Davie County commissioner interested in vacant state senate seat
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — Davie County Commissioner Dan Barrett says he’s “seriously considering” seeking the appointment to the vacant 34th District state Senate seat.
Barrett, a 58-year-old attorney, would be the second person who has publicly announced his interest in the seat, which was vacated in June when former Sen. Andrew Brock resigned to take a seat on the state Board of Review. Salisbury attorney Bill Graham also says he’s interested in the seat.
There’s no formal filing period for the vacant seat. Instead, the decision about who fills is will be made during a Republican Party meeting in Mocksville on Aug. 15.
At that meeting, candidates will speak to some local Republican Party executive committee members from Rowan, Davie and Iredell counties. The Republicans who have a vote in the appointment include executive committee members from the local Republican parties who also live in the 34th District.
Barrett said he’s interested in the seat because he has a passion for public service and has solid conservative credentials. Barrett said he wasn’t initially interested in the vacant seat but several folks encouraged him otherwise.
Though he serves on the Davie County Board of Commissioners, Barrett’s most recent bid for political office came in 2016 when he ran for the Republican nomination to represent the newly drawn 13th Congressional District. Barrett also ran for governor in 2004, and he walked across North Carolina as a part of that effort. For eight years, he served as chairman of the 5th Congressional District Republican Party.
If chosen to fill the vacant Senate seat, Barrett said he would be a “reliable conservative” in Raleigh. He listed his priorities as low taxes, lowering regulatory burdens, working on health care issues, improving the state’s mental health network and constituent services.
Asked about his interest in running for a full term, Barrett said, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
He said he’s unsure how the 34th District might look after state legislators redraw districts that were struck down by federal courts.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, and I don’t think anyone does,” he said.
Rowan County will have the largest say in who fills the vacant 34th District seat. In fact, the number of votes Rowan has is more than in Iredell and Davie counties combined.
Asked about the county breakdown, Barrett said Republicans who have a say in the appointment should focus on who would represent the district best rather than which county a person is from.
Although the official decision to fill the seat will come on Aug. 15, Rowan County Republicans plan to meet on Tuesday to endorse their preferred candidate. That meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the county commissioners’ chambers. Barrett said he plans to attend the Rowan County meeting, if he’s invited.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.
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