Source: Charlotte Observer
North Carolina Republicans are hoping their party can gain enough seats in General Assembly elections to gain a supermajority, which will give them the ability to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto. A handful of races in the Charlotte area could tip the scales, according to The Charlotte Observer.
This fall’s midterm elections come against a national backdrop of abortion bans, outcry over fictional issues in our schools, and fights over redistricting and voting rights. If Republicans overtake the state House and Senate, they will certainly make a number of these issues worse.
As reported by The Charlotte Observer, most races in the Charlotte area will go to one party or the other, in most cases relatively comfortably, but there’s potential for some races to be tight or for there to be upsets. If Democrats make gains or hold their ground, Cooper’s veto will remain intact. If not, North Carolina is in for a dark two years before the next election.
The Charlotte Observer highlighted four races to watch.
The first race to watch is House District 73, which covers most of Concord and Harrisburg in western Cabarrus County. The county leans Democratic by about 2%, according to information from the state legislature.
The race for House District 73 will pit first-time candidate Republican Brian Echevarria against Democrat Diamond Staton-Williams, a current member of the Harrisburg Town Council.
Echevarria is best known for a Facebook page and LLC called “Spank That Tail,” which advocated for physically disciplining children with spanking or paddling. In fact, he has previously shown off his paddle engraved with a Bible verse – and no, this is not a joke.
Echevarria has also expressed his support for passing the most restrictive abortion law possible, saying in a Facebook post that he would vote for “the best bill that we can get through, the one that can save the most lives, whether that’s 15 weeks, 12 weeks, heartbeat.”
On the other hand, Williams has said she supports abortion rights and would defend them as a representative in Raleigh. She also wants to see more funding for school counselors and improved access to mental health care.
Another point of disagreement between the two candidates is Echevarria’s support for completely eliminating the state’s corporate tax and Williams’ support for keeping the tax in order “to ensure corporations pay their fair share.”
Next up is the race for House District 98 in northern Mecklenburg County. This race features familiar foes. Republican incumbent John Bradford (the only Republican in the Mecklenburg County delegation) is facing Democratic challenger and former state Rep. Christy Clark – for the third time.
Clark beat Bradford in a 2018 state House race but lost to him in 2020.
District 98 includes Cornelius, Davidson and much of western Huntersville.
Bradford, who is an entrepreneur and the senior chairman of the House Finance Committee and vice chairman of the Regulatory Reform Committee, has focused on his support for business growth in the district.
Clark has worked as a teacher in northern Mecklenburg County and has talked about the damage Republicans have done to our state’s education system.
“Through this work, I see first-hand the detrimental impact that a decade of Republican leadership in Raleigh has on our public schools and working families,” Clark says on her website. “I decided to run for House District 98 again to build a stronger, safer, and more prosperous North Carolina.”
District 98 leans Republican by a few percentage points, but as 2018 proved, Clark can win here.
Over in House District 103, which covers Matthews and Providence, another former representative is running to get their position back. Republican Bill Brawley, who served five terms in office, is taking on Democratic nominee Laura Budd (no relation to Ted Budd).
Brawley lost to Rep. Rachel Hunt in 2018 by fewer than 100 votes. Hunt and Brawley faced off again in 2020. Hunt won that race by more than 4,000 votes. She is now running for state Senate.
District 103 leans Democratic but is expected to be competitive.
Speaking of Hunt, the last race that The Charlotte Observer looked at is the race for Senate District 42 where Hunt will compete for a spot in the state Senate against Republican Cheryl Russo.
Russo won her primary by just over 150 votes and not much is known about her or her positions.
The district leans Democratic and includes Matthews, Providence and the area just east of Pineville. Hunt has the advantage here because the district includes most of the area she already represents in the state House.
The importance of these – and all of the statewide races – becomes extremely clear when you consider the fact that Republicans need to flip just two seats in the Senate and three in the House in order to have a veto-proof supermajority.