Every vote counts for runoff election July 17
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – It’s one of the busiest summer travel weeks of the year, but John Aneralla and Jeff Tarte are hoping enough supporters turn out July 17 to vote them into the state senate.
Tarte and Aneralla, both Republicans, are seeking the District 41 seat in the N.C. Senate. And with no Democratic challengers the winner of the runoff election will head to Raleigh in January.
“We are working our tails off,” Tarte said about his campaign. “I feel like we’re an employment economic engine with all of the staff working.”
Tarte said he and his staff have been out walking neighborhoods in the district every weekend, walking about eight hours on Saturdays and four on Sundays.
“The team has just been awesome, making calls every day, we’ve called thousands of homes and will continue to walk right through elections,” Tarte said.
Tarte said at this point in the election, getting voters to turnout is the main focus.
“With the endorsement of the third and fourth place candidates, if you had everyone vote who voted before, I’d have 70 percent of the vote, but with only eight percent of the voters expected to turn out, I can be beaten if people don’t get out to the polls,” Tarte said.
Aneralla, who ran for District 40 in 2010, said running against someone from the same party has been challenging, but that it’s been a little easier having to just pitch ideas and information to a largely Republican or unaffiliated voter base.
“I feel cautiously optimistic,” Aneralla said. “We’re working hard. Our campaign is making phone calls and going door-to-door and contacting people every way we can. Obviously it’s going to be a low turnout, so everyone’s vote will count that much more. But it’s still significant, because whoever wins will be the next senator representing this area.”
And while Tarte and Aneralla have been out trying to gather the voters, the issues have remained an integral part of the campaign.
“The topics we’re dealing with haven’t changed in four years,” Tarte said. “And I’ve been very consistent and haven’t budged at all. Transportation, healthcare, unemployment, education, supporting municipalities and moving more control out of Raleigh to local hands, decreasing taxes … the core values never change.”
And he said speaking to voters has been an amazing experience.
“It’s hard work in terms of time and a huge demand on your family, but the flip side is meeting the people and voters and talking to them about what’s important to them and how they want help on issues that impact their daily life is incredibly fulfilling and satisfying,” Tarte said. “It’s a marvelous thing to be in the middle of. And they’re not asking me because I’m me, they’re asking because of the office. They’re looking for help at the senate level and that’s what’s important.”
He said because he’s been up against his colleague and fellow Republican, it’s been an interesting campaign.
“If we do this right, we become a good role model because there’s so much cynicism, can you run on your own record, and not on what someone didn’t do,” Tarte said. “I don’t need to be measured on what anyone else has done or not done.”
Aneralla said throughout the campaign that he views the economy as the top issue.
“In many respects, people always focus on the federal government issues, even when they’re talking to someone like me running for state office,” he said. “That’s always been interesting, but I can’t do anything about that. I think the direction of North Carolina prior to the last couple of years being that we were one of the highest taxed states in every category from gas to income and corporate taxes … that was a big frustration for people who moved here from higher taxed areas because they were surprised North Carolina isn’t as low-cost as they thought. But under the last couple years of Republican leadership we’ve started to change that course. It’s slow, but I think they’re making good strides and making it a more business- and family-friendly place to live.”
Aneralla said the last couple days of the campaign will mean a lot of work trying get voters to the polls.
“I think the best description I heard about a runoff election, is that it’s a ‘run on’ because you don’t really get a break,” Aneralla said. “I’m sure Jeff and I are both looking forward to having a summer vacation start after the campaign.”