Friday, March 01, 2019

Boss Hogg Will Have Competition in the NC-9 Republican Primary

We've already taken notice of "Boss Hogg" Stony Rushing, who's says he's running in the NC-9 congressional special election and who's been endorsed for the seat by Mark Harris, the man who ran last year and supposedly won but who may now be running from the Wake County District Attorney.

Boss Hogg will obviously provide the comedy for the special election. Who will supply the credibility?

Tommy Tucker
Maybe Wyatt Thomas "Tommy" Tucker Sr., a former state senator (first elected in the Tea Party Year of 2010 and who stepped down rather than run again last year). At his retirement he was co-chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. (Republican Todd Johnson -- who has also been implicated in the McCrae Dowless investigation -- won his open seat easily last November.)

Tucker is infamous for a 2013 confrontation with a newspaper publisher, at the time the Berger/Moore super-majorities in the General Assembly were really getting their conservative juggernaut underway and were feeling visibly arrogant about their power. In a committee hearing over a bill that would seriously hurt small-town newspapers, the publisher of the Goldsboro News-Argus challenged Tucker's interpretation of a voice vote in the committee. The publisher believed the vote had failed and wanted a show of hands. Tucker refused and declared, “I am the senator. You are the citizen. You need to be quiet.”

Apparently, Tucker had a habit of regularly shushing public opposition in similar fashion. His voting record is textbook conservative: He voted for repeal of the Racial Justice Act and even voted to ban the use of statistical evidence that would show racial bias in cases where the death penalty was chosen.

Tucker was a big opponent of same sex marriage, voting for the ban in the state constitution, and after the Supreme Court stepped in and declared such measures unconstitutional, he voted for SB 2 in February 2015, which would allow state officials to refuse to perform marriages on “religious grounds.” He supported HB 819, which banned climatologists and other scientists from monitoring sea level change along North Carolina’s coastline. Et cetera.

Ridenhour with his family
Or maybe Matthew Ridenhour, who was a Mecklenburg County commissioner until he was defeated last November in the complete Democratic sweep of all county commission seats. He was a North Carolina delegate for Marco Rubio to the 2016 Republican National Convention. Interesting, as was this: After his defeat last November, at his final meeting on the Mecklenburg Commission, Ridenhour decried the partisanship, especially from national politicians, that is “rotting us to our core." He seemed to be indirectly referencing Donald J. Trump.
Ridenhour is an urban Republican, a little more moderate, a little more house-broke than his rural rivals. You won't catch Ridenhour in a Boss Hogg outfit. Ridenhour, like Democratic front-runner Dan McCready, is a former Marine and had evidently earned the respect of both Democrats and Republicans while he was on the Mecklenburg Commission. According to Politico, he's considered "a rising star in the local GOP" (popular among the far right of his party especially because he pushed for concealed carry rights in Charlotte parks).
Ridenhour has not completely decided to run, but he says he could win if he did, especially with the Charlotte part of NC-9 behind him.

There will probably be other Republicans jumping into this primary, including some currently serving members of the General Assembly. The schedule for the special election, including the filing period for candidates, will be set by the State Board of Elections on Monday. Whoever decides to run, and whoever eventually wins that primary, will likely be facing this man who already has good name recognition and a big financial advantage.

Dan McCready

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