RALEIGH – After redistricting (and lawsuit, after lawsuit) many districts across the state saw a shift in voter makeup that could change the reelection dynamics for a good many incumbents in the North Carolina House and Senate. A handful of conservative incumbents curiously got stuck with less favorable conditions, leading conservative leaders like Rep. Chris Millis (R-Pender) and Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort) to forego reelection campaigns.
However, at least one redrawn district seems to have things leaning in a more conservative direction, and threatening a less-than-conservative incumbent Republican as a result.
Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Rockingham) is getting all he can handle from Whispering Pines Mayor Michelle Lexo.
Whispering Pines is in Moore County, a rather conservative county that previously was not included in District 25. Therefore, McInnis is not known in Moore County and his record is being scrutinized for some well deserved reasons.
Recent campaign mailers have been hitting mailboxes in the district point out that McInnis is hardly a conservative when it comes to illegal immigration issues.
So what’s this all about? Well, in 2015 a the Protect North Carolina Workers Act (HB318) came to the floor of the senate with broad Republican support. In short the bill was:
AN ACT TO REQUIRE E-VERIFY COMPLIANCE IN CERTAIN GOVERNMENTAL CONTRACTS, TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN CONSULATE OR EMBASSY DOCUMENTS MAY NOT BE USED TO DETERMINE A PERSON’S IDENTIFICATION OR RESIDENCE FOR GOVERNMENTAL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PURPOSES, TO PROHIBIT ADOPTION OF SANCTUARY CITY ORDINANCES, AND TO PROHIBIT THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FROM SEEKING CERTAIN WAIVERS.
Every self-respecting Republican should have supported legislation that sought to ward off sanctuary city policies that disrespect the rule of law and arguably endanger communities that suffer under them.
But three Republican senators voted against this slam dunk on illegal immigration, and McInnis was one of them.
That’s going to be hard to justify to constituent voters, especially with Moore county as the biggest county in the district where Lexo is locally popular, and has demonstrated strong conservative leadership in her local government roles.
That’s not stopping the leadership in the N.C. Senate from going to bat for McInnis, though. Reports of mailboxes full of pro-McInnis campaign materials sponsored by the NC Republican Senate Caucus have been coming in, and many in Moore County are not too pleased with the leadership picking sides in this Republican primary.
Of course, the established political leaders fight to protect their incumbents, but such meddling in primaries to the point of endorsing one Republican over another is a taboo that ruffles the feathers of grassroots voters.
Moore County voters are no different, and the Moore Republican Women president didn’t mince words with letting leadership in the senate know it, publishing this in their May newsletter:
“Moore Republican Women is very unhappy with the intrusion of the North Carolina Senatorial Committee in our redistricted North Carolina 25 election. We have two members (Tom McInnis and Michelle Lexo) running against each other. The use of the frank (reduced cost mailing) of the North Carolina Senatorial Committee is a de facto endorsement of one candidate over another.
We, as a unified club, resent this meddling into our decision making. It is an infringement on our rights as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” By use of the frank, an unfair financial and psychological advantage is given to one candidate.”
The blow-back from such meddling, combined with McInnis’ concerning votes on sancturayr cities legislation, could equate to an upset for the incumbent and some conservative hope for District 25.
Learn more about Michelle Lexo’s campaign here, and we’ll be bringing you more on the conservative candidate for NC Senate 25 in the coming days.