process more clearly as this was a new initiative for the NCDP and the SEC.

Sybil Mann

Thank you, Sybil

Thank you for clarifying the process. I had heard there was a committee, but wasn't certain of exact details surrounding that part of the process.

My initial reaction wasn't positive after I heard about the plans to endorse, but I understand why it was necessary in this case.

Thank you for your work on this and thank you for creating an account just to make sure we have the right information here.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks to Sybil and the other Committee members

Sybil Mann
to me Via

Dear Martha,

I am sorry that I did not post this earlier. It had been a little while since I had checked out Bluenc.

How did I become involved? (I opened my mouth and said, "I'll help.") I am the First Vice Chair for the 11th District, but my Chairman, Luke Hyde, lets me listen in on the State Executive Committee phone calls with him, and I often jot down notes so I can update our 11th District Executive Committee,which meets monthly.

So, I was on the call when Senator Floyd McKissick brought the matter up for discussion. It was a lively discussion but at the end of it, the folks on the call agreed, "We need a committee." David Bland, who has a Doctorate in Education, is a member of the Wake County D.P. Executive Committee and appointed to the State Executive Council by Chairman Voller, volunteered and Chairman Voller asked him to head it up.

A young Wake County attorney named Andrew Barnhill, N.C. Representative to the national Young Democrats organization spoke up, and so I jumped in, not wanting the West to be left out of the process and volunteered myself and Luke Hyde. Cliff Moone from Catawba County, retired minister and candidate for the N.C. Senate, requested to be on the Committee as well.

No one else volunteered and so we became the Committee.

Martha Brock

Does the Plan of Organization require "open meetings?"

and if so, what does that mean in terms of notifying those not on the Executive Council or State Executive Committee?

I still see this selection process as not being in compliance with party rules. I am quite pleased to hear there was a vetting process beyond speaking before the executive Council. I am wondering if Party members are able to access the questionnaires of all the candidates. If not, I have a problem with the process -- still.

See my email exchange with party leaders and Casey Mann prior to the event on Sunday.

Casey Mann
Oct 10 (6 days ago)

to me (via email)


The Executive Council meeting has been on our website for about a month or more.

We sent notices to Executive Council members quite some time ago. All Democrats are always welcome.

Casey Mann

On Oct 10, 2014, at 6:53 PM, "Martha Brock" wrote:

I guess I have my answer--which is not an answer.

Martha Brock

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Martha Brock
Date: Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM
Subject: Where is the effort to publicize the Executive Council meeting on Sunday?
To: Nancy van Dijk , Harvey Richmond
Cc: Dan Blue , Randolph Voller

I posted on and hundreds of folks have read about it there. it is in the Plan of Organization that the party is to be "open." How can it be open for ordinary part members, if they are not informed?

I would not have known about the meeting had not Chris [Hardee] posted his comment to Democratic Women's page on FaceBook.

Martha Brock

My understanding of notification requirements

is that they apply only to those who are basically required for a quorum. I'm not saying it very well, but for example, we mail postcards to all members of our county executive committee. We do not put an ad in the paper for those meetings, however, we do send a press release to our small local paper. We also put meetings on our website and we include them in our newsletters (digital) and sometimes social media. All Democrats are welcome to attend, but we can't afford to mail all registered Democrats and even if we sent emails, some would still be excluded since we only have emails from a fraction of registered Democrats.

The meeting is an open meeting for the simple fact that you would not be turned away at the door. There is no requirement for them to place an ad, send out emails, or post on social media. There is no money to mail out notices.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Party Plan and Open Meetings

North Carolina Democratic Party Plan of Organization (amended 2/14)


Except as provided specifically within the Plan of Organization, all public meetings of the North Carolina Democratic Party at the precinct, county, district and state levels shall be open to all registered Democrats inclusive of race, sex, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, economic status, philosophical persuasion or physical disability. Meetings are defined as a meeting of all committees and bodies created herein in which a quorum is present.

The time and place of all meetings of the North Carolina Democratic Party at all levels shall be publicized fully and in such a manner as to assure timely notice to all interested persons.
Such meetings must be held in places accessible to all party members and large enough to accommodate all interested persons.

The meeting notice for the state executive committee and the state executive council must be posted on the state party’s website.

These are the Sections that address the open meetings and notice requirements for the SEC. Hope this is helpful.

Sybil Mann

Why I posted 2004 and 2010 election outcomes

There have been two multi-candidate general election judicial races in the recent history of North Carolina. These races are instructive as to what Democratic candidate has the best chance of winning. In the 2004 race, there were 8 candidates. The candidate with the most votes won with no runoff requirement in order to win by obtaining a majority. Paul Martin Newby won this race with 23 percent of the vote.(582,684 voters) He was endorsed by the Republican Party. The runner up was current federal judge James Wynn. He is an African-American and a Democrat. He received 20 percent of the vote ( 508,416 votes.) The Democratic Party did not endorse a candidate. Wynn received the endorsement of the African American PACS across the state. In the 2010 race, there were 13 candidates. There was an instant runoff in this race. However, the order of where candidates placed in the first vote provide guidance as to how the vote distribution could be in the 2014 race. The first place finisher was Cressie Thigpen who received 20.32 percent of the vote.( 395,341 votes) He was endorsed by the African American PACS and key interest groups the NCAE, the Advocates for Justice and the AFL-CIO etc. The second place finisher was Doug McCullough. He is a Republican. He received 15.2% of the vote on the first ballot. (295,758 votes) In both races, the first place winners received between 23 percent and 20.3 percent of the vote respectively. With a field of 19 candidates, this percentage is likely to decline. It would appear that the likely winner of this race will win with 23 percent or less of the total votes. The strongest Democratic candidate in both races were the African American candidates. It is likely because African Americans are the base of the party and their PACS distribute thousands of instructional ballots directly to voters. They will make up at least 20 percent of the vote on election day. Going into this race, an African American candidate who could obtain the African-American PAC endorsements would stand the best chance of winning if coupled with some key interest group endorsements.. In this 19 candidate race, there are 3 African American candidates all of whom would serve well on the Court of Appeals: Superior Court Judge Abe Jones, District Court Judge Lori Christian and Deputy Commissioner Keischa Lovelace.( Lovelace is a workers' compensation judge.) Given the strength of these 4 candidates, the chances of uniform support from the African American PACS appeared unlikely to materialize. The Advocates for Justice, the largest trial lawyer group in the state, assessed the situation and determined that out of these 3 candidates, the best choice to have a chance of putting the coalition of African American PACS together was Keischa Lovelace They endorsed a candidate prior to the NCAE and the AFL-CIO. This assessment has largely been proven to be true. With the exception of the African American PAC in Wake County where both Judge Christian and Judge Jones reside, Deputy Commissioner Lovelace has received all the major African American PACS across the state. She has won the unofficial primary in the African American community. With the split between the NCAE, AFL-CIO Equality PAC and NOW interest groups that endorsed Arrowood and the Advocates for Justice, there may not be enough progressives to combine with the African American community to win this race. Lovelace is in second place in this race and was poised to win with the Democratic Party endorsement. Without that endorsement she may fall short by a few percentage votes behind right winger John Tyson who has been endorsed by the Republican Party. Here is my prediction unless the dynamic changes over the next two weeks: Tyson will win with 21 percent of the vote, Lovelace will come in second with 17 percent of the vote and Arrowood will compete for third place with Patricia Shields receiving at best 10 percent of the vote.

I think you got it right, and thanks

Thanks for your explanation. Your math adds up pretty much the way I see the race ending up on Nov 4th. Unfortunately. I just read the letter of endorsement by the African American Caucus of the Democratic Party, which was voted on prior to the endorsement by the Party's Executive Council. It is pretty persuasive and is a really strong endorsement for Deputy Commissioner Keischa Lovelace.

I think we need to get past allowing this complicated race to divide progressives, but we should not forget how the most recent changes to the election law for judicial candidates made this mess possible.

I suggest adopting Merit Selection for judges makes more sense. I understand from the WRAL story by Mark Binker that the drop off in the number of voters from the top of the ticket to the Chief Justice race in 2010--both of which are state-wide elections-- was about 25%, Your average voter just doesn't feel qualified to vote in judicial elections for the most part. We need to consider new and truly non-partisan ways of electing these important public servants. If such is possible,

Martha Brock