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Attorney Bill Graham interested in vacant NC Senate seat; GOP schedules Aug. 1 meeting

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The race for Andrew Brock’s vacant state Senate seat has a candidate.

Salisbury attorney Bill Graham has notified the Rowan County Republican Party that he’s interested in filling the Senate District 34 seat, which Brock vacated roughly a week ago when he resigned to take a spot on the state’s Board of Review. Brock, a Davie County native, had served for more than 14 years in the N.C. Senate.

Graham said he’s interested in the seat because it’s an opportunity to serve Rowan County and the 34th District. Graham said he wants to contribute to the debate about issues in the state and introduce ideas of his own. He said it’s an honor that he was asked to consider seeking the seat and added that he looks forward to the process of selecting a new state senator.

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Don Vick said Graham is well-known around the state and has good name recognition.

Graham is a partner in the Wallace and Graham firm in Salisbury with attorney Mona Lisa Wallace. Graham ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2008 and has been active in various boards, civic organizations and commissions. After the 2008 campaign, he worked with former Gov. Pat McCrory in different capacities, including the N.C. Economic Development Board. He recently received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from McCrory.

Graham said there’s a “laundry list” of items he’d like to work on, including issues he ran on in the 2008 gubernatorial campaign. He listed eliminating the tax on overtime, lowering the dropout rate in rural and urban areas, creating new revenue streams for the state highway system and increasing teacher pay.

Graham didn’t say whether he would seek a full term representing 34th District seat in the next legislative elections. He said any future bid for the N.C. Senate would depend on district maps, which are scheduled to be redrawn in the coming months as a result of a court decision.

Graham and any other interested candidates can appear at an Aug. 1 meeting of some local Republicans. On Aug. 1, members of the Rowan County Republican Party executive committee who live in the 34th State Senate District will meet to hear from interested candidates and make an endorsement, Vick said.

Only those who are on the executive committee and live in the Senate district can cast a vote for their preferred candidate to fill Brock’s vacated seat. The executive committee contains precinct chairs, elected officials and officers such as Vick and Rowan GOP Vice Chair Elaine Hewitt. Vick estimated a majority of the executive committee lives in the 34th District.

Past Rowan GOP Chairman Stephen Kidd is an example of an executive committee member who will not be able to participate in the vote because he doesn’t live in the district. However, Vick said, Kidd will serve as the parliamentarian for the meeting.

Vick said any person who is a Republican and lives in the 34th District could attend the Aug. 1 meeting to speak about why they want to be a candidate. An exact meeting location has not been confirmed, but the Rowan GOP is working to secure the Rowan Public Library’s Stanback Room.

After each making a selection on Aug. 1, the Republican parties from Rowan, Davie and Iredell counties will meet on Aug. 15 in the Davie County Board of Commissioners’ chambers in Mocksville, Vick said.

At that Aug. 15 meeting, each Republican Party can put forth its favored candidate and cast votes. Any person could also be nominated from the floor, meaning candidates don’t have to secure a party endorsement before the Aug. 15 meeting.

Rowan County contains the largest portion of the population and voters in the 34th District. As a result, it will have the greatest say in who’s chosen to fill Brock’s seat.

Vick said it’s likely Rowan County’s preferred person would end up filling the 34th Senate District seat.

In the coming days, Vick said, the Rowan GOP will contact people who are eligible to cast a vote for the 34th State Senate District.

Editor’s note: this article has been updated to clarify that candidates do not need to appear at the Aug. 1 meeting in order to be considered to fill Andrew Brock’s seat.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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