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GOP holds straw poll, passes marriage amendment resolution at convention

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.

Davidson County Republicans held their party convention Saturday and heard from numerous candidates who will participate in a May primary and perhaps gave some insight as to the results of that primary with a straw poll.


Around 84 county delegates attended the convention at West Davidson High School. Straw poll votes were cast for local races — county commissioner, N.C. House District 80 and N.C. Senate District 33 — as well as a slew of state and federal races.


The unofficial poll revealed Larry Allen as the top vote-getter for county commissioner, followed by Steven Shell and incumbent board vice chairman Larry Potts. Other GOP candidates on the ballot are Don Dublin, Steve Jarvis, Fred McClure and Leona Sink.


In N.C. House District 80, incumbent Jerry Dockham beat challengers Dick Johnson and Christy Jones by a “substantial” margin, and Eddie Gallimore won in N.C. House District 33, beating incumbent senator Stan Bingham and challenger Sam Watford, chairman of the Davidson County Board of Commissioners.


Vote totals were not given, just winners were announced. Davidson County Republican Party Chairman Lance Barrett said the goal was to gain an idea, not to embarrass anyone with the straw poll.


All of the local candidates, except for McClure, who is ill, addressed party members for several minutes on their campaigns. Candidates said they hope their messages and reasons to run would resonate with voters as they head to the polls in May. Nearly all of the candidates said they would fight for “conservative” government if elected and would stand firm on traditional Republican values.


The straw poll also showed Davidson County Republicans support Rick Santorum for U.S. president, Pat McCrory for N.C. governor, Dan Forest for N.C. lieutenant governor and Richard Hudson for U.S. Congress in the 8th District.


Barrett, who championed his party for its stronghold on Davidson County, where the GOP holds every elective partisan seat, said he was pleased with the crowd Saturday.

“These are grass roots people,” he said. “We’re very pleased. A sunny, warm, (NCAA) basketball Saturday and we still had a good turnout.


“This party is strong. It feels good to be able to stand here, and everyone out here should be proud of the hard work that they’ve done and that every single partisan seat is held by a Republican.”


Another area of business Saturday was the passing of a resolution by the party, backing the marriage amendment bill that will be on the May ballot. The amendment will give voters the opportunity to mandate state policy that would result in marriage only being recognized between a man and woman.


The resolution included language that said the party was “affirming that marriage as the union of one man and one woman is in the public good and serves the interests of men and women, of children, and of society itself.”


Allen read the resolution in full and called it “one of the most important resolutions for a constitutional amendment in a long time.”


David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at david.bodenheimer@the-dispatch.com.

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