Today I’m signing a petition to add Eric Fink to the NC Senate district 26 ballot.
Then I'm going to send him some money.
You should do one or both of those things too if you want change in Raleigh on issues like jobs, education, and the environment; oppose the costly and immoral HB2; and/or think even the most powerful politician in North Carolina should not run unopposed.
Fink needs about 5,000 signatures by early June to challenge incumbent Phil Berger. He figures a credible campaign will cost at least $80,000, and he could really use $15,000 of that now.
I’ve seen a lot of quixotic campaigns over the years but this one seems different from the average declare-and-disappear version. Fink, an Elon Law professor, is smart, tough, and committed. He’s got a legit campaign manager (Lauren Jeffries, who helped put Nancy Hoffmann on GSO city council) and the backlash over HB2 should help his fundraising and visibility. “I don’t believe in protest campaigns,” he told me. "I'm running to win."
He knows that's a very long shot for a democratic socialist in district hand-drawn to elect Republicans. But he’s also playing the long game in a way NC Democrats, who failed to mount even token opposition to Berger, need to emulate. “I want to get people mobilized and organized so that if I don’t win, someone else won’t be starting from a dead stop in two years or two years after that.”
Watching the former labor lawyer debate Berger would be a lot of fun. So would making Berger spend a little time and money back in the district, which includes all of economically-distressed Rockingham County and an oddly-shaped, GOP-flavored chunk of Guilford.
A strong opponent of HB2 -- the disastrous legislation that limits anti-discrimination protections and restricts local wage rules, all wrapped in fear-mongering over who pees where – Fink says he hears plenty of opposition to the hastily-passed law. “A lot of people see HB2 for what it is, a smokescreen for an attack on local government and people’s right to sue.” But his core issues are “restoring education to what it was, and creating the kind of jobs that pay real living wages and sustain a community. When I ask people what they care about they say education and jobs, jobs and education.” He also wants to talk about environmental issues like the threat to clean water of coal ash and fracking.
To succeed he'll need some unlikely allies. “I’m reaching out to more moderate Republicans and saying, ‘There may be a thousand things we don’t agree on, but we agree that this legislature is taking our district and this state in the wrong direction.'”
Fink has lived in Greensboro for nine years, signing on at Elon after a career in private practice in Philadelphia and a fellowship at Stanford Law. He’s already been campaigning in RockCo and sounds excited to spend more time on the trail. I hope you will help him stay on it.