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Bibbs, Farmer-Butterfield duel on radio

State Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield and Democratic primary challenger Mark Bibbs are trading swipes in dueling radio commercials airing this week.

Bibbs’ response to Farmer-Butterfield’s radio ad comes as the seven-term incumbent picks up a key endorsement from North Carolina’s state employee group. In a spot that began airing Tuesday, a Bibbs spokeswoman accuses Farmer-Butterfield of lying about the length of time she spent as a House majority whip.

"You were told that they had been elected to that position for six years when the record shows they were a part of the whip team for only four years,” said the spokeswoman, who is not identified in the ad. "His opponent just won’t tell you the truth.”

Farmer-Butterfield said in a previous radio commercial that her colleagues had elected her House majority whip for six years. She said Tuesday that the error was inadvertent.

"I made a mistake,” she said. "I’m not perfect. To me, that’s nitpicking. I think what’s more important is what I have done for the people in my district and in North Carolina. I’m not going to quibble about four years or six years. I prefer to run a campaign that’s about the issues and the work that I’ve done.”

Bibbs is challenging Farmer-Butterfield for her District 24 seat in the state House. Redrawn in 2011, the district now includes Wilson and Pitt counties. For six of her seven terms, Farmer-Butterfield represented Wilson and Edgecombe counties in District 24.

Farmer-Butterfield said she’s committed to running a positive campaign. She doesn’t believe voters will punish her for overestimating the amount of time she spent as a Democratic whip, which she calls an honest mistake.

"I think it’s important for people to know that I’m human just like they are,” she said. "If that’s the worst thing they can say about me, then I’m fine.”

Legislative whips are assistants to the majority and minority leaders who gather consensus and try to ensure that party members vote with leadership. The Democratic and Republican parties each have three whips in the state House, according to the General Assembly website.

Bibbs’ ad also accuses Farmer-Butterfield of implying she was the top House majority whip when she served as a member of the whip team.

In her previous commercial, Farmer-Butterfield said she was "elected as House majority whip.” She did not claim to be the primary or chief whip, a designation that House Democrats do not currently have.

The Republican Party has a majority whip and two deputy majority whips in the House, according to the General Assembly. On the other side of the aisle, all three lawmakers have the same title of "Democratic whip.”

In her own radio commercial, which also began airing Tuesday, Farmer-Butterfield takes Bibbs to task for switching districts.

"My opponent has moved out of his home in District 8 to a newly built apartment over his office in District 24 because he was soundly defeated in his own district in 2012,” Farmer-Butterfield said in the ad.

Farmer-Butterfield previously said she plans to file a residency challenge against Bibbs with the N.C. State Board of Elections.


The State Employees Association of North Carolina’s political action committee gave Farmer-Butterfield its support in the race after meeting with both candidates last week in Greenville.

The association’s EMPAC announced the decision Monday in a release listing 21 bipartisan endorsements in the May primaries. The group endorsed nine Democratic candidates and 12 Republicans.

"They both did a good job, but it really came down to the fact that Jean Farmer-Butterfield really had a better grasp on our issues and she has been in the legislature,” said Kevin LeCount, the association’s member strength director. "She has supported pay raises for state employees in the past. She has also stood up for fully funding the retirement system for state employees and the state health plan.”

LeCount said the state employees group considers Farmer-Butterfield’s seniority in the state House as an asset.

"When an issue does cut across party lines, she is able to exert influence,” he said. "She does have that seniority. We need to keep legislators who have demonstrated that commitment to public services.”

LeCount said the endorsement does not indicate that the state employees’ lobby opposes Bibbs, who he said "would not be considered a bad guy.”

"We wish him luck, but we certainly see no reason for her to be unseated at this time,” LeCount said.

The 55,000-member SEANC bills itself as the South’s leading state employees’ association. Analysts say it’s an influential group that participates in policymaking conversations in the General Assembly.

"They play a role, and they have a constant presence down at the legislature,” said Paige Worsham, policy analyst at the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.

Worsham’s think tank rated SEANC lobbyist Dana S. Cope the 25th most-influential of 60 registered North Carolina lobbyists in 2011. However, many lobbyists represent multiple trade groups, which may skew the rankings. Cope was the seventh-most influential among lobbyists who advocate for a single organization.

Farmer-Butterfield said she was pleased to hear of the state employees’ endorsement.

"I’m so elated and pleased that people recognize I am a hard worker,” she said, "and I am committed to helping people in every aspect of my life. I’ve done that all my life. It’s gratifying to know that people acknowledge that and recognize that. I will continue to work hard and continue to represent the people well.” | 265-7821

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Bibbs a good person? said...

Are you really serious when you say Mark Bibbs is a good person? I'm guess you are not on his so called list? The guy is a Cracker Jack joke in the box! The only person that would say Mark Bibbs is a good person is Mark Bibbs and he himself knows that is not true.

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 12:04 AM
Exactly said...

Last election according to this paper Martin received 57.05% of the votes while Bibbs received 42.95%. In Pitt County Martin only received 123 more votes than Bibbs."
Exactly what everyone is up in arms about. Thats why he changed districts. He feels he stands a better chance to win in our district because he scored better last election. If you are a reputable; honest man - you follow the rules and work hard and people will recognize and appreciate that. Bibbs is suing because now because it throws his residency out the window. He didnt sue the first 2 times he failed, but now its been made public and hes grasping for straws. Hes hoping to intimidate the city and get the property approved by threat of lawsuit. He doesnt respect the electoral system as shown by his current actions. He doesnt respect the judicial system by his previous actions. What exactly do people think he offers us as a public servant; when his actions show he is only interested in serving himself?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Mark Bibbs is a good and decent person. He is an awesome dad to his two girls. Where some people get their information and make up stuff to hurt him and his family is shameful. Leave Mark's girls out of this race, they are off limits. How about focusing on the things that he is aware of in the community and has solutions for. He is a well educated, personable, energetic and caring person. He will make a great representative of the district.

Sunday, April 06, 2014 at 9:30 PM
both of them are a laughing stock joke said...

neither one deserves to be elected. whichever wins will be a backbench minority in an overwhelming republican majority. neither will have any power or effectiveness.

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 8:05 PM
Democrats Anonymous said...

I'm a Dem. I feel frustrated because I don't think either one deserves to be elected. Is this really what we have to choose from?

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 5:39 PM
B@CK @ "Looky-Looky" said...

How did anyone "falsely accuse" Bibbs of anything? Did he move out and leave his family? - Yes
Did he leave them to be able to run in our district after loosing his own district to Martin? - Yes
I'd agree that leaving your wife to be a single parent so you can claim residency at your Law Office, just to run in another district after loosing to Martin is abandonment. Bibbs chose what was more important to him; politics. What part of that is false? Go back to your own district Bibbs. We don't want you either.

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 11:04 AM said...

Last election according to this paper Martin received 57.05% of the votes while Bibbs received 42.95%. In Pitt County Martin only received 123 more votes than Bibbs. I don't consider that a landslide victory. With Butterfields record and now that her blatant campaign lies have been exposed she should be nervous.

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 9:47 AM @Looky looky said...

You really hold a ridiculous amount of contempt for Bibbs. Are you scared if he’s elected he might actually accomplish what he says he will and prove you wrong? Is he or Ms. Butterfield even a candidate you can vote for in this election? Your comment sounds very personal to me, not politically motivated whatsoever. Child abandoner? I know lots men with children that are divorced, separated, never married the mothers of their children, are in the military or travel for work weeks at a time. I don’t consider any of those men as abandoning their children.

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 9:42 AM looky looky is right said...

Marc Bibbs left his wife and 2 little girls to run for a district he dont even live in. but this is the type of character he thinks we want to represent wilson? Why do you think hes avoiding questions regarding residency? what does it feel like to abandon your kids for a job mr bibbs?

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 9:16 AM O MY said...

O SAY CAN YOU SEE how the Republicans are defending JFB... Something's up with that. Yeah, we saw Susan Martin last week out of her district hanging out with JFB pretending like she cares for the people.

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 10:37 PM @ Looky-Looky said...

Looky, Looky another know-it-all who doesn't know nothing about what they're talking about. Jean Farmer wannabe Butterfield served you duck and you ate it. To falsely accuse someone speaks more about you than him. Child abandoner, REALLY?

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 10:35 PM To @ said said...

It's very evident some folks don't pay attention and others have no clue. Bibbs IS a licensed attorney in the State of NC. Look it up. Even The Wilson Times did an article on it. There's always one in the bunch...

Friday, April 04, 2014 at 10:27 PM funny endorsement said...

I find it funny that Mrs. Bibbs is a state employee and Bibbs didn't get the endorsement.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 8:58 PM @said said...

The only thing Bibbs has is another drink! It's time to make sure again this year we don't let another lawyer in office or should I say ex-lawyer! Vote for the lesser of two evils and vote for Butterfield. I can't believe I'm even saying vote for a Butterfield but we can NOT let Bibbs in office!

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 8:37 PM @ said said...

We all want to (HEAR) less!

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 5:34 PM Looky looky... said...

Mark "child-abandoner" Bibbs is back in the paper again. When is this guy going to get a clue and understand that no one wants to vote for him. Didn't he get the message last time when Susan Martin walked away with the votes?

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 2:50 PM said...

Let the carnival sideshow begin.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 2:32 PM Truth be told said...

Neither one of them deserve to be elected!!

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 11:44 AM nana said...

I have not seen anything either Butterfield has done for our community. Both have been there too long and need to be replaced.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 10:52 AM Big Money vs the Little People said...

Calling in favors ... AND HER FAVORITES calling her. If Kevin LeCount lived in Pitt or Wilson counties perhaps his endorsement would matter. Since he doesn't, that means about as much as Pinocchio giving her his endorsement. Oversight, blatant lies, call it what you want Farmer-Butterfield is desperate and her campaign ad is proof enough.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 5:55 AM said...

Bibbs may have something here. I want to here more.

Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 11:30 PM
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