A new side for Rowan
A video surfaced on the web last weekend of Jim Sides, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, going down what sounded like his enemies list as he spoke at the Republican Men’s Breakfast.
Well aware he was being recorded, Sides called local business leaders names like “snake” and “Daddy Warbucks.” He picked on activists, maligning one person’s career, accusing another of having skeletons in her closet and so on.
Sides probably thought he was sticking it to his critics. Instead, the ridicule and mean-spiritedness — on top of the misguided purchase of the mall — served as powerful reminders of how important it was that Sides not win re-election. Residents could not afford for a character like him to be the face and voice of Rowan County for another term.
So the majority of voters in the Republican primary for county commission gave substantial victories to three candidates who ran strong, positive campaigns. Jim Greene lead the way with his practical approach to economic development and his gentle humor. Greg Edds used the organizing skills he learned as county GOP chair to consistently outline his priorities and run an effective campaign. Judy Klusman, a relative newcomer to the area, showed earnestness of purpose and campaigned hard.
The three won by safe margins; according to election night reports, there can be no second primary. Rowan’s Tea Party candidates finished far out of the lead. Cabarrus voters sent a similar message to a trio of ultra-conservative commissioners.
It’s also significant that Harry Welch, register of deeds for the past four years, lost in the primary. Welch had no experience in the office before being elected to lead it. John Brindle, who had worked in the register’s office, lost to Welch in the general election, switched parties (he says to support Sheriff Kevin Auten) and now has defeated Welch in a primary. There’s still an election to go against Democrat Sandra Sims-Campbell.
Sheriff Auten deserved the easy victory he won Tuesday. The people of Rowan County respect him — in great part because he shows respect for them. Being a public official involves more than doing a job; it also involves serving the public and dealing with everyone with respect whether they agree with you or not. Future candidates take note.