|Helen Probst Mills|
A lot has happened since then.
Helen Probst Mills is still the strong Democratic candidate, in a race no one thinks she can win. But that's the enduring narrative of 2018: impossible odds, overcome suddenly and without much warning.
Senate District 25 has been seriously redrawn in court-ordered redistricting, and the crowd that elected Tom McInnis in 2014 no longer exists. Less than half of the voters in the new District 25 have ever seen McInnis's name on their ballot before. Mainly because the new district now contains all of Moore County, by far the center of population for the district, and Moore County pulsates as a hotbed of rabidly conservative politics (home of the Daily Haymaker) -- Republican voters who'll throw out a Republican incumbent at the drop of a bumpersticker.
So naturally, Tom McInnis has a Republican primary opponent, the mayor of Whispering Pines, Michelle Lexo.
Michelle Lexo --
She pins herself with neon words. From her website: "Mother. Christian. Conservative." Those periods are assertive, let alone the words. Ready for a fight.
She's strongly endorsed by Brant Clifton's "common sense conservative" website, "The Daily Haymaker."
Lexo ... is regularly attacked by incumbent senator Tom McInnis and his supporters as a “lightweight.” Never mind her advanced training in the medical field and her career as a senior hospital executive. Never mind that her hometown has experienced some of its most dramatic growth on her watch as mayor. McInnis supporters have worked overtime to paint Lexo as mentally unstable and not very smart.Mentally unstable and not very smart?
Meanwhile, Lexo has compared and contrasted herself and McInnis on the issues: He supported the HB2 “repeal” / “compromise.” She didn’t like it. He supports the tier system in economic development. She does not. He supports government subsidies for solar and wind energy companies. She does not.Got it.
Incumbent Republican Tom McInnis --
According to VoteSmart.org, McInnis never took a college class, and his only education above the high school level was auctioneer school. He's got native smarts, especially for sharp dealing, and he knows how to go along for a ride and how to milk a moment. Curiously, he lists no religious nor denominational affiliation, which might be an opening for Mother. Christian. Conservative.
Clearly, Lexo is making insurgent gains against him, because the Republican establishment has rushed in mailers for McInnis -- both the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee and the NC Chamber of Commerce. Jonathan Kappler tweeted that McInnis was taking Lexo very seriously indeed: "I hear he's been in Moore county a lot and I saw lots of signs and billboards for him in the area."
|McInnis campaign photo|
So McInnis is going heavy on the crypto gun lover bit in his social media and posing as devoutly Christian in a kind of Trumpian way, tweeting out the text of John 3:16 on Easter Sunday.
If the Republicans of District 25 throw over McInnis for the mentally unstable and not very smart Michelle Lexo, then indeed the blue wave could crash there too.