Today marks the first of my posts assessing the merits of the numerous candidates that will appear on the November 4th General Election ballot for Carteret County, HERE, and on our BALLOT REPLICA (accessible via the About Us / Tea Party News-Views menu, or by clicking the link).  In the four or so weeks remaining before election day, I will post another assessment every few days until the entire ballot has been covered.  I intend to start at the end of the ballot and work toward the top.

Let it be said at the outset that my assessments of the candidates will be guided by the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots’ CORE PRINCIPLES of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.  These principles are almost universally shared by conservatives, and particularly by conservative Republicans.  Conversely, they are eschewed by the liberal left, and by adherents of the Democratic party in general.  Therefore, if there be no other guidepost, the Republican candidate will be favored.

This post will be concerned with the eight Non-Partisan offices listed on the ballot, all of which are for judgeships.  Of the eight in total, one is for the Chief Justice seat on the NC Supreme Court,, three are for Associate Justice seats on the NC Supreme Court, and four are for seats on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  My assessments appear below, in the same order as they will appear on the ballot within the non-partisan section:

NC Supreme Court, Chief Justice:

The race is between Mark Martin and Ola Lewis, both Republicans.  Mark Martin is a long-serving Republican judge with solid conservative credentials, currently serving as the Chief Justice, and as such he has been endorsed by the NC Republican Party’s Executive Committee.

Judge Ola Lewis is a former Democrat and NC Central University graduate who changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 2002.  Although Judge Lewis announced early on that she intended to run for one of the NC Supreme Court Associate Justice positions, sometime after a fund raising event hosted by NC Supreme Court Justices Paul Newby and Mark Martin, Judge Lewis decided to use the $50,000 donated to her campaign during the event to run against Justice Mark Martin for the NC Supreme Court Chief Justice.  This is bad form, to say the least.

The best candidate, clearly, is Mark Martin.  Judge Martin’s campaign website is HERE, and his WikiPedia page is HERE.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #1 of 3:

This contest is between the conservative Republican Bob Hunter (website is HERE) and the Democrat Sam J. Ervin IV.  Ervin, who goes by “Jimmy” except when he is running for office and needs to trade on the name of his grandfather, was first elected to a judgeship in 2008.

In my view, the better candidate of the two is Bob Hunter.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #2 of 3:

This race is between Eric Levinson and Robin Hudson.  Levinson is a Republican and former Court Of Appeals judge, and Hudson is the incumbent Democrat.  Levinson’s website is HERE, and includes the following additional information:

Judge Eric Levinson was appointed by the Bush Administration in 2007 as the Justice Attache to Iraq for the U.S. Department of Justice.  As Justice Attache, Levinson managed the U.S. government’s diplomatic relationship with the Iraqi judiciary and its Chief Justice, Medhat al Mahmoud, and advanced the establishment of Major Crimes Courts where terrorists were prosecuted.

Judge Eric Levinson worked in Kabul, Afghanistan as a Rule of Law and Courts Advisor in 2008.  In this role, he collaborated with members of the Supreme Court of Afghanistan and helped draft and advance guidelines to establish commercial courts to adjudicate business, contract and related civil conflicts.

I believe Eric Levinson to be the better choice.

NC Supreme Court, Associate Justice, Seat #3 of 3:

This contest is between Republican Mike Robinson and the incumbent Democrat, Cheri Beasley.  Robinson MikeRobinson(image at right) has appeared before the attending members at a meeting of the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots, delivering brief remarks prior to a Q-&-A session during which the members satisfied themselves as to his conservative leanings.  His campaign website is HERE.

For this seat, I think that Mike Robinson is the clear preference.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 1 of 4:

There are a whopping 19 candidates running for this seat.  Of the nineteen, three Republicans claim to be conservatives.  The three are Marion Warren, John M. Tyson, and Hunter Murphy.  For a comparison of these conservative candidates, I called upon a friend who is acquainted with all three.  His assessment follows:

Marion Warren is the most forcefully articulate of the three.  His passion for conservative principles of jurisprudence wins him points.

John Tyson is the only candidate who has previous experience on the Court of Appeals.  He’s more low key, but has the strongest and most sophisticated understanding of the role and function of an appellate court.  He’s also the only candidate from Eastern North Carolina and narrowly edged out Warren for the NC GOP’s endorsement.

Finally, Hunter is the youngest of the three and has probably worked harder than anyone.  However, his lack of experience is apparent.

I think that the choice is really between Warren and Tyson.  Those who favor a more judicious and thoughtful temperament will prefer Tyson.  Those who favor a more forceful and strongly opinionated judge will be for Warren.

Then he goes on to summarize by adding:

“… the Court of Appeals functions as a three judge panel.  On the Court of Appeals, the ability to persuade other judges to his point of view is of paramount importance.  I think Judge Tyson is best equipped for the task from this point of view.  While Warren is more likely to inspire applause from a conservative crowd, Tyson’s even-tempered demeanor and mastery of appellate issues make him the most well-suited candidate for the Court of Appeals.

I agree, and therefore believe judge John M. Tyson to be the best choice among the 19 candidates.  Judge Tyson has no campaign website as such, but his WikiPedia page is HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 2 of 4:

This race is between Bill Southern and Lucy Inman.  Inman, the Democrat, is a sitting Superior Court judge appointed by former Governor Beverly Purdue.  Bill Southern is a conservative Republican, currently sitting on a District Court in western North Carolina, and was formerly an Assistant District Attorney for Stokes and Surry counties.

My preference is for judge Bill Southern, whose campaign website is HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 3 of 4:

The incumbent is Republican Donna Stroud, who is running unopposed.  Judge Stroud’s page on WikiPedia is HERE, and more of her biographical information can be found HERE.

NC Court Of Appeals Judge, Seat 4 of 4:

The candidates for this seat are Paul Holcombe, a Republican, and Mark Davis, a Democrat.  Since early 2009, Paul Holcombe has been serving as a District Court judge for Harnett, Johnson, and Lee counties.

The preferred candidate is judge Paul Holcombe, whose campaign website is HERE.

In the next post of this series, the subject will move on to the seven races for Carteret County offices.