Up until Thursday, Dec. 12, only Democrats had filed to run in the North Carolina 6th District congressional race.

But by Thursday afternoon, the race had livened up with three Democrats in the race and two Republicans filing almost at the same time in Raleigh.

One of those Republicans is Lee Haywood, who is currently chairman of the NC Republican Party 6th Congressional District and lives in Summerfield.

Haywood has been active in the Republican Party and worked on political campaigns. When asked what made him take the leap from campaign worker to candidate, Haywood said, “I’m not going to sit by and let Kathy Manning or any other Democrat take the seat uncontested. I think it’s important for the voters, conservative voters, to have a choice.”

Haywood said he saw having a primary as an opportunity. He said, “I’m looking forward to the primary, it will help me prepare for the general election and by then I’ll be ready to take on the more experienced Democratic candidates.”

Haywood held a short rally for his supporters at the Old Guilford County Court House Wednesday, Dec. 12, after he returned from filing in Raleigh, and the group posed on the courthouse steps with an American flag for a photo. Haywood told the group, “There is a path to victory for a Republican in this district. It’s a narrow path, but we are going to take it.”

The other Republican who filed Wednesday is Laura Pichardo from Pelham in Caswell County, which is not in the 6th Congressional District. A member of Congress does not have to live in the district, but it greatly reduces the odds of winning.

The redrawn 6th Congressional District includes all of Guilford County and most of Winston-Salem in Forsyth County. The 6th District is currently represented by Republican Congressman Mark Walker who is in his third term. Walker has not formerly announced what his intentions are in this election, but the way the 6th District is currently configured it will be extremely difficult for a Republican to win. Walker has said that he planned to keep all his options open, which includes running for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis.

The Democrats who have filed are former Guilford County Commissioner Bruce Davis; Kathy Manning, who ran a well funded campaign for the NC 13th Congressional District in 2018; and Derwin Montgomery from Winston Salem.

Because the current 6th District leans heavily Democratic, it could attract a few more Democratic candidates. However, because of Manning’s fundraising ability and recent campaign experience, she is considered by most to be the front-runner.