RALEIGH — Republican candidates vying in the state’s 13th congressional district race squared off at a forum held in a suburb of Raleigh on April 25.
The eight Republicans vying for the seat are Devan Barbour, Kelly Daughtry, Renee Ellmers, Bo Hines, Kent Keirsey, Jessica Morel, Chad Slotta and Kevin Wolff.
The eight candidates vying for the seat were invited to a forum hosted by the Western Wake Republican Club, but only four confirmed their attendance and actually introduced themselves. Barbour, Ellmers, Slotta and Wolff.
While Daughtry, Hines, Keirsey and Morel failed to show up, Daughtry sent a representative who made a brief statement on his behalf.
“I’m the grassroots,” Barbour said in his opening remarks before listing his involvement in various aspects of the NC Republican Party. “I have been involved in North Carolina Republican politics and campaigns for 20 years.”
Slotta began by recounting that her daughter was the only student to defend the Pledge of Allegiance and said, “I am running for Congress to support her and defend the future of my children and the future of every American in what I feel. a battle for the soul of our country.
Former US Representative Renee Ellmers highlighted her six years on Capitol Hill (2011-2017) in her opening speech and that she was “the first woman in Congress to endorse Donald Trump when he ran for office. the Presidency”.
“I’ve been a Republican all my life — a Reagan Republican from the start when I started voting,” Wolff said. “And I will never forget this man and I swear to uphold his principles.” Wolff noted that he was the first to attend college in his family and holds three degrees; electrical engineering, an MBA in finance and a law degree.
Former state legislator Tom Murry moderated the event, asking questions on topics including immigration, border security, the economy, education, voter ID and the second amendment.
There was little gap in positions on the major topics discussed between the candidates, with all four candidates present strongly supporting Second Amendment protections, better border security policies and resuming construction of a wall at the southern border.
In one way or another, all four supported the need for a voter ID card, but opinions differed on the federalization of the subject. Both Ellmers and Wolff hit the courts for interfering with the voter identification amendment added to the North Carolina constitution by state voters.
Murray asked Ellmers a specific question about how she would do to ensure that families are not separated from patients and the elderly from their families as has been seen during the pandemic.
“We absolutely need a policy, whether it’s COVID or long-term care for our elderly,” Ellmers said, adding that she’s heard heartbreaking stories of people dying alone. She went on to say that we need policies that allow families “to sit by the bedside and be with these people.”
On education, Slotta and Barbour spoke out in favor of parental rights and against inserting questionable ideological topics into K-12 subjects.
“Let me tell you something, you can teach my freshman about gender fluidity as soon as I can teach your freshman about Jesus,” Barbour said of a question that came to him. was posed by the Washington Post on the role of the federal government in education. “Until we have a level playing field, we have nothing to discuss.”
Slotta, who has repeatedly spoken out about indoctrination issues and inappropriate books before the Wake County School Board, lashed out at progressives.
“Here is what we see in the progressive left today. We see people who think they know better than us how to spend our money, better than us how to educate and raise our children, better than us what we put in and on our bodies,” Slotta said. “And I, like you, have had enough.”
In his opening and closing statements, Barbour thanked the audience for being there and in his conclusion he fired at the absent contestants.
“I appreciate you showing up and I hope you appreciate us showing up,” Barbour said, pointing to the other contestants.
In terms of fundraising, Daughtry and Democrat Wiley Nickel are the only two to cross the $1 million mark. Republicans Hines, Keirsey and Slotta all trailed with six-figure receipts and cash on hand – although most of their funding came from themselves.
Democratic candidates in the race include Nickel, Jamie Campbell Bowles, Nathan Click, Denton Lee and former state senator Sam Searcy, who resigned his seat just over a month after the 2020 election. Searcy has endorsed former State Rep. Sydney Batch as a replacement and she resumed her seat after her loss to Republican Erin Paré.
Daughtry leads all applicants in fundraising so far with over $2.4 million and cash in hand of over $1.163 million as of March 31, 2022. However, most of these funds are self-funded. , as she made loans to her campaign last December totaling almost $2.2 million.
Nickel has raised over $1.37 million and has just over $1 million in the same filing period. Filings show that $900,000 of the total collected by Nickel is a campaign loan.
Part of Hines’ nearly $1 million total includes a loan of over $525,000 by the contestant and similarly, Keirsey loaned out $200,000 and Slotta loaned out $335,000.
Barbour has not invested any personal money in the campaign as of March 31, but has raised nearly $250,000 from individuals.
Ellmers’ latest filing puts her near last in fundraising with about $20,000 in receipts, just $14,732 in cash and an unpaid debt/loan to her campaign committee of $2,500.
The newly redesigned 13th District, now considered the most competitive in the state, covers all of Johnston County, parts of Harnett and Wayne counties, as well as the southern part of Wake County.
According to the oft-cited opinion poll analysis group FiveThirtyEight, the redistricting changes moved the district from a +38 Republican bias to a +3 bias. The conservative Civitas Institute Supporter Index has the district at a measly +1 Democrat.