Political Notebook: Candidates seeking open U.S. Senate, House seats receive endorsements

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

SALISBURY — North Carolina candidates seeking open seats in the U.S. House and Senate in the 2022 election have received a series of endorsements for their campaigns.

Rowan County is part of North Carolina’s 13th congressional district, which is represented by Davie County native and Republican Ted Budd. He announced earlier this year he would seek the open U.S. Senate seat in the 2022 election after the retirement of Sen. Richard Burr, another Republican.

Republicans who have declared a run for North Carolina’s 13th congressional district seat include Bo Hines of Charlotte, Grayson Haff of China Grove, Bill Brewster of China Grove and Peter Boykin of Mebane. Scott Huffman, a Democrat from Spencer, challenged Budd in 2020 and is campaigning again for the seat.

Hines, who credits himself as the “conservative candidate,” has received the endorsement of Karoline Leavitt, who’s running for New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district, and served in President Donald Trump’s administration as assistant press secretary. Hines said he and Leavitt are two of the youngest candidates running in the 2022 cycle and vowed the two will fight to “advance President Trump’s America First Agenda” and bring a “much-needed, new generation of leadership” to Washington, D.C.

Hines also received an endorsement from Catalina Lauf, a candidate in Illinois’ 16th congressional district race. She also served in the Trump administration in the Department of Commerce, which Hines said will be “of vital importance when combating the dangerous policies being pushed through Congress by Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar.”

Hines also received the endorsement of North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn, who currently represents the state’s 11th congressional district.

“Bo Hines is an America First warrior who will not back down from defending the people of his district and fighting the left’s radical agenda,” Cawthorn said in a statement. “I need reinforcements in Washington to help me drain the Swamp and restore America. Send me Bo!”

Other endorsements for Hines include Robby Starbuck, who’s seeking a congressional seat in Tennessee, and Students for Trump Chairman Ryan Fournier.

Budd, the self-described “liberal agenda crusher,” received the endorsement of Trump in June after the 45th president’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump said she would not seek the open Senate seat in her home state of North Carolina. Budd aligned himself with Trump in his campaign video by including snippets of praise and endorsements.

Budd has also been endorsed by former Rep. George Holding, who represented North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district and praised Budd as the “solid conservative.”

“I have worked with other candidates in this race, and they are fine gentlemen, but Ted Budd is the solid conservative, law-and-order candidate who I know will fight for our conservative principles,” Holding said. “Ted understands that government overregulation is crushing mom & pop businesses and farmers across our state and nation and what it’s going to take to get America back to work again.”

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio also endorsed Budd, crediting him with knowing how to win the tough battles “needed to turn our country around.” Jordan chairs the House Freedom Caucus.

Other Republicans in the race include former Gov. Pat McCrory and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker. Walker’s campaign states it has also been endorsed by Cawthorn, in addition to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Lt. Gov. Jerry Boykin and Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma, among others.

Notable Democrats in the race include former state Sen. Erica Smith, Sen. Jeff Jackson of Mecklenburg County and former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley.

Beasley has been endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Democracy for America and Higher Heights for America PAC. Smith has been endorsed by former 2020 presidential candidate Marianne Willamson.

Rep. Warren to host Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive event for lawmakers 

RALEIGH — Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican from Rowan County, will host an Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive event today at the North Carolina General Assembly to raise awareness about the transition to clean transportation.

For the event, Warren will join the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and Rep. Julie von Haefen, a Democrat who co-sponsored a bipartisan bill with Warren to prohibit and punish non-electric vehicle drivers from parking in spaces designated as electric vehicle charging stations.

The event, beginning at 10 a.m. and spanning until 4 p.m., will allow members and staff of the North Carolina General Assembly to test drive electric vehicles and learn more about the role they play in the state’s transition to clean transportation. It will take place in front of the legislative building at 16 W. Jones St. in Raleigh.

“Until you drive an electric vehicle, it is difficult to understand what all the excitement is about,” said Stan Cross, electric transportation policy director at the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “So we’re putting policymakers in the driver’s seat to experience the excitement first-hand and spur their enthusiasm for advocating for EV friendly policies that will grow North Carolina’s burgeoning EV market.”

In March, Warren and von Haefan’s measure, House Bill 296, passed the House by a vote of 115-4, with four Republicans voting against the measure. The bill establishes a $100 fine for violating the parking restriction and calls on the spaces to be designated by a sign. Similar to handicap parking restrictions, it would be enforced by any state, county, city or municipal authority tasked with overseeing other parking laws and ordinances.

The bill also restricts local governments from implementing any additional fees for violating the parking restriction. Additionally, electric vehicles must be connected to the recharging equipment while in the space.

The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor.

“The advent of the electric vehicle is upon us and it is inevitable that it will become a prominent feature on the highways,” Warren said in a statement about the event. “This event is a great opportunity for folks to become acquainted with electric vehicles if they haven’t had experience with one.”