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Lawyer’s group gives edge to Randolph

The North Carolina Bar Association has updated its election information website, and it once again gives attorney James Randolph a higher rating than former judge Ted Blanton.
The two are competing for the Rowan County District Court judicial seat held by Bill Kluttz, who is not seeking re-election.
Based on surveys from lawyers around the state, the site gives overall performance ratings of 4.36 to Randolph and 3.86 to Blanton. The rating is on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being excellent.
Blanton said the Bar Association ratings are old news, since they were also announced before the spring primary. A third candidate for the judgeship, Doug Smith, was eliminated in the May vote.
“Lawyers don’t get to determine who the judges are, the public does,” Blanton said.
He said Randolph is an able leader and would probably make a fine judge, but Blanton believes his own experience of serving two terms on the bench makes him the stronger candidate.
The surveys asked respondents to rate candidates on integrity and impartiality, legal ability, professionalism, communication, administrative skills and overall performance. Randolph received more favorable ratings in all six categories.
The race for Kluttz’s seat is the only Rowan judicial race that’s contested.
Cabarrus County has four contested races this fall, and ratings for those candidates are also on the site.
The Bar Association’s online report, found at ElectNCJudges.org, is provided as a public service.
Speaking of judges, the imminent retirement of Chief Judge John Martin, chief of the North Carolina Court of Appeals for over a decade, has opened a special election to replace him.
So far Haywood County attorney Hunter Murphy and former appeals court judge John Arrowood of Charlotte have announced they will run for the seat.
Martin, 70, notified Gov. Pat McCroy earlier this month that he will be stepping down effective Aug. 1.
The governor could appoint someone to serve the rest of Martin’s term this year, but it will be the winner in the November election who takes office in January.
Murphy has litigated cases in the Court of Appeals, federal courts, superior courts, district courts and tribal courts in the state. He earned his undergraduate degree UNC Chapel Hill and his J.D. from the University of the Pacific–McGeorge School of Law.
Arrowood was appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 2007 by then-Gov. Mike Easley to fill a vacancy. He ran to retain his seat in 2008 but lost to Robert Hunter of Greensboro. A special superior court judge before Easley appointed him, he has been in private practice in Charlotte since losing the 2008 election.
The National Rifle Association’s Freedom Action Foundation wants to “Trigger the Vote” this fall.
That’s what the foundation is calling its voter registration campaign, which is being led by Chuck Norris as honorary chairman.
The foundation aims to protect the Second Amendment through a vigorous non-partisan voter registration program, according to a press release. The initial “Trigger the Vote” campaign was introduced in 2009.
The program uses a variety of means of communications to connect gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. Trigger the Vote is also releasing a redesigned website, www. TriggerTheVote.org . The site has tools to help people register to vote, check to make sure their existing registration is current, as well as locate their polling place.
U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, whose 8th District includes part of Rowan, released a statement this week applauding President Obama’s signing of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act.
“It is absolutely tragic that six years after the economic recession was supposedly over, millions of Americans are still struggling to make ends meet or find a job in the first place,” his statement said.
“At the same time, I talk to businesses back home in North Carolina all the time who say they want to hire people, but can’t find workers with the skills needed for the jobs they’re filling.
Hudson said the law will consolidate and streamline workforce development programs, and is a big step in the right direction. “I will continue working to help unemployed North Carolinians access the skills needed to get back to work.”
— Elizabeth Cook

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