Panel to fill Kinnaird’s senate seat today

Sep. 08, 2013 @ 01:50 AM

A successor to replace former state senator Ellie Kinnaird is expected to be named today.
The N.C. Senatorial District 23 Democratic Party Executive Committee will meet at 6 p.m., in the Holmes Room of the Chatham Community Library in Pittsboro.
At press time, seven people had applied to fill the vacancy created Aug. 19, when Kinnaird announced her retirement amid a ninth term in office.
Party officials will continue to accept nominations to fill the senate seat representing Orange and Chatham counties until the meeting starts today.  
The person chosen will serve the remainder of Kinnaird’s term, which ends in late 2014.
Applicants for the job include State Rep. Valerie Foushee, who currently represents House District 50, serving Orange and Durham counties.
If the four-person panel selects Foushee to fill the post, a similar panel would be called to work to appoint someone to serve the remainder of Foushee’s term.
Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton is also a candidate for appointment. He is not seeking re-election in the upcoming municipal election.
Meanwhile, Kinnaird has expressed a preference for Alice Bordsen, a former state representative who spent 10 years in the General Assembly representing Alamance County in House District 63.
But while Bordsen might be Kinnaird’s favorite, a recent poll by Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling, found that voters in Chatham, and Orange counties prefer Chilton and Foushee.

The other four candidates seeking appointment to the vacant seat are:

  • Heidi Chapman, a Chapel Hill attorney.
  • Lynette Hartsell, a Cedar Grove attorney.
  • James Porto, a former Carrboro mayor.
  • Amy Tiemann, a Chapel Hill educator and author.

The panel making the appointment is composed of Donald Knowles and George Lucier, representing Chatham County and Samantha Cabe and Wanda Hunter from Orange County.
Cabe and Hunter will control 446 votes and Knowles and Lucier 212 votes.
Each county is allotted one vote for every 300 citizens counted in the most recent census.   
To be eligible for appointment, a candidate must be a resident of Senate District 23 and a registered Democrat.
Kinnaird resigned last month, citing frustration with the Republican-controlled General Assembly
Contending that she can be more effective working outside of the state Legislature, Kinnaird announced plans to launch a campaign to ensure citizens have the proper identification to vote, an effort to counter the state’s new voter ID law backed and approved by the legislature’s Republican majority.