Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Democratic Insurgent Sam Searcy v. State Senator Tamara Barringer

Sam Searcy and his family
Last July, Holly Springs business entrepreneur Sam Searcy was hot into running to beat Republican Congressman George Holding in the 2nd Congressional District. By October Searcy had raised a half-million, more than Congressman Holding raised during the same period. But the Democratic field was becoming crowded, with other high profile candidates joining in the Democratic primary race to take on Holding, including high-tech entrepreneur Ken Romley and perennial candidate Linda Coleman, who has impressive name recognition. Searcy dropped out and announced a challenge for the NC Senate District 17 seat instead.

Cool move. If Searcy is able to move that half-mil from the federal race for the US House of Representatives to the state race for a Raleigh senate seat -- not particularly easy to do -- he'll be on a par with the Republican incumbent.

Incumbent Tamara Barringer was first elected to the chamber in 2012. She's a lawyer. She won her last reelection in 2016 with only 48.30% of the vote, against a Democrat who pulled 47.45%. The district looks ripe to flip to blue this year.

Searcy also has a law degree, but he's gotten people's attention through his entrepreneurial activities. In 2016 Searcy teamed up with some of his previous business partners and a new guy with an old-world recipe for long-grain rice distilled vodka, and they formed Graybeard Distillery in Durham, which now touts its success as "the largest grain-to-glass distillery in North Carolina."

Searcy's life story to get to that success was no bed of roses. “I’ve seen first-hand what happens when North Carolina families struggle to make ends meet,” said Searcy. “My family lost our home when I was in 7th Grade, and I began working to help support my family when I was fourteen. Too many families in North Carolina are facing the same challenges we did."

"Sam Searcy grew up in the small town of Hendersonville, NC. His mother was a teacher’s assistant in public schools and his dad worked in the factories. Sam became the first person in his family to graduate from a four-year college. With the help of student loans and on-campus jobs, he put himself through Appalachian State University. Sam worked a few different jobs until the Great Recession hit. He, like many North Carolinians, found himself laid off. He took a job at Lowe's garden center to support his family. Eventually, he helped start two local companies which continue to employ people right here in North Carolina."

One of his campaign issues that should resonate with struggling North Carolinians: "Having worked in the healthcare industry and helped build a successful medical services company, I believe we can and should do more to lower costs. But, Republicans in Raleigh have put the health of thousands of North Carolinians at risk by refusing to expand access to Medicaid. I will work to ensure that every person in North Carolina has access to quality, affordable healthcare."

District 17 is in southwest Wake County.

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