Judge Bob Hunter’s Campaign is Old Meets New
By Mikel Chavers, CSG Associate Editor
Nearly 40 percent of North Carolinians who voted in 2008 didn’t vote in the Supreme Court race that year. But North Carolina Appellate Judge Bob Hunter aimed to change that in his campaign for state Supreme Court. That’s why he mixed the old with the new—the best of both worlds—to get the job done.
Hunter, a past chair of The Council of State Governments, hit the road with a classic RV campaign tour and he’s also reached out on Facebook and Twitter. Folks could even subscribe to receive mobile alerts on their cell phones by texting “Hunter” to 46786.
“So many people are using (the social network websites) now, especially young people,” Hunter said. “My daughter told me—she just graduated law school and started practicing law—she’s got over 1,600 on her Facebook. So she thinks she’s going to get me elected single-handedly, I believe.”
And without a lot of money in the campaign fund, Hunter appreciates the value of Facebook and Twitter, which are both free. He ran his statewide campaign on $340,000, he said.
And even though Facebook, Twitter and e-mail outreach are important parts of his campaign, Hunter can’t ignore the benefit of the traditional whistlestop tour and meeting with people face-to-face. His campaign RV stopped at town halls, fire departments, police stations, colleges and universities in all 100 counties of North Carolina. The RV sports Hunter’s campaign signs in a big way—advertising you can see from a long way off, he said.
“You can really see it when I’m in town. It gets a lot of attention,” Hunter said. “I enjoy getting out and meeting people and not many people know who their appellate judges are.”
He kept a pretty packed schedule the days he took the RV on the road. “Usually I can get about six counties in and we’ve spent several nights in it. We stay in Wal-Mart parking lots—they like RVs spending the night there,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s race for state supreme court is a close race. At press time, the preliminary unofficial results form the North Carolina State Board of Elections showed Hunter with 48.1 percent of the votes and his opponent, Barbara Jackson with 51.8 percent of the votes. Should Hunter lose the bid for supreme court, he will remain an appellate judge.