Curtis win guarantees Denver seat
Denver optometrist David Curtis chalks up his eye-opening upset of Sen. Chris Carney in the Republican runoff for N.C. Senate District 44 in part to his opponent’s role in acquiring a controversial cable TV system.
Curtis collected 4,531 votes, or about 59.2 percent of the 7,657 cast in the Tuesday, July 17, runoff. He’ll face Denver Democrat Ross Bulla in November’s general election.
Carney’s most vocal critics questioned his conservative values, pointing to his vote as a Mooresville commissioner in 2007 to partner with the Town of Davidson to buy the bankrupt cable system that would become MI-Connection. The cable system has proven to be a budgetary burden for both towns.
“There was a significant group in Mooresville that were really upset,” Curtis said.
Curtis said he spent a great deal of time campaigning in Statesville, where Ray received many votes, and Mooresville, where he grew up.
“I’m not a foreigner by any stretch of the imagination,” Curtis said of campaigning in Mooresville. “I didn’t feel like an outsider coming in. I felt like I was coming home.”
Curtis estimates that he knocked on 2,500 doors, made hundreds of phone calls and mailed dozens of people information about his campaign.
Curtis carried all 28 of Lincoln County’s precincts, earning nearly 80 percent of those votes. Curtis also received more votes than Carney in three precincts within the senator’s home of Mooresville.
Wayne King, vice-chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, described the win as impressive.
“Dr. Curtis is a strong man of faith and a businessman who will represent the values of Senate District 44 well,” King said.
Carney was unhappy about the election’s result but proud of his campaign and his supporter’s efforts.
“We just had a difficult position to be in Raleigh in a short session where we had so much going on,” Carney said. “That took away from my ability to get back here and campaign as much.”
Carney, 40, has served as District 41 senator since Republican leaders in Iredell, Gaston and Lincoln appointed him to fill the vacancy left by the death of Jim Forrester last fall.
Carney views his departure from the Senate as an opportunity to get back to the private sector and spend more time with his family. He has no plans to pursue another office at this point.
Carney has offered to help Curtis transition into the role should he defeat Bulla in November.