Five Democrats and two Republicans have filed to run in
the newly drawn 6th Congressional district, which covers all of
Guilford County and part of Forsyth County.

With the March primary less than two months away, the battle
for the state’s newly drawn 6th Congressional District is in full
swing. On the Democratic side, five candidates vie for the seat while two
Republicans have also filed to run. Education, affordable health care and
economic opportunity are some of the recurring platforms among the Democratic

After a three-judge panel approved the new congressional map
in November, the district, heavily favors Democratic candidates. It is
currently represented by Republican Mark Walker. The previous map included
parts of Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Guilford, Lee, Person, Randolph and
Rockingham counties, but the new district includes all of Guilford County and
part of Forsyth County, including Winston-Salem. Given the likelihood that a
Democratic candidate will pick up the seat, Walker announced in December that
he would not run for public office in 2020, instead holding out for a Senate
bid in 2022.

Democratic candidates Kathy Manning, who lost to Ted Budd
for the 13th Congressional District seat in 2018; Bruce Davis, a
High Point native and former three-term Guilford County commissioner; Derwin
Montgomery, who currently represents state House District 72 in Winston-Salem; Rhonda
Foxx, former chief of staff for congresswoman Alma Adams; and Ed Hanes, former
representative for House District 72, have all filed to run.

Democrat Kathy Manning celebrates her primary election win in Greensboro in 2018. (photo by Jordan Green)

Despite her lack of political experience, Manning, a
Greensboro attorney, proved to be a prolific fundraiser during her last run,
drawing in more than $4.2 million for the 2018 campaign. Despite outraising
Budd by almost $2 million, Manning fell short at the polls by about six
percentage points and 17,000 votes. For this year’s cycle, Manning’s campaign
has raised $51,615 and has $53,076 cash on hand according to the Federal
Election Committee.

In an email to Triad
City Beat
, Manning said that she is focused on a number of issues including
affordable healthcare, improved public education, ending gun violence, working
against climate change and advocating for women’s rights. She also said that
she supports the impeachment process, stating, “No one is above the law,
including the president.”

Manning, who is Jewish, also spoke out against the Hanukkah
stabbings that took place on Dec. 28 in New York, stating, “It is unthinkable
that in this country religious minorities should be unsafe while celebrating
their faith. Our country was built by people fleeing religious persecution. We
cannot sit idly by while the very foundations of our country are under attack.”

She pointed to an increase in security as well as more educational
opportunities to increase awareness to combat discrimination before violent
acts occur.

Manning also said that she would work with Republicans
across the aisle if they support “legislation that’s good for our district.”
Otherwise, she said, she would stand up to them.

Davis, a High Point native and three-term Guilford County
commissioner, said that he hopes his experience and name recognition will help
him at the polls. He noted voting rights, women’s rights and access to
affordable healthcare as the top issues for North Carolina voters. He also
mentioned his experience of working across the political aisle to come to
agreements with Republicans during his time as county commissioner.

“Working with everybody has been one of my stronger points,” Davis
said. “Not worrying about whether they have a D or R in front of their name…. Just
because a person is passionate about their party doesn’t make us enemies.”

bruce davis
Bruce Davis (file photo)

He noted that despite his numerous other campaign losses,
that his tenacity should signify to voters his willingness to keep fighting.

“There’s a whole lot of humility in losing a campaign,” he said. “But
if you can lose one and come right back, that should show people that this
person is willing to fight over and over, and that’s the kind of person that I
want to represent me.”

Two candidates with ties to House District 72 have also filed
to run for the 6th Congressional district. One is Derwin Montgomery,
the current representative for 72, which covers a span from the northern parts
of Winston-Salem to Stanleyville and Bethania. Montgomery replaced incumbent Ed
Hanes, who resigned just three months before the election in 2018, to represent
House District 72. Prior to becoming a state representative, Montgomery became
the youngest member to be elected to Winston-Salem’s city council when he won a
seat in 2009.

“We need a voice that will speak to real issues that real
people identify with,” said Montgomery in an interview with TCB.

Montgomery noted the importance of economic opportunity for
voters within the district, as well as statewide.

“There are areas of poverty and extreme poverty in the
district,” he said. “People have long-term questions and concerns about
economic opportunity, and whether that opportunity stretches to everyone rather
than the select few.”

NC Rep. Derwin Montgomery, with Winston-Salem Mayor Pro Tem Vivian Burke, Mayor Allen Joines, Councilwoman DD Adams, Sen. Paul Lowe and School Board Chair Malishai Woodbury describes three bills filed by reps Donny Lambeth and Debra Conrad. (photo by Jordan Green)

He framed his candidacy in terms of equity and justice,
mentioning issues like education, housing and healthcare. Montgomery is also
the youngest candidate in the race but said that he has the experience to lead
the district.

“I am the youngest in the race,” Montgomery said, “but I
actually have one of the longest and most diverse backgrounds in terms of
experience. I am the only candidate to have served on city council and in state
government. I engage people right where they are.”

Hanes, who hand-picked Montgomery to take his seat after his
retirement from District 72 in 2018, was one of the last candidates to file for
the 6th district. In a phone interview with TCB, Hanes noted
that his experience working within a Republican-controlled state legislature in
Raleigh during his six years in office makes him a strong contender in the

“It’s relationships,” Hanes said. “You have to recognize that as a freshman, not
all your legislation is gonna get passed, but you have to get to the table, you
have to take those pieces incrementally. In the General Assembly, I spent time
developing the relationships I needed to pass legislation. It’s not an
overnight fix but you have to be at a position to be at the table to have your
voice heard.”

ed hanes
Rep. Ed Hanes (screenshot)

Hanes believes that the most important issues facing North
Carolina voters are jobs and healthcare. He also voiced concerns about
President Trump’s and says he supports impeachment.

“It’s an embarrassment,” Hanes said. “We can do better as a

In the past, Hanes has faced scandal for his campaign
finances. In 2018, Hanes paid the state more than $1,000 after an auditor
discovered an illegal campaign contribution from drug company Pfizer, according
to the Raleigh News and Observer. The newspaper also noted examples of
improper spending of campaign funds by Hanes including during a 2016 trip to
Singapore, clothing from a UNC athletics gift store and small amounts used for
a gym consultation fee and shoe repair.

Hanes told TCB that
his campaign worked with the state Board of Elections to clear the discrepancies
up and that he’s thankful for the board for their work.

A candidate with almost a decade of working behind the
scenes with elected officials, Rhonda Foxx has filed to run against the four
other Democrats for the 6th Congressional District this March. Foxx
began her career as a staffer during an internship with US Sen. Kirsten
Gillibrand in 2011. The longest position Foxx held was as chief of staff for US
Rep. Alma Adams from 2014 through December 2019. Adams, a former state lawmaker
and retired professor at Bennett College, moved to Charlotte to represent the
12th Congressional District after the lines were moved.

Foxx said she was encouraged to run after the district was
redrawn — again — in November.

“The highest voting demographic is African Americans,” said
Foxx about the new 6th district. “It’s also millennials and women,
and there was no one that fit that demographic in this race. I wasn’t going to not
let our voices be heard.”

Rhonda Foxx stands with Rep. Alma Adams and her team. (file photo)

Foxx also urged voters to remember that the new maps are
temporary and will be redrawn again in 2021. She said she hopes to make the
most of the time she has and work to keep voters engaged.

“This is a two-year map,” Foxx said. We need to turn out
voters across the state. We need a candidate who knows how to get things done.
I represent the bulk of people in this district. Washington isn’t working for
all of us.”

Foxx said she’s also focused on criminal justice reform and
fixing the education system.

She said that she hopes that her candidacy encourages other
women to run for office.

“I want
everyone out there to look at this race and see that I had the courage to try
and think, I have the courage to try,” said Foxx. “That’s the ultimate
goal for us. Moving the needle for us is encouraging people to get off the
sidelines and get involved.”

Two Republicans — Laura Pichardo from Pelham and Lee Haywood
from Summerfield — have also filed to run. Haywood has been the GOP chairman of
the 6th district for the past two years.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the NC
Republican Party 6th Congressional District Chairman for the past
two years, but feel compelled to take the leap from GOP activist to candidate
and feel my experience can be best utilized by providing a conservative choice
in this upcoming race to the good people of the newly redrawn 6th District,”
Haywood wrote on Facebook.

“This will not be easy and because of the demographics, I am
not expecting much support from the establishment GOP, but I refuse to sit by
and let the Democrat Party obtain this seat without any competition,” he

In another post, Haywood highlighted eliminating the
national debt, overhauling the immigration system, protecting gun rights and
fixing the education system as reasons for his campaign.

Pichardo, who doesn’t reside within the newly drawn
district, said on Facebook that her reason for filing was also the $21 trillion
national debt.

“We and future generations to come would have to be
responsible for paying off this debt,” Pichardo posted. “The creation of a
sustainable budget and finding cost savings in operations will be my primary

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