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Republicans Vie for Seat in U.S. House



Washington D.C. | Republicans Vie for Seat in U.S. House | Featured

Three Republican candidates are vying in the primary election for the opportunity to wrest the 1st Congressional District from Democratic control.

U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield represents the district, which has been represented by Democrats for more than 130 years. But with district lines recently redrawn, Republicans see an opportunity to reclaim the district, which they say has suffered for too long.

“I researched all 13 congressional districts in North Carolina and realized that District 1 was in bad shape. This is a district with a 19.1 percent poverty rate and a 6.3 percent unemployment rate – the poorest district in the state, and some would argue the poorest district in the nation,” said Ethan Baca, who is running in the Republican primary.

Baca moved to North Carolina from New Mexico five years ago and currently resides in the 7th Congressional District but said he and his family plan to move to “fight for the great people in District 1.”

Michele Nix, who lives in Lenoir County, said she also sees the needs and challenges in the district and wants to create better opportunities for its residents.

“I am running for Congress to support President Trump and his Keep America Great policies. Democrats have held this district since 1883. Their party has done little to improve the lives of those in the district, and the current representative is out of touch with the challenges we face. We need a representative who will support our president and vote to reduce taxes and regulations so we can continue to strengthen the economy and create jobs in the district,” Nix said.

Another Republican, Sandy Smith, also is seeking the party's nomination in the election. Smith said she originally planned to challenge U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in the Senate race. But when the 1st Congressional District lines were redrawn to include her hometown of Winterville, she set her sights on the House of Representatives race instead.

“After many discussions with my family, my supporters and other conservative Republican members of Congress – including members of the House Freedom Caucus – it is very clear we have to win back the House in 2020, and North Carolina needs to make up for our lost seats due to redistricting,” Smith said when she announced her decision.

“With much prayer, thought and encouragement, I have decided to run for Congress in North Carolina's newly redrawn 1st Congressional District, which is now my home district. After the Democrats forced the North Carolina legislature to redraw the congressional maps, North Carolina's 1st District is now much more competitive and a winnable seat for Republicans,” she said.

Baca, at 35, is the youngest of the candidates. He is a small business owner with a wife and two young daughters. Though he attended the University of New Mexico, he did not earn a degree. Instead, he said, “I went straight into the workforce and acquired many tradesmen skills.”

However, he did study economics, he said.

“As a congressman, I will be dealing with two different types of economics: macro and micro. I've studied economics. I know how to create jobs and negotiate good deals to bring industries that provide long-lasting career jobs. The most important fact that qualifies me to serve in Congress is that I will always keep the people first. I will always listen to communities to support the needs of the people. I will always legislate in favor of the Constitution and the people,” Baca said.

Nix declined to state her age. She is married and has five adult children and three grandchildren. She did not attend college and is a licensed investment adviser.

“In order to run for Congress, I had to step away from my position as a series 7 investment advisor at First Citizens Investor Services, a subsidiary of First Citizens Bank. By law, investment advisors are unable to raise money for elected office. However, for 20 years I have worked as a financial adviser, helping individuals plan for their future and invest wisely,” Nix said.

Nix notes that she does have considerable experience in the political realm.

“While many have talked about supporting the president and Republican values, I have been in the trenches. For the past 10 years, I have been working across North Carolina to elect Republicans and support the conservative message. I started out as a county party volunteer and eventually became vice chairwomen of the North Carolina Republican Party,” Nix said.

Smith also declined to state her age. She is married and she and her husband share four adult children, she said. She has a background in agriculture, she said.

“We have two beautiful farms in Pitt County, where we embrace the farming and agricultural life, raising honey bees and a rare species of free-range pig from New Zealand,” Smith said.

Smith graduated with honors from East Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in business and technology.

“I'm a real estate investor and have multiple residential, commercial and agricultural properties. I have an extensive business background with a focus in accounting and finance, marketing and international trade. I've held the title of CFO of a material handling company and a construction firm. I'm a woman of faith and view myself as a strong conservative Republican that truly loves American and is proud to embraces all of its greatness,” Smith said.

The three candidates share much in common. They all said they are strong supporters of President Trump and the Constitution. All support gun rights and oppose abortion. And all the candidates have strong views about the need to create better solutions with regard to immigration.

However, there are differences between them.

“There is so much that sets us apart as candidates,” Baca said. “I always tell my fellow Americans to vote based on policy, not personality. Who has a strong policy? Who is ready to hit the ground running? Who has a plan?

“One fact that sets me apart from the other two candidates is that I have a plan. I have common sense legislation ready to be supported, introduced and passed. I know what I will do in my first 100 days. I'm prepared to hit the ground running. I know one thing that is certain, ‘If you don't have a plan to succeed you have a plan to fail,'” Baca said.

Nix said her track record sets her apart from the other candidates.

“Each of the Republican candidates, myself included, are all pro-life, we defend the Second Amendment and support President Trump. However, unlike my opponents, I have a proven record of electing Republicans across the state and supporting President Trump. While Vice Chairwomen of the N.C. GOP I traveled across the state ensuring we elected Republicans like Sen. Thom Tillis, (state Supreme Court) Justice (Paul) Newby and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. In 2016, I shared a stage with then-candidate Donald Trump at rallies in North Carolina. I was also the first elected delegate from North Carolina for President Trump,” Nix said.

But Smith said she has a home field advantage in the race.

“I am the only one running that actually lives in the 1st Congressional District. I live in the district and have business investments here, so I am directly impacted by what happens in our district,” Smith said.

James Henry Glisson is also listed on the ballot for the primary. However, he announced in January that he was withdrawing from the race.

© 2020 Cooke Communications LLC – The Daily Reflector

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