For hardcore politicos, the ones especially with a disturbingly microscopic interest in North Carolina politics, Marshall Terry's interview with Bryan Anderson about the skill and practice of "opposition research" is a really informative read. It was done for WFAE, Charlotte's NPR radio station. Anderson previously wrote a piece for The Assembly, "Oppo Man," about Charles Hellwig, a self-described "right wing nut" who wants the most conservative person to win any race he signs on to help. Hellwig was the operative who exposed Cal Cunningham's sexual adventures before the 2020 election. He's very proud of it.
So WFAE interviewer Anderson got Hellwig to spill beans on who Hellwig is currently assisting, or planning to assist, through the 2024 elections:
*Erin Paré, Republican House member from Wake County (Dist. 37), the last surviving Republican to represent any Wake County district in either House or Senate. She beat Democrat Sydney Batch in 2020 and held on to the seat in 2022 by a healthy 3 points. According to press accounts, she was very active on shaping the new anti-abortion laws and was one of the "moderate" Republican women who kept the ban to 12 weeks rather than 6. She has just announced her candidacy for the U.S. Congress, for CD13, the seat currently occupied by Wiley Nickel. She came out of the gate sounding very much like the darling of a right-wing nut: "I won’t stand by while radical liberals ruin our economy, allow crime to run rampant on our streets, and indoctrinate our children. I have stood up to the woke mob here in NC and I’ll do the same in Washington! Join us - let's stop the radical Left!" So now Charles Hellwig will be digging into Wiley Nickel like a mealworm.
*Jon Hardister, who's giving up his House seat (Dist. 59) (and a powerful role as chief Republican whip) to run in 2024 for labor commissioner. He's considered a dishonest snake for being the prime operative in the budget veto override ambush pulled off by Speaker Tim Moore early on the morning of September 11, 2019. The Democrat so far in the race for Labor Commissioner: Braxton Winston II, a Charlotte city councilman. He'll no doubt present a colorful target for Hellwig's oppo research.
*Fred Von Canon, a veteran also-ran who's now signing on for a Congressional race in CD1. He ran twice unsuccessfully against Terence Everitt for the District 35 House seat. Before Von Canon can face incumbent Democrat Donald Davis in November, he must get through a possibly nasty primary with Sandy Smith, a Republican businesswoman from eastern North Carolina. She's the MAGA flamethrower who has lost a CD1 race twice in 2020 and 2022. You might expect a man like Hellwig to gravitate to the much more conservative Smith, but the other part of his druthers in a Republican candidate -- the most conservative -- is the kicker, "who can conceiveably win." Hellwig apparently doesn't think Sandy Smith can beat Don Davis.