Political Notebook: Local Democratic candidates talk 2022 election during annual convention

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 15, 2022

By Carl Blankenship and Natalie Anderson


SALISBURY — Democrats on the ballot for the 2022 election spoke about their bids for Rowan County sheriff, N.C. Senate District 33 and North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District during the party’s annual convention Saturday.

Though the race for Rowan County sheriff is a packed one, it only includes two Democrats. Simon Brown, a veteran and former corrections officer, said he wants to create a “one band one sound” department that fully protects and serves. In addition to responding to 911 calls, Brown said that includes following up and seeing cases through, making victims aware of where cases stand, speaking with residents, helping stranded motorists, providing escorts for funeral processions, not charging to provide security at youth events and sending sympathy cards to loved ones via funeral homes.

Brown said he wants to establish a relationship with the deputies in the office and operate an open-door policy. He also wants to broaden the hiring process, conduct random visits to the jail and ensure inmate welfare.
“They’re still citizens, they’re still human beings,” Brown said.
Carlton Killian, a former N.C. Highway Patrol trooper, is the other Democrat in the race for sheriff. He pointed to a spike in local violence and said he wants to lower crime by using data-based predictive policing, shared information with other agencies and more education. Additionally, he sees a need to ramp up training on de-escalation, domestic violence, crisis intervention and sensitivity.
And since it starts from the top-down, he said, Killian noted he’d be the first to sign up for such classes. He referenced a lawsuit from 2021 in which Salisbury Police officers and Rowan County Sheriff’s Office deputies are accused of using excessive force during a traffic stop in 2019 when they pulled a Black woman from Georgia in her late 60s from the car by her hair and tore her rotator cuff.
“Just like in anything else, everybody is not made to be an officer,” Killian said. “You have to want to serve the community, because you don’t get rich in this job.”
Killian said he wants the department to look like the community. If elected, he also wants to cut waste and extra expenses at the jail that results from detaining people for nonviolent crimes.
Tangela “Lucy Horne” Morgan, a school teacher from China Grove, also spoke to Democrats about her bid for N.C. Senate District 33, currently represented by Republican Carl Ford. Morgan said she got into education to help children after a career as a social worker. Currently, there are systems in place preventing people from being healthy, educated and employed, she added.
“We have to do better and we will do better,” Morgan said.

Scott Huffman is a Democrat from Charlotte vying for North Carolina’s 8th Congressional district, which will include all of Rowan, Davidson, Stanly, Montgomery, Anson and Union counties and portions of Cabarrus and Richmond counties. The other candidate for the district is Dan Bishop, a Republican from Charlotte who’s currently representing North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in the U.S. House.

Huffman told Democrats Saturday that he won’t be running “an appeasement campaign,” and criticized Bishop for a gun raffle fundraiser held last week in Monroe with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado. While that fundraiser was happening, Huffman said he held a virtual fundraiser for hunger relief.

Huffman also called Boebert “one of the insurrectionists” at the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, and called Bishop his “right-wing extremist, Q-Anon opponent.”

Huffman also criticized Bishop for being “soft on Russia.” Bishop was one of 15 House GOP members and two House Democrats last week who opposed a bipartisan bill to levy energy sanctions against Russia. Madison Cawthorn is another North Carolina U.S. House member who voted against the bill. Bishop stated last week that he voted against the Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act for not addressing “America’s energy shortfall or surging gas prices.”

Huffman also said he is happy with the leadership of President Joe Biden to “repair the damage” caused by former President Donald Trump and reunite NATO and European partners.

North Carolina House passes resolution supporting Ukraine, calling on Congress to up domestic energy production

RALEIGH — North Carolina House members last week unanimously passed a resolution in support of Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces and called on Congress to up domestic energy production.

The resolution called for the federal government to continue taking steps to punish the Russian government for its actions, offer humanitarian relief to Ukrainian people and decrease the country’s dependence on foreign oil by increasing domestic energy production.

The resolution passed unanimously, with Reps. Harry Warren, Wayne Sasser and Julia Howard all signing on as co-sponsors. All three are Republicans who represent Rowan County. However, to reach a fully unanimous, bipartisan consensus, the word “energy” was added to the resolution as a compromise for Democrats during floor debate last week. Originally, the resolution only called for “increased domestic production” of oil.

The resolution also stated that North Carolina taxpayers and public employees “should be granted additional recourse to hold the Russian Federation, its corrupt leadership and its state-owned corporations accountable in U.S. Courts for economic damage done to the United States.”

Unaffiliated voter status now largest voting group in North Carolina

RALEIGH — The State Board of Elections says unaffiliated voters now make up the largest share of the state’s more than 7.2 million registered voters.

Nearly 2.5 million of those voters are registered unaffiliated, which amounts to 34.5% of all North Carolina voters. By contrast, there are nearly 2.5 million registered Democrats and 2.2 million Republicans.

As of last week, voter registration data show Republicans are the majority in Rowan County with 40,946 registered. Following behind Republicans are unaffiliated voters at 30,557, with 23,918 Rowan Countians registered as Democrats.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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