Sunday, February 04, 2018

New (And Old) Democratic Talent for 2018

Juicier and juicier. But nobody's kidding himself: it's going to take voter enthusiasm and lots of on-the-ground volunteer work.

Wesley Harris, running in the 103rd NC House District
House Dist. 103 is on the east side of Charlotte and takes in Mint Hill and a large part of Matthews. 
Wesley Harris
Republican incumbent: William "Bill" Brawley is a real estate broker. He was first elected to this seat in the Tea Party tide of 2010. In 2012 he ran unopposed in both the primary and in November. Ditto 2014. In 2016 he had a Democratic woman against him, and she made a respectable showing, getting almost 44% of the vote. In 2016 he refused to respond to a Charlotte Observer written candidate profile. He's a senior chair of the Finance Committee. In one of the special sessions of 2017, Brawley introduced HB 514 to allow the towns of Mint Hill and Matthews to apply for their own charter schools. The bill passed the House but died in the Senate. In 2007, before he joined the GA, he was managing properties in Charlotte including a hotel that he learned was one of the top three hotspots for organized crime. Men were buying women there for sex. When Brawley barged into the establishment, he learned that some of the women were "trafficked," were there against their will, and he arranged to have one woman rescued by a SWAT team. Commendably, Brawley introduced last year the "Human Trafficking: Resistance and Rescue Act" in the NC House, which didn't go anywhere yet.
Democrat Wesley Harris has a doctorate in economics from Clemson. He is a member of the Charlotte Economics Club, the Mecklenburg County Young Democrats, the Arts and Science Council Young Donors Society, and serves as an adjunct professor of economics at UNC Charlotte. Wesley and his twin sister, Meredith, have started a non-profit focused on helping small businesses and nonprofits raise capital. A political novice, no doubt, but 2018 is maybe the year for novices.
If you want to contribute to the Wesley Harris campaign,

Rhonda Schandevel, running in the 118th NC House District
House Dist. 118 is pure mountain real estate: from Burnsville south to Mars Hill, it skirts Asheville to the west and takes in Clyde and Maggie Valley.
Republican incumbent: Michele Presnell. Let her define herself: "She has been a self-employed business owner of Serendipity Custom Frames in Burnsville, N.C. for more than 30 years. She has experience in local government as a Yancey County Commissioner. Michele is a pro-life advocate, and a member of the West Burnsville Baptist Church. She is a conservative, life-long Republican serving Haywood, Madison and Yancey Counties. Michele is a lifetime member of the NRA and has her concealed carry." She is well coifed. She is an obedient soldier for the generals. She first won the seat in 2012 by beating Democrat Ray Rapp by a slim margin. In 2014 she also seemed shaky, beating her Democratic opponent by under 700 votes. In 2016, Democrat Rhonda Schandevel challenged her and lost by 11 points.
Democrat Rhonda Schandevel is back for a re-match. She was born and raised in Haywood County and has worked for a regional healthcare provider as a dental hygienist for over 30 years. She was previously elected to the local school board. "Duke Energy should clean up its own mess," she says in her first campaign video, and she ain't wrong!

If you want to contribute to Rhonda Schandevel,

Joe Sam Queen, running in the 119th NC House District
The 119th takes in a lot of mountain landscape and some lowlands -- from Waynesville, Cherokee, and Bryson City, down through Sylva and Cullowhee and south through Cashiers to the South Carolina border.
Incumbent Republican: Mike Clampitt is brand new in the House and is going into his first reelection campaign. He ran twice unsuccessfully for this seat against then incumbent, Democrat Joe Sam Queen, and finally beat Queen in 2016 by less than 300 votes. Clampitt otherwise has a thin resume. From Ballotpedia: Clampitt earned a degree in Fire Science and Technology from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in 1976. His professional experience includes being a retired Fire Captain for the Charlotte Fire Department and Asst. Sergeant at Arms for the North Carolina General Assembly. He's an unadulterated conservative and a flashy dresser. He's also become in recent months a Confederate flag-waver, and when a woman at a town hall in Haywood County called it racism, he reportedly got tears of frustration in his eyes that anyone would think him racist.
Joe Sam Queen

Democrat Joe Sam Queen. This re-match comes closest to a grudge contest of any race you see this year. Joe Sam Queen is an architect in Waynesville. Politically, he provides color and and he's got plenty of grit. His family speaks to his success:  "My wife, Dr. Kate Queen, is a rheumatologist for Haywood Regional Medical Center. My daughter Sara is an outstanding young architect and professor at NCSU, as well as a new mom to my first grandson Cole. My son Charlie, a chemist, is the Lab Director for Panacea, a North Carolina start up company in the field of personalized medicine. Both are graduates of the University of North Carolina system. As a united Methodist, I've taught Sunday school for over 20 years, led Boy Scouts, and coached youth soccer. And, like my granddaddy before me, I call the Appalachian Square Dance." He's served in both NC House and Senate. He won the 47th Senate District in 2002, lost it in 2004, and came back and won it again in 2006 and kept it through the election of 2010. That's grit. He was a vocal leader in the call to expand Medicaid in North Carolina and raise teacher pay. He is strongly against fracking in North Carolina and has made strong public remarks against it.
If you would like to contribute to Joe Sam Queen,

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