As any reporter worth his salt will tell you, when you do a huge story — like my “Anatomy of an upset” in today’s Free Press – you end up with many, many more quotes than you’ll ever use.
That was certainly the case with the story about B.J. Murphy’s win on Tuesday as Kinston’s next mayor. Here are the quotes I was unable to use in the story, but I thought you might like to read:
“We didn’t plan on it, but Facebook really helped us,” Murphy said. “The comments that were made on Kinston.com helped; good or bad, it didn’t hurt the campaign to have our name mentioned in comments with news articles.”
“It’s a fair question,” Murphy said of his future. “I approach my decisions like I do my Facebook status: How will this affect me 10 or 20 years down the road? Will I be happy that I made this decision 20 years from now? Maybe that’s me trying to be too mature sometimes, but I think it’s a good philosophy to have.
“In looking at my future, I’m only concerned about the next four years. I really am. Kinston has Spirit and Sanderson coming and on top of that, my ideas about the small business blue ribbon commission need to be discussed and I want to see it come to fruition. I’m betting that in two or three years, you’re going to see some good results come from that, especially with all the offsprings from Spirit and Sanderson.”
“In the future, say 10 or 15 years down the road, who knows?” Murphy said. “But right now, Kinston has a lot of good things going for it and I’m excited about being at the helm.”
On having a new leader:
“This is no poor reflection on any of our past leaders, but having a new leader … will help increase the odds that all these projects will be more successful,” Murphy said.
On his faith
“A lot of times, I don’t think we leave enough room for God to work,” Murphy said. “In my race, I ran a positive campaign and was able to compare my position with my opponent’s position in a positive light using factual information. There was no smearing or anything going on.
“There were things outside my control that worked in my favor. I don’t attribute that to any one party or group or anything; I attribute it to the fact that I was working hard to serve the people of Kinston. We had an effective campaign strategy. We left enough room that at the end of the day, we could say, ‘We’ve done all we can do; Lord it’s up to You to do the rest.’ ”
“Leaders should leave more room for God to work,” Murphy said. “I believe in the power of prayer but I also believe the Lord gave us these eyes, ears and hands to actually do something. Prayer is good, but actions speak louder than those words.”
“I’ve been elated, excited and nervous about what’s to come, but it’s a good nervous,” Edwards said. “The people have spoken and I know B.J. is going to do a great job.”
“Call it fate, destiny or a perfect storm, but we’re here today with the one who had the best ideas and best positions,” Edwards said. “Of the three, it was said he had the least experience. But the other two had the kind of experience we didn’t need. … His inexperience was actually a positive quality.”
“I see his next four years deciding his future,” Edwards said. “When those four years are up, we’ll see if he’s done enough to make his mark so he can continue. I see him having a great future.”
“I’ve seen our party go from a divisive unit to one that’s united,” Edwards said. “The timing was just right this year, because the Democrats did just the opposite. Watching that happen, I felt like it was going to give us an opportunity.”
TOM FETZER, former three-term mayor of Raleigh, who was first Republican to win office in a century in 1993
“The Republican Party is working harder to become more competitive at the local level,” Fetzer said. “In small towns like Lincolnton and Kinston and in larger towns like Greensboro, the Republican message was heard and resonated.”
Fetzer predicted that North Carolina’s state house and senate would both go Republican in 2010 for the first time since 1898.
“Young leaders like B.J. are not only the present of our party, but the future as well,” Fetzer said. “B.J. has the potential to be a great leader for our party in the state. The first thing he has to do is do well in Kinston.”
“I think he energized his people; he got a young people interested because of his age,” Cousins said. “He did a tremendous amount of work on his Facebook page and he got young people excited about the mayoral race.”
“When the Democrats became so fragmented that they didn’t know who to vote for, he rallied his people and they stayed behind him,” Cousins said. “He’s deserving of winning, because he stayed focused and on target.”
“If B.J. will sit back and use his resources and go slow on some of the things he wants to change, I don’t see how he can’t be successful,” Cousins said.
“I would’ve announced earlier, so that we wouldn’t have had two candidates running out of the same circle of friends,” Cousins said. “Evidently, I alienated some of the people who were in office.”
“It was a matter that Mr. Ritch thought Mr. Harper was a better candidate, so he backed him,” Cousins said. “They had a pretty strong group behind him and they certainly expected to win.”
Cousins said he has no regrets about his run for mayor and that, if given the same choice by the group, he would still have run for mayor.
“I make up my own mind,” Cousins said. “I came from a poor tenant-farmer family where my parents were wonderful and taught me there was nothing impossible for us to accomplish. … I will not let other people dictate to me what I can and cannot do.”
“We had three candidates here who anyone would agree would’ve served this city well as its mayor,” Gardner said. “All three had attributes that make them worthy of being elected mayor.”
“I think folks felt it was time for the city to quit being so partisan,” Gardner said. “B.J. was the only one of the three candidates who was absolutely forthright in his support of nonpartisan elections and the majority will of the people. The other two seemed, at best, to be lukewarm about it.”
“In my lifetime, I would’ve thought it would be highly unlikely that we’d see a Republican mayor of Kinston,” Gardner said. “But when it developed into a three-man race, I felt it would make it the most likely time we’d ever see it happen. Timing is so often the key and that was the case here.”
“Our work relationship will be excellent,” Graham said. “I’m going to do everything I possibly can to make him welcome and to share information with him to move this county forward. The election is over and he will be sworn in as mayor. We need to make bygones be bygones and head to the drawing board to do things that are best for our community.”
“He will learn very quickly that at the local level it’s not about party, it’s about having a good place to work, live, play, be educated and have a good quality of life,” Graham said. “If we stay focused on those issues, we’ll working hand in glove.”
“We had the closest thing to what people want in this election,” Spence said. “It won’t make any difference if (the nonpartisan effort) passes or doesn’t pass here; in a small town, everybody knows who the Democrats or Republicans are.”
Here are leftover quotes I was unable to use in my column (“Healing process begins for Lenoir County Democrats“):
“I don’t know the answer to that, because everything became so convoluted in the election,” Cousins said. “I don’t know if there’s ever been any leadership in (the Lenoir County Democratic Party). There may have been token leadership, but that’s about it.”
“George Graham wanted some additional glory, so while Obama was running, George took over the chairmanship to get that glory,” Cousins said.
With his wife battling an illness, Cousins said they have considered moving to the coast, but said he’s in Kinston for the “time being.”
“Right now, I’m going to stay here,” Cousins said. “I want to help the city and to do whatever it takes to do that. I would still like to be in the decision-making process for some of the things that’s going to happen in the city. I don’t want to fade into oblivion.
“As far as politics or running for another office, I haven’t been out long enough — and won’t be out until December — to think about it.”
“I’m a Democrat by affiliation, by name, by registration,” Cousins said. “But I’ve never have been a full-fledged Democrat. To tell you the honest truth, I’m more of a Libertarian than I am a Democrat. I believe in smaller government, I believe in people doing for themselves, I believe in more personal responsibility for your own self.
“The government tries to get you in a corner where you’re beholden to them and then you’ll keep voting the same people in office over and over and over again.”
“I certainly think there will be a strong Democratic Party after this,” Gardner said. “But there will also continue to be a strong Republican Party, maybe stronger than ever before.”
“The Democratic Party in Lenoir County is alive and well and will continue,” Spence said. “After the first of the year when people are rested and politics are on their radar again, it will reorganize.”