13th Congressional District
Candidates: Dan Barrett, John Blust, Andrew C. Brock, Ted Budd, Kay Daly, Kathy Feather, Chad A. Gant, Hank Henning, Julia Howard, Matthew J. McCall, Vernon Robinson, George Rouco, Farren Shoaf, Jim Snyder, David W. Thompson, Jason A. Walser and Harry Warren
Seventeen Republicans have filed to run in the newly cut District 13, and there will be no runoff. That means 15 percent of the vote will likely take the nomination.
People with little to no elected experience make up much of the slate, including Ted Budd, who has never run for office. The small businessman from Davie County owns a chicken farm and a gun range, ProShots, known for its high-profile billboard campaigns on Interstate 40. He’s built his campaign on “taking on the establishment,” “helping families thrive” and “insisting on fiscal responsibility,” according to his campaign website. Conservative PAC Club For Growth is financing much of his campaign.
Dan Barrett is a Davie County commissioner and previous party chair for the 5th Congressional District. The employment attorney has a lengthy list of policy positions on his campaign website, including defunding the Department of Education, securing our borders, instituting public prayer and reinforcing his favorite Constitutional amendments: 2, 4 and10. And he’s campaigning by walking across the entire district.
John Blust, a lawyer and accountant in Greensboro, has been serving in the NC House for 16 years. As a staunch conservative he long predates the tea party wave that crashed in 2010. He sometimes bucks his party, speaking out against an effort by state Sen. Trudy Wade to impose a new election system on the Greensboro City Council, but voted in lockstep with his fellow Republicans on HB2. His campaign plays down social issues, instead stressing military strength (he’s an Army veteran) and reining in so-called entitlement spending and curbing the national debt.
Andrew C. Brock is one of a handful of state legislators looking to upgrade to a desk in Washington, DC. Like all of the state lawmakers in the Republican primary, the seven-term state senator representing Davie and Iredell counties voted for HB2. He currently serves as chair for committees on energy policy and agriculture. The primary quote from his website: “[W]e’ve cut taxes, shrunk government, slashed regulations and provided the people with affordable energy and increased funding for education, and I intend to take those conservative values to Congress so we can defend our Christian values and balance the budget.”
Kay Daly is an active figure in GOP circles. She’s served on campaigns from Reagan to Romney. And though she’s light on positions and never held elected office, she’s amassed a large list of endorsements including Sean Hannity, Robert Bork, Swift Boat Vets founder John O’Neil and TV’s Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman.
An in-patient lactation consultant at a Charlotte-area hospital, Kathy Feather came to North Carolina from Johnstown, Pa. and has never run for office before. She does not address specific issues on her site, but namechecks the Second Amendment, small government, the supposed dysfunction of the Affordable Care Act and Christian family values — “but respect others beliefs, choices and freedoms.”
A Statesville attorney and charter member of his father’s church, Chad Gant has likewise never held elected office, but his website quotes Ronald Reagan and George Washington. His four issues are national security, national debt, abortion and the Second Amendment.
Just one Republican from the Guilford County Commission, Hank Henning, joined the fray. The former Marine wants to slice government spending, support the Second Amendment, secure the border, enforce term limits, make abortion illegal and reform the veteran’s administration. On the commission, he’s remembered as the guy who floated the idea to have the YMCA of High Point manage the Rich Fork Preserve.
Rep. Julia Craven Howard has served 14 terms in the NC General Assembly and is current chair of the banking committee. Like all current GOP state legislators, she supported HB2 and seems to be running on it, saying on Facebook that it “will awaken our nation to what Obama and the liberals have planned for our future. We must fight back.” She sponsored legislation in 2013 that reduced unemployment benefits and dissolved historic tax credits. One thing that differentiates her from the pack is that she is on board with independent redistricting.
As the register of deeds for Iredell County, Matthew J. McCall was one of the last holdouts in the state against performing same-sex marriages, waiting until the Department of Health & Human Services specifically ordered him to.
Calling himself the “black Jesse Helms” since his days on the Winston-Salem City Council, Vernon Robinson was the GOP nominee for the lucky 13th back in 2006, when it looked very different — then, as now, he lived outside of the district. His website rails against “cultural Marxists like the mayor of Charlotte,” the remnants of communism and current House and Senate leadership.
After finishing law school at UNC-Chapel Hill, George Rouco went to work for the CIA before settling down into private practice and making his name by raising money for kids with congenital heart defects — his child has a CHD. The son of Cuban immigrants, Rouco wants to finish the fence between the US and Mexico as well as bolster the Second Amendment and outlaw abortion.
Farren K. Shoaf owns WDSL, the Christian radio station out of Davie County. He’s never held office, but believes in a strong military, no amnesty for immigrants, the Second Amendment, repeal and replacement of Obamacare and abolishing the federal Department of Education. He’s also a rare GOP environmentalist, against fracking and GMOs.
Jim Snyder is a Lexington attorney who served one year in the state House and lost to Thom Tillis in the 2014 Republican primary for US Senate.
David W. Thompson, of Mooresville, is a stickler for the Constitution and civil procedure according to his website. But according to the Mooresville Tribune, he has had “at least 23 encounters with the law since 1993,” the most recent in 2013. Charges include misdemeanors, mostly for assault and breaking and entering, and a single felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon when, again from the Trib, “he shot a man at his former place of business.”
Jason A. Walser, a Salisbury lawyer, stands out from the crowd as an environmentalist who in his professional life helps run the Central North Carolina Land Trust. He doesn’t specifically reference the Second Amendment at his site, though he does mention the Zika virus as one of the biggest threats to our country. He has come out against HB2, setting him apart from most, if not all, of his Republican competitors.
Harry Warren has represented Rowan County in the NC House for three terms, serves as chair of the Public Utilities Commission and like all state Republicans he voted for HB2. But he also sponsored HB 328, which would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers permits — putting him significantly to the left of most of his GOP colleagues in the House. The three planks on his platform are national security, economic stability and a stance against government overreach.