Primary 2024: Overwhelming leader in bid for U.S. House 14 seat

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(The Center Square) – Three Republicans and two Democrats are battling in respective primaries for the U.S. House 14 seat in North Carolina, headlined by record-setting House Speaker Tim Moore’s candidacy.

Moore is joined in the Republican primary by Shelby’s Jeff Gregory and Salisbury’s Lillian Joseph. In the Democratic primary, Morganton’s Pam Genant and Charlotte’s Brendan Maginnis are seeking to reach November.

There are few, if any, believers that it will be someone other than Moore taking a seat in Washington. Campaign finance records agree – there’s not a dollar elsewhere in the most recent filings.

The Cleveland County lawyer made his decision within hours of U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry’s decision to not seek reelection, though McHenry would be running in District 10. The domino effect sent candidate Pat Harrigan, who had announced for the 14th, to a run in the 10th.

Moore was first elected to the state House in November 2002 and, in 2024, will be wrapping up his fifth term as speaker. His path follows similar to his predecessor, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, who parlayed an eight-year run in the House – half of it as speaker – into a successful election win over the late Kay Hagan, then the Democratic incumbent senator, in the 2014 midterms.

Simply by virtue of experience in his positions, Moore has more record to run on – or, for the opponent, to run against – than all other candidates in both parties combined. During his time in Raleigh, the party gained majorities in the General Assembly at the 2010 midterms for the first time since Reconstruction 140 years earlier. The result more than a decade later is a pivot in the state’s fiscal strength, record migration from other states, and the state atop most lists for business friendliness and advantage.

Fifteen years ago, Democrats were in the last stages of a 12-year run of holding a trifecta on state government leadership when North Carolina encountered a $3.5 billion shortfall and grabbed state reserves in an emergency. Teachers’ pay was cut, and furloughs were given to state employees.

By the end of this fiscal year in June, the state’s rainy day fund is expected to grow to just under $5 billion. Teacher raises are a regular part of GOP budget proposals, though not as much as Democrats and teachers would like.

Moore is campaigning on “my record of passing the biggest tax cuts in North Carolina history, protecting parents’ rights over the woke indoctrination of our children, protecting the unborn, and making voter ID the law of the land here in North Carolina.” He also cites protection of women’s sports, “cracking down on sanctuary cities harboring illegal immigrants,” and the business climate.

Among the points made during his campaign, Gregory wants to close the border to migrants; is a constitutionalist; supporter of Second Amendment rights; and believes life begins at conception.

Gregory, a veteran, has held multiple positions to include space shuttle support team; federal accident investigator; employee of Piedmont Airlines; and a lab technician with a chemical company.

In her campaign message to voters, Joseph vows to fight for the voters and is intentional to avoid making promises. “I’m not going to promise you anything except that I will fight hard for you and your issues to the absolute best of my ability, and I pledge not to get ‘bought’ by the establishment,” said the small business owner.

Her main issues on her campaign website are to “secure our porous borders” and “reduce the national debt.” She also takes stands on drugs and human trafficking; life beginning at conception; Second Amendment rights; parents’ rights in their children’s classrooms; the decline in American education; and the threat of China. She backs “made in the USA.” Joseph wants to ban stock trading by members of Congress, is concerned about national and individuals’ security in relation to the internet, and pledges to prioritize “strengthening the American family.”

In the Democrats’ race, Genant offers a 16-point campaign platform. It includes agriculture, the budget, national defense, democracy, diplomacy, economy, education, energy, environment, health care, housing, immigration, infrastructure, justice, labor and seniors.

On immigration, a key topic in most polls statewide, she wants the “broken system” now in place reformed, providing a route to full citizenship for “dreamers” and controlling who comes across the borders. She wants the U.S. to be energy independent through renewables and to dominate in global renewable energy. The nurse and U.S. Army officer in Operation Desert Storm wants free two-year community college education, and to “subsidize college and university tuition for high demand fields.”

Maginnis also stumps on 16 areas, including the multiple reforms of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, criminal justice, gun safety and immigration. Also in the dozen-plus stumps are voting rights, justice, women’s rights, income inequality gap, “LGBTQ+ rights,” equity for small businesses, health care, education and child care, job creation, climate action and consumer protections.

Within those, Maginnis wants to phase out 401(k) tax provisions and implement Social Security Plus; and he wants to establish the American Profit Sharing Plan, paying a monthly amount to all Americans over age 18 while rolling back marginal tax brackets to pre-1980 levels. He seeks a 20-year term limit in both chambers combined for members of Congress.

Maginnis served in the Marines and is a small business owner.

According to Federal Election Commission filings for cash on hand beginning in January, Moore (more than $1.3 million) is the only one with any. Gregory, Genant and Maginnis are each listed at zero, and there’s no listing for Joseph.

This is a strongly Republican district, with most observers feeling it is as safe as all but one (District 8) other statewide. The location is mostly southern foothills, where the Piedmont meets the Mountains. Along the South Carolina border, it includes all of Rutherford, Cleveland and Gaston counties and a western and southern part of Mecklenburg, and a southeastern portion of Polk; and also, all of Burke County just north of Rutherford and Cleveland counties.

Registered Republicans can vote in the primary, and those unaffiliated can choose to vote in it.

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.

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