In Rare Primary, Libertarians Face off in Senate District 8 | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's note: The author of this post is Sarah Okeson, who is a contributor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.

    Libertarian primary, Senate District 8, Bladen, Brunswick, Pender counties

  • Anthony Mascolo, lay minister. Education: Attended New York Institute of Technology, behavioral science/criminal justice major. Occupation: Retired lieutenant, New York City Transit Police. Career highlights: Chairman, Libertarian Party of Brunswick County.
  • Randy Crow. Education: Sam Houston State University, business administration; Texas A&M, studies of advanced real estate. Occupation: Investor. Career highlights: Former business owner, upper management in various sales corporations.

    It's been 10 years since the Libertarian Party had a candidate on the ballot for the state Senate District 8 seat in southeastern North Carolina. This year there will be a contested primary.

    Randy Crow of Kelly is running against Anthony Mascolo of Shallotte. The winner will face incumbent Bill Rabon of Southport, a Republican who has held the seat for four terms and chairs the Senate Rules Committee, and David Sink Jr. of Winnabow, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 general election. Both are uncontested.

    "It's highly unusual," N.C. State University political science professor Andy Taylor said of having a third-party primary.

    Rachel Joiner Merrill was the last Libertarian candidate to run in District 8. She received 5.54 percent of the votes in a three-way race in the 2008 general election, won by former Sen. R.C. Soles, a Democrat.

    The district is rated "leans Republican" by the N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation.

    Statewide, more than 50 Libertarian candidates statewide filed to run for county, state, and congressional races this year.

    "I am just excited that we have so many Libertarians interested in talking to voters about freedom and serving by holding office," said Susan Hogarth, chairwoman of North Carolina's Libertarian Party.

    Crow, 72, said he is running because the country "is ultimately run by an above-the-law, Satanic shadow government." He has run unsuccessfully for office more than 20 times including races for mayor of Wilmington in 2001, and for president in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

    Mascolo, 59, said he is making his debut run for office to give voters an alternative to "the extremes advocated by the major parties."

    The Bipartisan State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement lists 670 of the district's 166,939 registered voters, or about 0.4 percent, as Libertarian. The district includes Brunswick, Bladen, and Pender counties, and a slice of New Hanover County.

    Crow said he generally does not oppose pipelines such as the planned Atlantic Coast Pipeline that would carry natural gas from West Virginia to eastern North Carolina. He said he was not familiar with House Bill 90, which took away Gov. Roy Cooper's control of a $57.8 million fund he secretly negotiated with pipeline developers. The General Assembly passed H.B. 90, shifting the fund to school districts in the eight counties through which the pipeline would pass.

    Mascolo said he opposes Cooper's foiled plan to use the money to pay for environmental damage related to the pipeline, economic development, renewable energy projects.

    "The state should not assume the responsibilities that belong to the operating company," Mascolo said.

    In other issues, Crow said he is concerned about problems caused by animal farming.

    "Ten million hogs whose waste is sprayed on the ground makes no sense unless one wants people sick or dead, expensive environmental problems, and land that loses all its value," Crow said.

    Mascolo said the General Assembly should act to stop the Chemours plant in Fayetteville from releasing GenX, an unregulated chemical.

    "The corporation must also be held responsible for the cost of the compound's removal from both the soil and Cape Fear River water supply," Mascolo said.

    Mascolo contributed $500 to his campaign, according to a report filed with the state elections board. Crow told the state board he won't raise any money and will only spend $1,000 or less of his own money.
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