Thursday, September 08, 2022

Budd v. Brawley in HD103

Carolina Forward has published the most useful "State of the Race for the North Carolina Legislature." In it, they draw my attention back to House District 103. It's a must-win for the Republicans if the Republicans have any assurance of getting back to their super-majority (when they can run rough-shod over Gov. Cooper). I wrote about the Democratic primary in HD103 back in April -- which first-time candidate Laura Budd went on to win. But I never looked at the Republican. And if this district is as crucial as Carolina Forward says it is, then I need to catch up.

NC House District 103 in Mecklenburg County (Matthews and Mint Hill) was won in the 2018 Blue Wave by former Gov. Jim Hunt's daughter Rachel, and she won reelection there in 2020. This year she's leaving the seat to run for the NC Senate in an overlapping district. The House district has also been redrawn, and Dave's Redistricting rates it 49.9% Democratic v. 47.6% Republican. The Republican in the race, Bill Brawley, was the former incumbent whom Rachel Hunt beat in 2018 (and again in 2020). He's determined to get back to Raleigh this year and thinks a Red Wave will get him there.

Laura Budd (D)

Laura Budd (in red), with her family

She's a lawyer who was recruited by Rachel Hunt. She holds her law degree from Wake Forest School of Law and is the managing partner at Weaver Budd law firm, specializing in business litigation and contract law. She said before the primary that she hopes to attract moderate voters.

From her announcement: "In addition to practicing law, Budd has an extensive history of community involvement. She currently serves as the President of Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association, Vice-President of the Piedmont Gymnastics Club, and [is] involved with the Matthews Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scout Troop 39 as well as the North Carolina and Mecklenburg County Bar Associations."

She's been endorsed by Lillian's List and targeted for contributions. She has minimal presence on social media, and her website has no calendar and no sense of forward movement, but all of that can be unrevealing, if not downright deceptive. I don't know what kind of campaign she's running. I hope it's boots-on-the-ground.

Bill Brawley (R)

By unfortunate contrast, the Republican campaign of Bill Brawley looks lit up on Facebook, but not on Twitter.

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. In 2018, Rachel Hunt took the seat from him. He tried to take it back in 2020, and he's even more determined in 2022.

In the House, he was 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, in 2017 Brawley introduced the "Human Trafficking: Resistance and Rescue Act," which didn't go anywhere (but which he's using as a torch on his website).

His website, incidentally, seems un-updated since he ran against Rachel Hunt, but it contains nary a word about Trump nor about abortion nor any of the other regular conservative wedge issues. It's all about taxes and school choice (and of course human trafficking). He's a moderate (though he looks like a stereotypical banker who'd throw a widow out on the street). That must explain why Laura Budd said she wanted to appeal to moderates.

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