Expert Says Negative Politics in Cary Could Hang Around for Years
Posted October 31, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST
CARY — This year's mayoral and council races inCaryhave taken politeness to a new low in a town that is used to a pretty sleepy election process.
Cary residents have been bombarded with all kinds of negativity for more than a month. Councilman Glen Lang, a well known slow-growth proponent, and former Chamber of Commerce President Mary Kamm are the front runners in the mayor's race.
The destruction of signs, mean spirited ads, mailings accusing people of business as usual and Cable TV ads have changed the way Lang looks at politics.
"If I had known that they would try to do this to my reputation and my family before I got started, I wouldn't have got into the campaign," said Lang.
Kamm hints the unsportsmanlike conduct began during Lang's run for council.
"Negative politics came to Cary over two years ago. The political scene in Cary changed with the last municipal election," said Lang.
Political science professor Michael Vasu says it is all about Lang's stance on slowing growth. It has energized the development community into making harsh attacks and spending tens of thousands of dollars.
"You're really going for the jugular of a lot of people's economic viability, and they'll respond," said Vasu.
Vasu adds the threat of the slow-growth movement spreading means we will see these campaign tactics in the Triangle for years.
"Whatever happens in this election, the economic consequences are so strong that this will be one battle, but it will not be the war," explained Vasu.
This campaign has gone beyond words. Threats of violence have become so bad that patrol cars have been stationed at the Kamm and Lang homes.
On election night, there will be heavy security at the winner's victory party.