In early December 2018, I was walking around Elizabethtown, N.C. working on a story for POLITICO on the strange election fraud scandal in the 9th Congressional District race. Just before dark, I saw a TV reporter doing a standup in front of the courthouse.
It was my friend Nick Ochsner, working for WBTV. We joked about how it was fancy to run into each other there, of all places.
Nearly three years later, Nick and I have written a book about the place. It’s called The Vote Collectors, and UNC Press’s Ferris and Ferris imprint published it on Nov. 16, 2021.
Any summary will tell you it’s about how small-town election shenanigans wound up freezing a congressional election.
- But it’s more a book about place — specifically, Bladen County, North Carolina — and the people who make a place.
- It’s about race and power.
- It’s about the distance between trendy pork-belly sandwiches in a big city like Charlotte, and the farmers who raise the hogs 150 miles east.
We’ve been talking a lot about it this fall, in events in-person and virtual, all across North Carolina. Here are some interviews we’ve done.
- WFAE’s Southbound with Tommy Tomlinson: This was a blast. Tommy’s someone I’ve admired for years, and I’m fortunate to call him a friend. I love where he steered this conversation, into the gray matter around truth and integrity.
- 1on1 with WECT’s Jon Evans: The neat part about this one was hearing Jon’s reactions to our book as a longtime resident of eastern North Carolina.
- Tying it Together with Tim Boyum: Always love talking to Tim and Ben McNeely, two people with a deep appreciation for this great state.
- Charlotte Talks: A fine way to start launch morning, talking with the great Mike Collins.
- Queen City Nerve’s Nooze Hounds: Probably the interview with the most cursing. Really fun conversation with Justin and Ryan.
- On Your Side Tonight with Jamie Boll: Jamie’s one of those people you could talk to for hours.
And here are some videos of our early tour dates.