Presidential candidates may come in March

Published 9:14 am Thursday, October 8, 2015

Imagine Donald Trump giving a speech on the Davie County Courthouse steps. Think of Jeb Bush touring Clemmons. Or the sharp-tongued Carly Fiorina at the Farmington Dragway. Ted Cruz in Lewisville. Dr. Ben Carson in Bermuda Run. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton might stump in Cooleemee. Vice President Joe Biden — if he runs — will be in Winston-Salem.

It might happen in early March next year — all but the Clinton visit. There aren’t many Democratic votes in Davie County. She will probably campaign in more fertile ground.

Thanks to the N.C. General Assembly and an enthusiastic push from Davie County’s Sen. Andrew Brock, the 2016 presidential race will march right through North Carolina. The state political primaries have been moved from May to March 15, giving the state a chance to play a pivotal role in picking the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

Call it the political Ides of March. The state’s voters could stab a few presidential aspirants in the back that day much like the ancient Roman senators did to emperor Julius Caesar. Which candidates will meet their doom here?

The downside is that all political primary races — state legislature, county commission and others — will also be decided that day too. Potential candidates for local offices will have to make up their minds quickly if they are going to run. The filing period will begin Dec. 1, also two months earlier than the traditional date. The good news is that by mid-March, the national politicians will move on to unharvested states.

Political junkies have always looked at the fun they have in the early states to start the presidential nomination process — Iowa, New Hampshire and even South Carolina — and covet their influence in the process. Usually by the time the presidential primary season has reached North Carolina, the nominees have often been determined.

Iowa’s presidential caucus is Feb. 1. The New Hampshire primary is Feb. 9. Nevada’s caucus will be Feb. 23. South Carolina will vote Feb. 27. A handful of states will vote Feb. 5. On March 15, North Carolina will join Florida, Illinois, Missouri and Ohio in a Super Tuesday primary.

North Carolina will matter in the presidential contest.

Voters will also be asked to decide Gov. Pat McCrory’s $2 billion bond referendum for road and infrastructure improvements.

Brace for attack ads on television. TV stations should reap a windfall of profits. This may be more fun than we can stand.

• • • • •

For most of us, 10 days of seemingly constant rainfall was a mere inconvenience. The Yadkin River didn’t jump its banks. The misty days brought rainfall down so slowly that the streams and river accommodated the moisture without much trouble. There were only a few heavy rain storms during the monsoon season.

South Carolina, on the other hand, had real rain.

Caught between Hurricane Joaquin — which I still can’t pronounce — and a low pressure system, South Carolina experienced Noah and the Ark rain — nearly two feet in some areas around Columbia in one day. It was called a thousand-year storm. Small creeks turned into raging rivers. Water spilled out in all directions.

The much-missed sun finally emerged Monday.

South Carolina will be mopping up for weeks and months to come.

— Dwight Sparks