Three days after announcing she is running against U. S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC 10), Patsy Keever of Asheville was in Shelby Monday, Nov. 21, to meet with local Democratic Women and to enlist support for her primary campaign and defeating what she called “the Republican war on women.”
Currently serving in the N. C. House of Representatives from state house District 115, Keever was featured speaker at the Democratic Women’s regular meeting. Also attending was Cliff Moone of Catawba County, chair of the Tenth Congressional District Democratic organization.
Republican-led redistricting plans--if they survive a court challenge--will dramatically change the boundaries of the Tenth Congressional District of which Cleveland County is expected to remain a part. For example, the district is drawn to stretch from Gaston to Buncombe counties and take in approximately three-fourths (but not all) of the City of Asheville.
Keever said the redistricting plan “double bunks” her into the same legislative district as Rep. Susan Fisher, another Buncombe Democrat. “I was drawn out of my district,” she said, “so, rather than run against Susan, who I feel is doing a great job, I decided I would run against Patrick McHenry.”
Moone reported no timetable has been estimated for resolving a lawsuit by 44 North Carolinians asking that the redistricting plan be declared unconstitutional and prohibited for use in any election. The suit challenges redistricting maps on several issues including violation of voting rights and excessive division of counties and precincts. N. C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Sarah Parker is to name a three-judge panel to hear the case. Any appeal of the panel’s decision would go to the state Supreme Court. Consequently, Moone said, it’s unknown now whether there might be effect on the date and candidate filing for the 2012 primary elections normally held in May.
Democratic Women President Betsy Wells reported that Rep. Keever is one of four announced Democratic candidates seeking the Tenth Congressional District House seat. Others are Heath Wynn of Caldwell County, Timothy Murphy of Rutherford County, and Terry Bellamy, Asheville major who also announced her candidacy last week.
Keever said she welcomed an energetic primary campaign. “We’re all in the race with one goal, and that’s to defeat Patrick McHenry and restore effective representation for our citizens,” she said. Keever, 63, is a retired teacher and a former Buncombe County commissioner. She ran for Congress once before, losing to Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC) in 2004.
Speaking of her current service in the N. C. General Assembly, she described the fight of Democratic members to stave off to the extent possible Republican efforts negatively impacting citizens’ rights and protections. Democrats are finding it necessary to be consistently present and on guard when the legislature is in session, she said, to protect against Republican attempts to override the governor’s vetoes of damaging bills.
The Democratic Women took note of the N. C. Democratic Party’s current campaign to “call out” state Republicans for their “war on women” with a redistricting plan significantly impacting women members of the General Assembly such as Keever and Fisher and potentially reducing women’s presence in governance.
In other action, the Democratic Women also celebrated the success of their recent Fay Gardner-Bess Hoey Breakfast, both as a fundraiser and a happy opportunity for local Democrats to come together and celebrate their heritage and history in the county.