There is nothing remarkable about the firing of Kim Strach, executive director of the NC Board of Elections — at least by today’s standards.
Strach, a registered independent, was like all of her predecessors a political appointee — she was one of McCrory’s picks — and like most of them, she got shown the door when another party came into power.
Ousting Strach was probably the plan all along, as soon as Gov. Roy Cooper took office in 2016. But that was before the elections/ethics boards hornswoggle made it through the General Assembly before getting quashed by the courts.
So it wasn’t until Monday that Strach was replaced by Karen Brinson Bell, the choice of the Democrats who make up the majority of the five-member board.
In the interim, Strach handled the fallout in Congressional District 9, where a Republican candidate hired a political operative who illegally hustled absentee ballots to deliver a victory. Admittedly, it happened on her watch, but so did the cleanup: The election results did not stand, McRae Dowless was indicted and four of his cronies arrested and a new primary held this week — just a day after Strach got fired.
Sure, it would have been nice to see a couple more heads roll on that one, but Strach demonstrated an ability to look beyond party in an effort to move toward some approximation of electoral justice.
That makes her, in today’s NC General Assembly, an outlier — that and the fact that she’s a political appointment who actually seems qualified to do her job.
This party-over-country mentality has infected our government at every level, certainly in Washington, DC but also here in the Triad. We’ve had partisan elections implemented at the county and city level, as well as the school board, and redistricting in a manner designed to marginalize the urban majority.
It’s ironic that Strach’s head would fall under the same partisan axe that took Tom Ross away from the UNC System and attempted to limit the governor’s powers while the window was still open.
North Carolina Democrats take heed: There’s an important election on the horizon, and the best way to differentiate from the opposition is to pull from a different playbook.