NC-09 – One of North Carolina’s two special congressional Republican primary elections has moved to the runoff phase (NC-03, Greg Murphy vs Joan Perry), while the other is heading toward its first primary date on May 14. The 9th Congressional District primary is not quite as crowded as the Third, but there are still a handful of contenders for the Republican nomination.
One of them, Marine combat veteran Matthew Ridenhour, has been endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and represents the kind of new generation conservative that could serve to cleanse the Swamp in DC. We caught up with Matt in order to provide readers in that district a better sense of who he is, what motivates him, and why he thinks he’s the best choice for voters on May 14.
First in Freedom Daily (FFD): Please tell us ‘Your Story.’ Where are you from; how’d you come up; where did your career take you; what events shaped your life?
Matthew Ridenhour (MR): I am a native Charlottean; my family has been here for a couple of hundred years, having traveled down the Great Wagon Road to farm here. I joined the Boy Scouts when I was 16, which is a bit older than most boys wanting to join Scouts. I worked my way through merit badges quickly, while participating in Track and Football, and earned my Eagle Scout badge by the time I was 18. After graduating from Charlotte Christian School, I began attending Virginia Tech after high school, and ultimately graduated from AIU in Atlanta.
During college I joined the Marines, and graduated from boot camp just three weeks before 9/11. My Marine Corps career was from 2001 to 2012, and I deployed to Iraq twice (2005 and 2007). I left the service as a Staff Sergeant, and think of the Marines I served with every day.
In 2011 my wife, Abby, and I got married. We have two kids, Caroline (4) and Hobson (20 months). Caroline is the sweetest little girl who is adventurous, kind, and so funny! Hobson is a little ham himself, and made a dramatic entrance into this world. Abby’s contractions came very quickly, and we couldn’t make it to the hospital. Instead, he was born on our driveway, and I was the delivering “doctor”. Abby is the real hero of the story!
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For a number of years I was in operations management, but I have been in risk management for the last four years. I lead a team of analysts who provide third party risk management services to our clients. I also served as a Mecklenburg County Commissioner for six years. I was a strong, conservative voice in a blue county, and was known for my thoughtful, pragmatic way of approaching issues.
FFD: What inspired you to run for Congress? Why are you running?
MR: My parents instilled in my the importance of serving others. We volunteered at our church and in our community. In high school, CMPD officers Burnette and Nobles were killed in the line of duty. I wanted to do something to make a difference, so I organized the Adopt a Cop program at my school, and we raised enough money for 11 bullet proof vests for CMPD officers. I joined the Boy Scouts, which also encourages civic responsibility. In my later years, I served in the Marines (service to country) and County Commission (service to community). I guess it’s just in my blood to want to serve others and try to better the world we live in. I believe there is a place–and a need–for my story, for our values, in Washington DC. I am running to bring those values to DC.
FFD: There are multiple candidates in this race – what sets you apart from the pack that you want voters to know about you/your campaign?
MR: I have the combination of experience and ground game support that can go toe to toe with, and beat, Dan McCready.
McCready constantly touts his Marine Corps experience, and I can match him in that area. Plus, I have a strong, conservative voting record that I can point to. I also have more volunteers than any other campaign. Just last weekend, I had 26 people join me for door knocking–we knocked 1,000 doors that day. The grassroots, volunteer support that I have will absolutely be an asset in beating Dan McCready.
FFD: As a member of Congress, what areas of policy would you focus on, or which areas would constituents find the most benefit for you applying yourself toward?
MR: My areas of focus would be foreign policy and national defense, VA reform, and budgeting. These are areas in which I have interest due to my background and work experience.
FFD: If invited, would you join the House Freedom Caucus as a member of the US House?
FFD: Many young, newly elected Democrats on Capitol Hill are getting quite the star treatment, while their rhetoric and proposals give the rest of us the shock treatment. What are your views on this new wave of Democrats, and how would you counter their amplified voices in Congress?
MR: I would counter them by reminded them, and the American people, that they are a small minority in DC and that their values do not represent middle America. I would be a tireless voice, and I would seek ways to defeat their liberal pipe dreams like the Green New Deal via rules and committees or through the budget. On the county commission I was able to defeat proposals by stirring up the community against the proposal, by illustrating an inability to fund the program, or by using the rules of the board to defeat the proposal. We need agile Conservatives in DC who are able to employ a quiver full of arrows to defeat the growing calls for socialism from the leftists.
FFD: What would you describe as your core animating values? Why?
MR: My faith, as well as honor, courage, and commitment. My Christian faith is the bedrock of my value system, and informs my world-view. Honor, courage, and commitment are the core values of the Marine Corps, and I believe they are good foundational values for anyone.
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