The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Valerie Foushee nominated for Kinnaird's seat

Gov. Pat McCrory must formally appoint her within five days.

Rep. Valerie Foushee, D-Durham, was nominated Sunday to fill the N.C. Senate seat that Ellie Kinnaird vacated last month.

She will represent Orange and Chatham counties for the remainder of Kinnaird’s term, which ends December 2014. The three voting members of the Orange County Democratic Party committee voted unanimously to appoint Foushee.

Foushee said after the vote that she did not expect to win and didn’t even prepare an acceptance speech, because she believed she would come in second.

“I’m surprised and grateful, but I know we have work to do, and I’m ready to hit the ground running,” she said in an interview.

Foushee said her main goal while serving the remainder of Kinnaird’s term is to fight some of the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly’s policies.

“All the progress that Democrats have made over the years is being eroded,” she said.

During her nomination speech, she said she would work with Kinnaird to combat recent changes to the state’s voting laws, which require voters to have a government-issued photo ID.

She also said she wants to focus on reclaiming the Chatham County Board of Commissioner s. That board is Republican dominated, with a Republican chairman.

The decisions took two rounds of voting to finalize. In the first round, votes were split equally between Foushee and Amy Tiemann, an author and media producer.

Tiemann, the only other candidate to receive votes, said she was happy for Foushee and pleasantly surprised she got the second most votes.

“I think I really got my name out there – my message out there,” she said.

Now the race is over, Tiemann said she will regroup and strategize the best way to help all Democrats on the ballot succeed in the next election.

Other candidates included Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton; former Carrboro mayor Jim Porto; former N.C. House Rep. Alice Bordsen; Attorney Lynette Hartsell and Attorney Heidi Chapman.

Kinnaird, who had recommended Bordsen to replace her, said she was surprised that many of the candidates didn’t get any votes. But she said Foushee is a natural choice.

“Valerie knows Orange County like no other candidate,” she said.

N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller said the committee did a good job in selecting a candidate.

“We are all proud to see Valerie as a senator,” he said.

Gov. Pat McCrory still has to formally appoint Foushee to the seat. He has five days to appoint Foushee, and if he does not take action, she will be automatically appointed.

The N.C. Democratic Party will then begin to fill Foushee’s vacated seat, Voller said. The process will probably begin in the next few weeks, he added.

Kinnaird said the race for Foushee’s seat will be different because the seat serves Orange and Durham counties. She said in the last election, Foushee did not carry the support of Durham County when about 55 percent of county votes cast were for the Republican candidate.

“We worked hard for Valerie, and we knew she could hold it, and now we are entering into unknown territory,” Kinnaird said.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel Victory Paper for November 20, 2023