The race for the state’s 50th Senate District, a seat currently held by Sen. Jim Davis, R-Macon County, is shaping up as a potentially epic political battle next year in Western North Carolina.
The only question for Democrats is whether the party’s choice to try to dethrone Davis will be former Sen. John Snow, D-Murphy, or former Sen. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville.
Davis beat Snow in last year’s election; state political newcomer Ralph Hise, R-Spruce Pine, ousted Queen. Hise now represents the 47th Senate District, which currently includes Avery, Haywood, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey counties.
Snow and Queen confirmed they each want to run, but the two friends said they would not compete directly against one another in a primary. Instead, it will be one man or the other, decided somehow in a yet-to-be-determined manner.
“That’s sort of the gist of it right now,” Queen said. “We are both willing to run, and are both available to run, but we have to come up with the best solution.”
Snow said he and Queen have agreed that “whichever way the decision is made, the other will help the other.”
Snow, however, a longtime judge whose district encompassed the exact political boundaries now comprising the 50th Senate District, is cautious about getting ahead of potential court challenges.
“Our district would be upheld without question, but if others are in contest, you won’t go forward on any of the changes,” Snow said. “It would revert us back to the old district. And that has happened before.”
In other words, the 2012 race could take place using current boundaries while court challenges play out.
Snow brightened when talking about the possibilities, however, of campaigning in this new Senate district.
“I think this does create a better district for me,” he said. “It is exactly the same district I held as a judge, and I’m familiar with the people.”