Willing to be our voice

Published 7:33 am Thursday, February 21, 2008

By Staff
Washington resident Greg Dority, a Republican who’s seeking to become North Carolina’s next lieutenant governor, understands at least one thing will have to happen if he is to win that office.
Dority knows his party must cross party and racial lines for him and other Republicans to win statewide offices in this year’s elections. In an interview in December, Dority acknowledged that must happen for him and other Republicans to be successful at the ballot box.
First, Dority must win the Republican nomination. That won’t be easy. As nice as it would be to have a lieutenant governor — no matter what party he or she represents — from the Original Washington, Dority faces a battle to win the Republican nomination. Dority’s most formidable challenger in the contest for the GOP nomination likely will be Robert Pittenger, a Charlotte Republican.
On Tuesday, Dority and Pittenger each filed to run for the lieutenant governor’s seat. Pittenger describes himself as a conservative and a reformer. Dority is no stranger to tough campaigns. In the past, Dority has run for the state’s 1st Congressional District seat. He lost to Frank Ballance in 2002 and he lost to G.K. Butterfield in 2004.
Although the state’s lieutenant governor has to be concerned with the entire state, it’s not unreasonable to expect a lieutenant governor to be somewhat biased when it comes to helping his area of the state. At least Dority would have a better understanding of what eastern North Carolina needs from the state and can do for the state than someone from Charlotte.
We’re not endorsing Dority, but we’re not ruling out the fact that he could be eastern North Carolina’s best hope of getting someone in the lieutenant governor’s office who knows what it will take to make sure eastern North Carolina gets its due from the state. Politics being politics, eastern North Carolina needs all the voices it can get in state government.
Dority seems to be concerned with helping the state’s middle-class voters and taxpayers. He’s on record as wanting lower taxes on the working folks and on the small businesses. He’s said economic issues facing the state’s residents, especially its middle-class residents, must be addressed in ways that benefit the most people.
With the economy facing a downturn, if not already experiencing one, Dority may have identified the economy as one of the key issues, if not the key issue, in this year’s campaign.
We cannot ignore the fact that Dority knows what it’s like to live east of Interstate 95.
Dan Besse, Hampton Dellinger, Walter Dalton and Pat Smathers are the Democrats seeking to become the next lieutenant governor. Not one of them lives in eastern North Carolina, not that that’s a requirement to be an effective lieutenant governor. But it sure would be nice to have someone from east of Interstate 95 in such a high position of authority. After all, if something happens to the governor, it’s the lieutenant governor who’s next in line in the order of succession.
And don’t forget, the lieutenant governor, as president of the state Senate, gets to vote in case there’s a tie in the Senate. That vote could be the determining factor as to whether or not eastern North Carolina benefits or is harmed by provisions in a bill.
Yes, people will expect Dority, if elected, to support his party’s stands on issues. Yes, people in eastern North Carolina will expect Dority, if elected, to look out for eastern North Carolina. Partisan politics aside, we believe Dority would do his best to make sure eastern North Carolina receives its fair share of the state’s pie.
Perhaps an even better voice for eastern North Carolina will file to run for lieutenant governor before the filing period ends Feb. 29. Time will tell.
Until then, a tip of the hat to Dority for at least being willing to serve as lieutenant governor and as a voice for eastern North Carolina.