by Bob Geary
I put a call in to Redmond this morning and sent her an email. [Update: I just talked to her — 4 p.m. — and she confirmed, she is considering it, called it "a daunting decision" that she hasn't made as yet.] Wake GOP Chair Susan Bryant did respond to say she has no comment yet. I'll update as needed. I know this much, McFarlane's supporters are taking the idea seriously. They were before, but some more bells went off yesterday when it was announced during the City Council session that Redmond was removing her name from consideration for one of the Council-appointed seats on the very plum-ish Centennial (RBC Arena) Authority.
The filing period for City Council elections begins July 25. Election Day is October 11. (Ditto for Wake Board of Education seats.) I've been hearing that Tea Party candidates are preparing to run for one or more Council seats, and it's entirely possible a TP Republican will run for mayor, Redmond or no Redmond.
Thus far, no Democrats are considering a mayoral run — that I know of. Seth Keel, one of the students active in N.C. HEAT on the pro-diversity side of the Wake school board debate, says he'll announce his candidacy soon. But he told me the other day he isn't 18 yet and won't be by December, when a new mayor would take office. So if I understand the law correctly, he's not eligible to hold the office and would therefore not be listed on the ballot. Which doesn't mean he can't launch a campaign.
McFarlane, owner with her husband of MedPro Rx, a pharmaceutical services business, is an unaffiliated voter with a good deal of Democratic support and, because of her centrist views and business background, some Republican backers as well.
Redmond is a Chamber of Commerce-style Republican (not a TP type, that is), and in the parlance of "pro-neighborhoods" or "pro-developers" candidates she's the latter. She's wired in the Raleigh business community; for example, Redmond completed 10 years on the WakeMed board in May, and she was board chair for the last two while Bill Atkinson cooked up his Rex Hospital takeover bid.
Here's a bio of Redmond from the Wake County government website (she was on a county advisory committee):
Billie J. Redmond is President of Coldwell Banker Commercial TradeMark Properties, Inc., a Raleigh based property management, leasing and brokerage services company. She is a native of North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in business. Ms. Redmond is married and has three children.
She worked with Edward Weck and Company, Research Triangle Park, in the International Marketing Division. Ms. Redmond then joined with Don Walston and Alton Smith of Howard Perry & Walston Realty to form a commercial real estate company. Ms. Redmond acquired a majority of the ownership in 1994 and changed the name of the company to TradeMark Properties. In June 2003, TradeMark joined the national affiliation network of Coldwell Banker Commercial and is the largest woman-owned affiliate in the network. TradeMark Properties represents a variety of asset and facility management clients, with Ms. Redmond maintaining the corporate relationship directly with Coldwell Banker Howard Perry & Walston, the City of Raleigh, Centrex Properties and Plaza Associates.
In 1998, she was named the Top Woman in Business in the Triangle, to the Business Leader Impact list in 1999, the Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses in North Carolina, was named Tar Heel of the Week by The News & Observer in 2002, and named a Woman Extraordinaire in 2004 by Business Leader magazine.
Ms. Redmond serves in several community efforts. She served as the 2002—2004 Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, an unprecedented extended term. She serves on the Executive Committee of Communities in Schools of Wake County, Research Triangle Regional Partnership, Kids’n Communities Foundation, WakeMed Hospital system, and Paragon Bank. In 2002—2003, Ms. Redmond served on the Fayetteville Street Revisioning Committee and continues to serve on the Convention Center Steering Committee. She was previously a Board of Directors member for Triangle Family Services, North Carolina State University Humanities and Social Sciences Board, the Board of Directors of Wake Education Partnership, Habitat for Humanity Board Development committee, YWCA Board Development committee, CIAA steering committee and President of the Board of Directors for The Women’s Center. She is a member of the Triangle Commercial Real Estate Women chapter. Billie is a member of Pleasant Grove United Church of Christ and Bible Study Fellowship.