Dems not taking North Carolina's 11th district

I live in NC 11, AT's election analyst Richard Baehr doesn't. The lefties based in Asheville have been trying to unseat Taylor for years because he is a wealthy businessman and large landowner.  They haven't yet succeeded. Taylor's opponent last time was favored by many outsider analysts, too, and she had experience as an elected official.  Heath Shuler may not be as liberal as she was, but he is a political novice and lightweight who moved back into the district after a long absence.  His local base is in Waynesville, a much smaller town than Asheville, the base of Taylor's last opponent.

Charles Taylor's constituent services are excellent, his voting record is generally in line with the voters in the District and I don't get any sense that there is the anti—incumbent backlash aimed at him in particular.   This summer I watched Taylor work a largely Democrat crowd at a local community center where he delivered a check for their building program. He was warmly received.  I also know that he responds on point to inquiries to his office, so that even those who may oppose him on an issue often respect his reasoning.

Shuler has been going negative against Taylor on TV for a while now, which might be effecting poll numbers, but that's nothing new.  They've gone negative on Taylor many times before, so much so that a local right wing paper notes you can tell it is an election year when the area's left wing "alternative" press, our local equivalent to the Chicago Reporter, finds some new charge to bring against Taylor.  More importantly, Taylor has just began his 'Ben Affleck' campaign on Heath Shuler, with commercials noting that Shuler had been too busy building his (under whelming) resume to even bother to vote in a good many elections over the years.

Note also that there is a huge local issue that does not begin to register on the national political radar: rampant development.

Shuler's current occupation, realtor, may not exactly enthrall a good many local voters on both sides of the political spectrum.  The region has become a very hot place for development and many of the rural counties are wide open as regards zoning restrictions.  There are valid concerns that developers are placing homes on slopes where no one should have ever been allowed to build, that resort sites with a lot sizes of one to two acres are replacing the more standard ten acres and that the area's quality of life is very much at risk.  Development issues are the hot button in the races for county commissioner all across the 11th Congressional District, with the entire real estate industry being painted as the bad guys.

One key aspect of the development issue has been the Bush administration proposal to sell off National Forest lands that are not contiguous to the main holdings. If the development continues apace in many counties, these parcels will become crucial islands of wildlife habitat.  Taylor came down firmly against it, noting that they didn't even propose hearings so that people living in the areas around the proposed de—acquisition sites could have input. Taylor has the status and seniority to stop the proposal.  Shuler would not, and there are going to be concerns that with his realtor background, any opposition might be half hearted.

I happen to share a property line with one of the parcels the Administration is proposing to sell and I can tell you that I would vote for the devil himself to stop that sale and that a good many liberal tree huggers around here feel the same way.  Taylor sent out a very thoughtful letter to everyone who wrote him on this issue that earned him a lot of additional goodwill.

With the lefties in Asheville pretty much dominating local broadcast media, it has been a labeled a come form behind race for Taylor before. I'd be really surprised if he did not pull it off again.

Rosslyn Smoth   9 06 06

I live in NC 11, AT's election analyst Richard Baehr doesn't. The lefties based in Asheville have been trying to unseat Taylor for years because he is a wealthy businessman and large landowner.  They haven't yet succeeded. Taylor's opponent last time was favored by many outsider analysts, too, and she had experience as an elected official.  Heath Shuler may not be as liberal as she was, but he is a political novice and lightweight who moved back into the district after a long absence.  His local base is in Waynesville, a much smaller town than Asheville, the base of Taylor's last opponent.

Charles Taylor's constituent services are excellent, his voting record is generally in line with the voters in the District and I don't get any sense that there is the anti—incumbent backlash aimed at him in particular.   This summer I watched Taylor work a largely Democrat crowd at a local community center where he delivered a check for their building program. He was warmly received.  I also know that he responds on point to inquiries to his office, so that even those who may oppose him on an issue often respect his reasoning.

Shuler has been going negative against Taylor on TV for a while now, which might be effecting poll numbers, but that's nothing new.  They've gone negative on Taylor many times before, so much so that a local right wing paper notes you can tell it is an election year when the area's left wing "alternative" press, our local equivalent to the Chicago Reporter, finds some new charge to bring against Taylor.  More importantly, Taylor has just began his 'Ben Affleck' campaign on Heath Shuler, with commercials noting that Shuler had been too busy building his (under whelming) resume to even bother to vote in a good many elections over the years.

Note also that there is a huge local issue that does not begin to register on the national political radar: rampant development.

Shuler's current occupation, realtor, may not exactly enthrall a good many local voters on both sides of the political spectrum.  The region has become a very hot place for development and many of the rural counties are wide open as regards zoning restrictions.  There are valid concerns that developers are placing homes on slopes where no one should have ever been allowed to build, that resort sites with a lot sizes of one to two acres are replacing the more standard ten acres and that the area's quality of life is very much at risk.  Development issues are the hot button in the races for county commissioner all across the 11th Congressional District, with the entire real estate industry being painted as the bad guys.

One key aspect of the development issue has been the Bush administration proposal to sell off National Forest lands that are not contiguous to the main holdings. If the development continues apace in many counties, these parcels will become crucial islands of wildlife habitat.  Taylor came down firmly against it, noting that they didn't even propose hearings so that people living in the areas around the proposed de—acquisition sites could have input. Taylor has the status and seniority to stop the proposal.  Shuler would not, and there are going to be concerns that with his realtor background, any opposition might be half hearted.

I happen to share a property line with one of the parcels the Administration is proposing to sell and I can tell you that I would vote for the devil himself to stop that sale and that a good many liberal tree huggers around here feel the same way.  Taylor sent out a very thoughtful letter to everyone who wrote him on this issue that earned him a lot of additional goodwill.

With the lefties in Asheville pretty much dominating local broadcast media, it has been a labeled a come form behind race for Taylor before. I'd be really surprised if he did not pull it off again.

Rosslyn Smoth   9 06 06