LAURINBURG — The Scotland County Republican Party heard on Monday from a pair of candidates that its members may never have the chance to vote for as uncertainty lingers surrounding the state of North Carolina’s federal congressional districts.
Last week, the N.C. General Assembly redrew the state’s congressional districts to satisfy a ruling by a three-judge federal panel that deemed two of the existing districts to be illegal racial gerrymanders. The newly-drawn districts move Scotland County from the 8th congressional district eight to the 9th.
The new maps have been sent to the panel, which is expected to decide next month whether to accept or reject them.
In the meantime, two candidates to represent the 9th congressional district were in Scotland County on Monday to cover their bases.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte, a former state senator, has represented the 9th district since 2013.
“I want you to know, I want you to be encouraged that there are thoughtful people and strong believers, not just by word but by deeds and convictions, that support the values that you and I cherish, and they’re fully committed to preserving the values that are being encroached upon by an oppressive federal government whose intention is to control our lives,” he said.
Pittenger advocated relaxing the environment surrounding health care, finance, and small businesses, securing and defending the nation’s borders, and curbing the growth of domestic terrorism.
He also compared the nation’s economic recovery under Ronald Reagan favorably to more recent growth.
“Reagan understood the dynamics of America and that the reason why people came to America was opportunity and freedom, and what did he do? He cut the regulatory environment and he cut the tax burden, and the economy took off and we had unparalleled economic success in this country because he believed in the vitality of American individualism.”
Todd Johnson, of Johnson Insurance Management, said that he will announce his candidacy for the 9th congressional district this week. Johnson resigned his chairmanship of the 8th district on Monday as he does not live within its new borders.
Johnson labeled the conservatives currently serving in the U.S. House of Representatives as ineffective.
“I’m confused and frustrated because we’ve asked our Congress to do things conservatively, to make sure that they represent our values,” said Johnson. “Unfortunately the Congress we have right now, they have not defunded Obamacare, they have not defunded Planned Parenthood.”
A local candidate who will appear on the ballot in November’s general election also introduced himself to the group. Bill Parker of Gibson, a military veteran and retired educator, will run against incumbent Scotland County commissioner Bob Davis to represent the Williamson township.
“I retired in 1994 and I came back to Scotland County because when I left in 1964 it was a great place to live: basically Mayberry,” Parker said. “It’s not Mayberry now as we all know, but some of those great values can be reestablished.”
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.