The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Kinnaird’s pick for empty seat challenged

Alice Bordsen was tapped by the former senator, but others plan to run.

Almost immediately after Ellie Kinnaird announced her resignation from the N.C. Senate seat she held for 17 years, four politicians have announced their intent to fill it.

“This situation has gotten out of hand,” Kinnaird said Wednesday. “I cannot tell you how different it is from what it was supposed to be — it was supposed to be just someone filling in for my uncompleted term.”

Kinnaird, D-Orange, asked Alice Bordsen, a former member of the N.C. House of Representatives who represented Alamance County, to replace her. But Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-Orange, and Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton both announced Wednesday they would pursue her seat as well. Community activist Amy Tiemann is also contending for the seat, according to an Orange County Democratic Party official.

Kinnaird’s replacement, who will serve in the short session in May, will be chosen by an executive committee made up of Democratic officials from Orange and Chatham counties. “I really thought it would be followed as a process,” Bordsen said, adding that she has submitted her letter of intent but has not issued a public statement. “What we’ve seen today is the launching of a campaign — and the only voters are the four members of the committee.”

Kinnaird said she is not endorsing anyone, but she recommended Bordsen, whom she’s worked with in the past, when she stepped down.

“I felt as if she was a real natural to fill in when I step down,” Kinnaird said, adding that the reaction from other politicians was disappointing. “It’s turned into a full-blown primary with people seeking endorsements.”

Some have criticized Bordsen’s ties to Orange County because she represented Alamance County — but she said she’s worked in Orange County for years, and is married to a longtime UNC faculty member.

“I’m solid as a rock on all of the regular Democratic issues that Orange County cares about,” Bordsen said.

But Travis Crayton, a recent UNC graduate and a contributor to the local blog, said he still has reservations and thinks Foushee is a better candidate.

“I understand that Bordsen has Orange County ties, but … I worry that she may not have as deep of an understanding of our community today as other candidates,” he said in an email.

Bordsen said if she was appointed, she would intend to seek re-election in 2014, but would want a “wide open primary” in May.

“It would not kill me not to succeed, but I’m not stepping into anything that I don’t intend to do well in.”

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