Charlotte Observer defends Kim Strach

In today’s lead editorial, the Charlotte Observer defends former state Board of Elections executive director Kim Strach, who was fired on Monday by the Democrat-majority board:

So why did Strach get shown the door? It’s because she is not a Democrat and the Board of Elections is majority Democrat. It’s legal. It’s happened before. And it’s wrong.

The firing happened at a meeting Monday that told NC voters all the wrong things about the people in charge of their elections. It told them that party matters, not fairness. It told them that politics rule, not effectiveness. Strach, who has led the Board since 2013, was replaced by Democrat Karen Brinson Bell in a 3-2 vote that split along party lines. Why? Board chair Robert Cordle explained unconvincingly that Brinson Bell’s background fit the board’s need to focus on training local election officials for the 2020 election, something that surely brought a smirk to the many veteran local election directors across the state.

A more persuasive argument might have been that Strach’s dismissal is a part of the ordinary transfer of power, that the spoils of winning (in this case, Gov. Roy Cooper’s victory) includes having some say over who runs things. Republicans exercise that power, too, including when Strach got her job in 2013 after Gov. Pat McCrory took office.

To the victor belong the spoils—a concept Democrats only understand when they are the victors. But it’s not as simple as that—as the Observer points out:

…Democrats on Monday launched an ugly attempt at character assassination, with N.C. Democratic Party chair Wayne Goodwin accusing Strach, who is an unaffiliated voter, of protecting Republicans “for nearly two decades.” The reality is that Strach and the board under her have vigorously pursued both Democrats and Republicans, most recently when she resisted Republican calls to leave Mark Harris alone in the 9th District. Even Cordle, the Democratic board chair, said Monday that Strach had done an excellent job for the state.

Among Strach’s other offenses, according to Goodwin? She is married to Phil Strach, an attorney who regularly represents the Republican-led legislature in court cases, some of which involved election law issues. It was an absurd and sad public moment for Goodwin, a long-time state servant, and it speaks to precisely why Strach’s firing was wrong.

You would think Wayne Goodwin–of all people–would go easy on the character assassination, given the glass house he’s living in following revelations that he and Greg Lindberg—the central figure in the federal indictment of Republican Party head Robin Hayes—were pretty tight. I get it—Goodwin is still Democratic Party chair, and he has a job to do. But that only proves there’s another concept Democrats never seem to grasp, as evidenced by the whole Trump-Russia “collusion” fiasco: those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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