(The Center Square) – The formality of getting the votes in November will remain, but there’s no opposition awaiting North Carolina’s Republican candidates trying to land a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 6th Congressional District.
For Bo Hines, Mark Walker, Christian Castelli, Dr. Mary Ann Contogiannis, Jay Wagner and Addison McDowell, the GOP primary on Super Tuesday is for all the marbles.
It’s a unique group, three of which have election endorsements from former President Donald Trump – just not all in this election. That would be McDowell, previously a liaison for U.S. Sen. Ted Budd, who backs him. Budd and Trump endorse each other when they run.
Hines, a football player at N.C. State and Yale, earned degrees from Yale and Wake Forest. He was backed by Trump when he lost to U.S. Rep. Wiley Nickel in the U.S. House 13 race in the 2022 midterms. That was after saying in 2021 that he would challenge U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx in the 5th Congressional District.
Walker, a congressman from 2015 to 2020, was running for governor this election cycle until Oct. 25. He dropped out having gained little traction among rivals and found a comfort zone with the redistricting maps.
Walker in 2020 left the U.S. House planning to go after a U.S. Senate seat in 2022, only to see Trump surprisingly endorse Budd and tell Walker he’d back him for a U.S. House seat that cycle. Walker declined. Still, there’s a picture of Trump with Walker on the homepage of his campaign website, though he rightly doesn’t list him as having endorsed him this cycle.
Central to each campaign is border security and immigration. All the rest are various GOP favorites with no surprises, just some more front and center than others.
Hines’ priorities, according to his campaign website, are immigration reform, free speech, the economy, infrastructure, the Second Amendment and election integrity.
Walker says he’ll work to cut “wasteful spending” and seek to balance the budget. He wants to build what he refers to as “Trump’s border wall,” end America’s immigration troubles, and provide tools and resources for law enforcement. He touts his voting record against abortion and record helping veterans while previously serving in Congress.
Castelli’s campaign lists his focal points as the economy, border security, foreign policy, energy independence, education, public safety and civil liberties.
Contogiannis checks boxes on a baker’s dozen of issues: border security, inflation, national security, fentanyl crisis, federal spending, law enforcement, jobs, lower taxes, parental rights, for school choice, against abortion, protection of the Second Amendment, and fixing the health care system.
Wagner’s priorities include election integrity, the Second Amendment, border security, protecting free speech, is against abortion, wants to protect children from “warped teaching about sex, boys in girls’ sports and pushing an extreme leftist agenda through curriculum,” and national security.
McDowell campaigns on an “America First Agenda” and border security. He wants to protect jobs and defend Second Amendment rights. He leads off a video talking about his brother and the fentanyl involved in his death as the reason why he’s passionate about stopping the migrant crisis.
Cash balances on hand at the beginning of January, according to Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports, were led by Castelli (more than $656,000). Next was Walker (more than $375,000), Contogiannis (more than $116,00), McDowell (more than $101,000), Hines (nearly $98,000) and Wagner (nearly $75,000).
The district is in an area south of Winston-Salem and north of Charlotte. It includes all of Rowan, Davie and Davidson counties, with small parts of Cabarrus, Forsyth and Guilford. It is a strong Republican territory, and a Democrat would have been a decided underdog if choosing to run.
The mail-in absentee ballot process began Jan. 19, in-person early voting starts Thursday and Primary Election Day is March 5. North Carolina is one of 14 states with both Democrat and Republican primaries on Super Tuesday.