RALEIGH — Though they have been campaigning against each other for months, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis made their 2014 candidacies official this week, filing paperwork to be on the May primary ballots.
Tillis, of Cornelius, held off his filing for the U.S. Senate seat until Feb. 26, two days shy of the deadline. Incumbent Hagan filed Feb. 24. While the pair hopes to be the final contenders at the November election, they must first get through their respective party primaries.
“I’m honored by the support our campaign has received so far and I am excited by what is ahead,” Tillis said in a press release. “Citizens from across the state are lining up in support of our campaign because they understand my record of achieving conservative results and solving problems, which is in stark contrast with current events in Washington. I am eager to continue to discuss that contrast with voters over the next several months as we work to bring conservative leadership to the United States Senate.”
Joining Tillis for the Republican primaries are Mark Harris of Charlotte, William Theodore Alexander III of Shelby, Heather Anderson Grant of Wilkesboro, Gregory J. Brannon of Raleigh, Edward Thadde Kryn of Clayton and James “Jim” Eugene Snyder Jr. of Lexington. Hagan, Democrat, also has competition, facing William Curtis Stewart Jr. of Hampstead, who filed Feb. 24.
Tillis, who was partner of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, moved from Virginia to Cornelius in 1998 with his wife and two children. He started his political career on the Cornelius Parks and Recreation Board before being a town commissioner from 2003 to 2005. The following year, he joined the state legislature and in 2011 was voted Speaker of the House.
Tillis has been pushing for a ban on gay marriage, pro-life protection laws and required drug testing for welfare recipients, his campaign website states. Having served four terms on the state level, Tillis now hopes to move to the federal platform, where he wants to balance the budget, ensure conservative economic policies and repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
Though he filed using a Raleigh address, fellow contender Brannon recently opened a Cornelius campaign office. Brannon has been making headlines recently after a jury in the Wake County Superior Court found him guilty of misleading two investors in a failed startup company and ordered him to pay more than $250,000. He is quoted in The Raleigh News & Observer as saying he plans to appeal.
Brannon was a clinical professor at UNC/Wake Area Health Education Center before opening an OBGYN practice in Cary in 1993. Among his platforms are being against gay marriage and abortion. He also is against Common Core education curriculums, which was started in North Carolina. He hopes to stop federal involvement in education and reduce taxes to allow parents to use money for home-schooling or private or religious schools. He also plans to cut taxes, decrease spending and lift regulations on companies, his website states.
Other candidates to file this week include: Democrats Morris F. McAdoo, Matt Newton and Tyjuan Darrell Turner, all of Charlotte, for N.C. Senate District 40; Democrats Elaine Powell of Paw Creek and Kim Michel Ratliff of Charlotte for Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners at large; Republican Scott Carlisle of Charlotte for Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners at large; Republicans Martha Efird and Paulina Havelka for clerk of superior court; and Republican Chris Hailey of Huntersville for sheriff.
Filing continues until noon Feb. 28.
Tarte gets competition
N.C. Sen. Jeff Tarte of Cornelius won’t be running unopposed this November. Filing Feb. 25 for N.C. Senate District 41 was LaTrice McRae of Charlotte.
Tarte, former Cornelius mayor, said in his next term he hopes to improve property revaluations, handle healthcare changes and develop education and teacher compensation plans, among other initiatives.
McRae, running on the Democratic ballot, is a partner at the accounting firm Cason McRae Consultants and is the former finance assistant for Communities in Schools. Her goal for going to Raleigh is to focus on the middle class and offer more jobs and opportunities, she states in a campaign video. She also hopes to improve education.