The only question in the Republican presidential primary is how many votes President Donald J. Trump will receive. It will probably be in the 90 percent range or above.
Joe Walsh has officially dropped out, but his name is still on the ballot, which means you can vote for him.
Bill Weld is the only other candidate officially still in the race, but it really isn’t a race. Trump has high popularity ratings with all Republicans and is even more popular with the Republican base, which tend to vote in Republican primaries.
Mark Sanford announced he was running against Trump and nobody showed up for the announcement, which was not a good sign and he dropped out in November, so his name is not on the ballot. But if you are a big Sanford fan you could vote “no preference.”
Sen. Thom Tillis is not going to win his race by as much as Trump but he should not have any trouble winning. When the 6th Congressional District was redrawn, making it nearly impossible for a Republican to win, there was talk that 6th District Congressman Mark Walker would take on Tillis and that would have been an interesting race. Walker decided not to run for anything in 2020 and Tillis has some challengers, but not of them have raised the money to run a statewide race.
Larry Holmquist is from Greensboro and ran against Sen. Richard Burr two years ago and received 4.9 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.
Paul Wright has run for governor, the US House in District 4 and twice in District 12 and the US Senate.
Sharon Hudson ran for the NC House in 2014 and received 14 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. She is opposed to the toll lanes on I-77, which she says Tillis pushed through the state House.
US House of Representatives District 6
Congressman Mark Walker decided not to run for a fourth term because he didn’t think a Republican could win this race. If a Republican three-term incumbent can’t win the race, the two Republicans in the primary really don’t have much chance in November.
Lee Haywood from Summerfield has been very active in the Republican Party and before he filed was chair of the 6th District Republican Party and is the better choice in this race.
Laura Pichardo doesn’t live in the 6th District. She’s a resident of Pelham in Caswell County, but congressional candidates don’t have to live in their districts; the only requirement is that they live in the same state, so she is qualified to run.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest has won two statewide races for lieutenant governor. He is a strong conservative who has been outspoken on the issues.
Holly Grange has a great slogan, “Duty-Honor-Carolina,” but Forrest has a better chance of winning in November against the incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Forrest has been traveling the state for eight years as lieutenant governor, has a good organization and can raise the money necessary to take on and defeat a sitting governor.
As lieutenant governor, Forrest has been president of the state Senate for eight years, so he has far more experience working with the legislature than the past two governors. Considering what a mess Raleigh is right now, with Cooper refusing to negotiate a budget with the Republican legislature, it would be great to get someone in the governor’s mansion who knows how to work with the legislature.
NC Lieutenant Governor
In the Republican lieutenant governor’s race, nine Republicans are vying for the seat, which almost certainly means there will be a runoff.
There are a number of good candidates, but I think Republicans would be wise to send Mark Robinson to the general election. Robinson is from Greensboro and one of the best political speakers in the state. He gained international fame when a three-minute speech he made to the Greensboro City Council on gun control went viral. Robinson said he came to the meeting to listen, not planning to speak.
Robinson is a strong conservative and is the only black candidate in the Republican primary race.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson won a statewide race against a Democratic incumbent in 2016, which makes him a formidable candidate. He has taken on the education establishment as state superintendent and no doubt would do the same as lieutenant governor.
State Sen. Andy Wells from Hickory, is in his third term in the state Senate and served one term in the state House. He is running ads advocating against sanctuary sheriffs and touts the economic success of the state due to the Republican tax cuts.
Scott Stone served in the NC House from 2016 to 2018. In 2015 he ran for mayor of Charlotte. He also touts the Republican economic plan for the state and emphasizes his successful business career and the ability to raise money for a statewide campaign.
Buddy Bengal is a former minor league baseball player who now owns a minor league team. He’s also a good speaker but it’s a difficult race to get much traction.
Also running are Greg Gebhardt, former Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, Deborah Cochran and John Ritter.
NC Attorney General
Three Republicans are vying for the chance to run against Democratic NC Attorney General Josh Stein in November. Stein beat Republican Buck Newton in 2016 by 0.6 percent of the vote. So, in 2016, nearly half the voters in the state thought it was time to have a Republican attorney general.
Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill, Executive Director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence Christine Mumma and Sam Hayes in private practice are all running for the nomination.
O’Neill has been the district attorney for Forsyth County since 2009, ran for attorney general in 2016 and lost in the Republican primary.
O’Neill ran a good race in 2016 and appears to have the resources to run a successful statewide campaign in November.
He says he wants to make the attorney general’s office less political and concentrate on the legal, not the political, issues and notes that he is the only one in the race who has actually prosecuted cases.
Mumma has to be considered an outsider’s outsider. Her organization takes on cases where they believe people have been convicted of crimes they didn’t commit and proves their innocence. She is a strong conservative and says she wants to go in and shake up the attorney general’s office to get it back to doing what it should be doing.
Hayes worked as general counsel for the NC treasurer’s office and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources when Pat McCrory was governor. He touts his experience as having worked for a state agency.
O’Neill and Mumma are far ahead in the free publicity category, each accusing the other of misleading ads.
Mumma would certainly bring changes to the attorney general’s office. She would also be the first female attorney general.
O’Neill is a prosecutor who has run the district attorney’s office in Winston-Salem for over 20 years.
In this case, when choosing the chief law enforcement officer for the state, it seems to make sense to pick someone with experience in law enforcement, which is O’Neill.
Two Republicans are running for state auditor and the one with the more difficult name to spell, Tim Hoegemeyer, is by far the better choice
Hoegemeyer worked in the state auditors office for 12 years under two state auditors and was the head of the Fraud, Waste and Abuse Investigative Division.
He is an attorney and has a master’s in public administration.
His opponent, Anthony Street, is on the Soil and Water Board of Brunswick County and is a small farmer.
NC Insurance Commissioner
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey won the job in 2016 on his fifth attempt and set about bringing some reform to the office.
The NC insurance commissioner is usually an office that is not seen or heard, but Causey has been involved in two high profile cases. He worked with the FBI to get Greg Lindberg indicted when Lindberg allegedly attempted to bribe Causey. He also went public with the driving while impaired (DWI) and child abuse charges against the president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield, Patrick Conway, something that mammoth insurance company was trying to keep under wraps. Conway was forced to resign when his actions became public.
Causey is doing a good job and deserves a second term.
His opponent, Ronald Pierce, has a long time grudge against former Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who had 108 charges of fraud filed against Pierce. The charges against Pierce, a Charlotte contractor, were dismissed, but Pierce hasn’t forgotten them.
NC Commission of Labor
One of the most recognizable names and faces in North Carolina, Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, is retiring. If you don’t recognize the name, you haven’t been alone in many elevators lately. Berry’s name and photo are in every elevator in the state.
Three Republicans are running to replace Berry, who has held the office for 20 years. Berry has endorsed former state representative and current member of the UNC Board of Governors Pearl Burris Floyd.
Those who worked with her in the legislature have high praise for Burris Floyd who says that Berry is her political mentor.
State Rep. Josh Dobson from McDowell County is chairman of the House Health and Appropriations Committee and has endorsements from Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler and Congressman Mark Meadows.
Chuck Stanley, who manages a construction company in Columbus County, doesn’t appear to be running a viable statewide campaign.
Both Dobson and Burris Floyd seem to be good candidates, but the endorsement goes to Burris Floyd.
NC Secretary of State
Whoever wins the Republican primary has to go up against Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who has been in the job since she defeated NASCAR legend Richard Petty in 1996.
Michael LaPaglia ran against Marshall in 2016 and lost with a respectable 48 percent of the vote, and he wants a second chance. One of his big issues in 2016 was the accusation that Marshall allowed illegal immigrants to become notary publics. Marshall claims a Supreme Court decision doesn’t allow citizenship as a qualification.
E.C. Sykes is running a whale of a campaign for an office that most people don’t realize exists. Through Dec. 31, he had raised over $200,000, which is a tough chore when there is so much competition for campaign money. During the same period, LaPaglia had raised a little over $7,000.
Sykes has also lined up impressive endorsements, including the Family Research Council, Dr. James Dobson, Sen. Ted Cruz and Greensboro’s own Clarence Henderson.
Chad Brown, a Gaston County commissioner and former minor league baseball player, is running an interesting campaign but he also hasn’t raised the money for a competitive statewide race.
To win against Marshall is going to take money and statewide appeal. It appears that Sykes has the best chance.
NC Superintendent of Public Instruction
Two Republicans are vying for the seat left open when Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson decided to run for lieutenant governor instead of running for reelection.
Johnson has proven how tough it is for a Republican to work with the state education bureaucracy, and State Sen. Horn has a reputation for being tough. He is also serving as chairman of five different education committees in the state legislature, so he knows the state public education system.
Catherine Truitt was a teacher and served as a senior advisor on education for Gov. Pat McCrory. So she also knows education and has some experience in state government.
In this case, Horn has more experience in state government and knows how the battles in Raleigh are fought. Horn is the better choice.
NC House District 59
NC House of Representatives District 59 has Allen Chappell challenging incumbent District 59 Rep. Jon Hardister, who is running for his fifth term.
Hardister is serving his fourth term in the House and is currently the majority whip, which is the number three leadership position. Two years ago, he was redistricted out of his district and moved to Whitsett so he could run. He’s worked hard for Guilford County and has been conscientious about getting out in the community and listening to constituents.
Chappell, from Liberty, doesn’t appear to have any big issues with the way Hardister has represented the district. According to a campaign website, Chappell’s biggest issues are providing better internet connectivity for rural areas, better highway maintenance and better fire, rescue and police response.
Hardister continues to do a good job and deserves another term.
NC House District 60
Two Republicans are running for the NC House of Representatives District 60 seat, which is currently held by Rep. Cecil Brockman. House District 60 leans far left, which will make it extremely difficult for either Frank Ragsdale or Ryan Blankenship to win, and is perhaps why they both disagree with the Republican Party on major issues.
Both are in favor of higher teacher pay increases than those passed with bipartisan support in the legislature, and Blankenship is in favor of raising taxes to pay for those raises.
Ragsdale sides with Gov. Roy Cooper and against the Republican legislature on the issue of Medicaid expansion.
Ragsdale gets the nod in this one because he seems slightly more conservative, or at least he isn’t in favor of raising taxes.
Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 5
Two candidates are running for the District 5 seat on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, which is open because Guilford County Commissioner and current Chairman Jeff Phillips is not running for reelection.
Phillips has endorsed his employee Cyndy Hayworth to replace him. Hayworth ran for the Greensboro City Council in 2007 and 2011. She has served on a number of appointed boards for Greensboro and Guilford County.
In 2015, she served as director of operations and interim chief executive officer of Downtown Greensboro Inc., at a time when DGI was awash in controversy and the City Council was threatening to withdraw some of its funding.
Before that, Hayworth was the executive director of Junior Achievement and worked for Mike Weaver.
Troy Lawson has been endorsed by 6th District Congressman Mark Walker and was the chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party from 2017 to 2019, serving as its first African-American chair. In 2018, at the urging of the North Carolina Republican Party, Lawson ran unsuccessfully for the NC state House District 57 seat while still serving as chairman.
Lawson has a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and an MBA from Strayer University. He has worked in higher education and nonprofit management.
Lawson is a lifelong Republican and much of his volunteer work in Guilford County has been for the Republican Party.
Lawson is a strong conservative who has worked hard to help get conservative candidates like Walker, Lt. Gov. Dan Forrest and President Donald Trump elected.
In this case, particularly considering all the pressure the commissioners are under to raise property taxes, I think it’s more important than ever to elect strong conservatives, which makes Lawson the better choice.
Guilford County Board of Commissioners District 6
District 6 County Commissioner Hank Henning is not running for reelection, which leaves the seat open and two former High Point city councilmembers are running in the Republican primary.
Jim Davis served on the High Point City Council from 2012 to 2017 and served as mayor after Bernita Sims resigned. He ran for mayor in 2017 and was eliminated in the primary.
Jason Ewing served on the High Point City Council from 2012 to 2019, when he lost his bid for reelection by six votes. Both candidates tout their efforts for economic development. Ewing is on the board of directors for the High Point Economic Development Corp.
Davis notes that he was mayor when High Point joined with Greensboro and Guilford County to form the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance.
Both men express concerns about paying for a school bond with an increase in property taxes.
It’s hard to find much difference on the issues. In this case, Ewing gets the endorsement because his involvement in economic development is current and he appears to have more support in Greensboro.