PACs make picks for May elections

jwise@newsobserver.comApril 7, 2014 

— Incumbent Sheriff Mike Andrews and district attorney candidate Roger Echols picked up two endorsements each last week as Durham’s three major political-action committees named favorites in the May 6 primary and non-partisan local elections.

Andrews, chosen by the Durham County commissioners when former sheriff Worth Hill retired in 2011 with three years left on his term, was the choice of the business-oriented Friends of Durham and the self-described “progressive” Durham People’s Alliance.

The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People backed former Hillsborough Police Chief Clarence Birkhead for sheriff, but joined the PA in endorsing Echols, currently an assistant DA. The Friends of Durham endorsed attorney Brian Aus over Echols.

Former assistant DA Mitchell Garrell is also a candidate for district attorney, and retired sheriff’s Maj. Ricky Buchanan is also running for sheriff.

The Durham Association of Educators joined the other groups in making endorsements for the Durham Public Schools Board.

In District 1, the association backed incumbent Omega Scott Parker, but challenger Mike Lee, a manager with Credit Suisse and a newcomer to Durham politics, won endorsement by all three PACs.

Another newcomer, community organizer Sendolo Diaminah, was the choice of the educators’ association and the PA in District 2. The Friends of Durham supported UNC administrator Terrence Ray Scarborough, and the Committee supported Donald Hughes, who works in online advertising.

In District 3, former Hillside High math teacher Matt Sears, a third political newcomer, won the educators’ support and the PA’s. The Committee endorsed Deborah Bryson, director of a private Montessori school, while the Friends of Durham picked Lisa Gordon Stella, director of a truancy-prevention program.

District 4 incumbent Natalie Beyer is running unopposed for re-election.

The Friends of Durham did not make endorsements in the three contested races for district court judge, and the People’s Alliance and Committee both supported incumbents Pat Evans and Doretta Walker for re-election. The PA also favored incumbent Nancy Gordon, while the Committee endorsed an opponent, attorney Fred Battaglia. Magistrate Aminah M. Thompson is also running for the Gordon seat.

District court judges James Hill, Marcia Morey and Brian Wilks are unopposed for re-election.

None of Durham County’s delegation to the state General Assembly have opposition in their Democratic primary, but there are two Republican contests.

Herman Joubert of Milton and Milton Holmes of Fayetteville are running to oppose incumbent Democrate Mike Woodard in state Senate District 22 in the Nov. general election; in state House District 50, W. Lewis Hannah of Efland and Rod Chaney of Hillsborough are running to face incumbent Democrat Graig R. Meyer. None of the Durham PACs made endorsements in the Republican elections.

Incumbent Nancy Gordon won the PA endorsement.

Wise: 919-641-5895

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