The Guilford County Republican Party has made a decision as to who it wants to fill the remaining term of NC  Representative Jon Hardister, who announced recently that he was stepping down from his NC House District 59 seat. And the winner is, to little surprise of anyone, highly conservative former Guilford County Commissioner Alan Branson.

Aside from his conservative credentials, there was another reason Branson was an obvious choice to fill the vacant slot left by Hardister: Branson is the Republican nominee for the District 59 seat in the 2024 general election being held in November.

Branson won the March 5 Republican primary for that seat, and now, this appointment by the party will give him a chance to get some on-the-job training that can be put to use should he go on to win the seat in November.

In late March, Hardister surprised many Republicans and Democrats alike when he turned in his resignation to the clerk of the NC House. He was first elected to Guilford County’s NC House District 59 seat in 2012 and he always seemed to enjoy serving in that position.

State statute allowed the local Republican party to fill the vacancy.

Now, Branson will be sworn in to the NC General Assembly on Wednesday, April 24.

In Republican politics, Branson is a very well-known quantity thanks to his eight-year stint on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.  During his years on the board, he was a champion of gun rights, a strong advocate against property tax hikes – and he was often a thorn in the side of liberal long-time Democrat, Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston, who’s currently the chairman of that board.

During Branson’s tenure on the Board of Commissioners, he frequently challenged Guilford County’s intense focus on bending over backward – often at great taxpayer expense – to beef up the county’s programs meant to engage in contracts with MWBE businesses – Women- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprises.

Branson often argued that, if a company needed a great deal of help locating highly advertised projects and then needed “hand-holding” to fill out the applications and go through the vetting process, then maybe that’s not the company you want handling your multi-million-dollar project.

District 59 covers a large portion of northern, eastern and southern Guilford County.

The 59th District Executive Committee members met on Monday evening, April 8 and elected Branson by acclamation.

The county’s Republican Party also put out a statement that night noting that party leaders “would like to thank Jon Hardister for his nearly six terms in office, diligently representing the people of District 59.”

It added, “We wish him only the best in his future endeavors.