13th Congressional District candidates differ on whether experience matters
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — In North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District race, experience seems to matter to the Republican and Democratic candidate for different reasons.
Since the primary campaign, 13th District candidate Ted Budd, a Republican, has framed himself as an outsider in politics and noted his lack of experience in office.
“I think experienced politicians have gotten us to where we are today, and I don’t think they’re going to help get us out,” Budd said. “The constitution and the way it was structured is for us layman, us citizens, to serve. It’s not a separate class of people”
Bruce Davis, the Democratic 13th District nominee, touts his experience in elected office. Most notably, Davis served 12 years as a Guilford County commissioner. He has previously run unsuccessfully for the 6th Congressional District and the N.C. State Senate.
“My opponent says that he is an outsider and this and that, but the bottom line is that you want someone who has been ready and has a track record,” Davis said. “You want a strong resumé, just like if you’re going to hire someone for your company.”
The pair are competing against each other for a newly redrawn 13th District that stretches from Greensboro to Iredell County. In Rowan, the 13th District includes the entire city of Salisbury and the northwestern part of the county.
At various points, both candidates in the 13th District have stressed the importance of experience or lack thereof. The most significant difference between Budd and Davis is that the former has never held public office at any level.
“I’m just a regular guy and I want to serve and I’d like to stay a regular guy,” Budd said. “Yes, I hope to be a congressman, but that is just a temporary title while I’m serving my fellow citizens.”
Budd, 44, lives in Advance — an unincorporated community in Davie County — and owns a gun shop in Rural Hall. In June, he won a special congressional primary that included 17 total candidates. Before that, he worked for his family’s facility services business — the Budd Group.
Davis, 59, owns a child care center with his wife in High Point. In the June primary, Davis won by a razor-thin margin of 112 votes over Greensboro developer Bob Isner. Davis had filed to run for the 6th District again, but switched to the 13th after a federal court declared North Carolina’s congressional map unconstitutional.
Budd sees national security, simplifying the tax code and reducing government regulation as the most important issues facing the 13th District.
“Complexity kills growth and right now we’re asking the government to do things it was never intended to do and it’s not doing a good job at it,” he said. “We need to allow free market solutions.”
However, America can’t address any of its issues unless it ensures its residents are safe, Budd said.
“If we’re not secure, we won’t be here to address those issues,” he said. “So, national security creates the environment. Then, once you have a safer environment you begin addressing deregulation. Then, you simplify the tax code. That’s the hierarchy that I look at it with.”
During the primary campaign, Budd emphasized his support of the 2nd amendment. He called it one of the “checks and balances” that Americans have against government.
Davis sees the issues facing the 13th District much differently. Improving the quality of education and ensuring young children are prepared for school rank as Davis’ top priorities.
“I believe that education starts much earlier than we currently provide,” Davis said. “There are children entering school that are not reading a grade level. Many are not able to compete. So, they’re entering school and they’re already behind.”
Davis said there’s a dire need for universal pre-k.
Davis touts his county commissioner experience as evidence that he’d be able to work on economic issues while in Congress. He also stressed the need for criminal justice reform and making America a leader in “clean energy.”
Voters will choose a winner in the 13th District on Nov. 8. Most voters who live in Rowan County sit within the 8th Congressional District. Any voter in the Salisbury city limits will vote in the 13th District.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.
By Josh Bergeron firstname.lastname@example.org SALISBURY — Absentee voting is underway and in-person, early voting for November’s general election starts Thursday.... read more