Voters will choose between two candidates from Forsyth County in the Democratic primary for the 5th District. In the fall, the winner will challenge four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, who is unchallenged in her primary. We believe Bruce G. Peller is the best candidate to take on Foxx.
Elisabeth Motsinger, a physician’s assistant and a local activist for liberal causes, has been a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board since 2006. Peller, a longtime Winston-Salem dentist and community volunteer, is a political novice.
The 5th District for 2012 consists of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Davie, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, as well as parts of Catawba, Davidson, Forsyth, Iredell and Rowan counties. The district is under a court challenge following redistricting last year.
That redistricting gives Democratic challengers a slightly better numerical chance this year because it narrows the gap between registered Republicans, who still are the majority, and Democrats. In addition, the rise in the number of voters registered as unaffiliated may help a Democratic challenger.
Still, Foxx has defeated four Democratic challengers in a row, in every case by double-digit margins. While that makes her formidable, she is not unbeatable, especially in a year when the national Republican Party has struggled to find a focus.
A moderate Democrat with a strong message and an ability to compromise may have a chance.
Motsinger’s passion is commendable, but her activism for liberal causes isn’t going to work for her in the mostly conservative 5th District. The fact that she would be the first woman to challenge Foxx is a positive, but we think voters are more interested in issues.
Peller could appeal to independents and moderate Republicans. For example, he sees the health-care reform bill as flawed but believes members of Congress, working together, can fix it. He supports alternative-energy programs but favors offshore oil drilling with appropriate safeguards. He thinks improving the nation’s infrastructure is the answer to new jobs. He favors the DREAM Act but is opposed to simple amnesty for illegal immigrants.
These are common-sense views that we think will resonate with voters who are tired of politicians who won’t work together. We therefore endorse Bruce G. Peller in the 5th District primary.
In the 12th District, Democratic Rep. Mel Watt is in his 10th term. He is challenged on May 8 by Democrat Matthew Newton, a Charlotte lawyer. Watt’s seniority serves the district well, and we see no reason to change at this time. We endorse Mel Watt in the primary. Watt will face Republican Jack Brosch of Charlotte in the fall.
Reprinted from the Winston-Salem Journal