Sunday, February 11, 2024

A Mean Little Republican Primary -- Echevarria vs. Crutchfield (HD 82)


I paid attention when politics reporter Colin Campbell singled out the Republican primary in HD 82 (Cabarrus and Rowan) as "the most competitive" Republican primary for a General Assembly seat this year, because a fast-talking insurgent named Brian Echevarria is trying to unseat a new Republican member in his first term, Kevin Crutchfield, who's endorsed by Tim Moore and supported by the Republican establishment. I perked up because I remember Brian Echevarria from 2022, when Democrat Diamond Staton Williams beat him for the HD 73 seat. He's something of a phenomenon. I called him a rising star in 2022. He's compelling. And this video is what he's famous for. These three minutes are the reason Brian Echevarria may scare the hell out of incumbent Kevin Crutchfield.

So Crutchfield, or Atlas Political Consulting, released a 30-sec spot via Twitter back on Jan. 24th. It's been largely sub-rosa since then, with fewer than 9,000 views. It sensationalizes Echevarria by snipping footage from Facebook posts (I guess) of Echevarria relaxing, dancing, partying, cut together to paint Echevarria as a Cubano party boy. You have to click the link to see it. Releasing such a bare-fisted attack, on behalf of a well respected businessman and member of a church, demonstrates a kind of incipient race panic, doesn't it? 

The video of Echevarria cowing the Cabarrus County School Board in February 2022, showed a flair for communication. Echevarria had many in the audience nodding their heads, laughing at his fluency, and applauding him. (The video, which went viral and got a write-up in the New York Post, can still be seen on his website.)  Echevarria doesn't seem to have a campaign Twitter account (none is linked to on his website), but he does post to one wholly separate from his campaign (@BrianEchNC), where he is not above complaining about the Republican establishment in Cabarrus.

There was something of a cyber-scandal back in 2022 involving Echevarria's scrubbing a Facebook page, Spank That Tail, that advocated, sometimes quite humorously, for more corporal punishment for children. That became something of an embarrassment and Echevarria disappeared it. That corporal punishment bent in Echevarria may be a bell wether for other rigidities, like his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage.

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