Carolina Journal News Reports
Editor’s note: Due to the high number of Republican candidates in the 9th Congressional District, this story is split into two parts. The second installment can be found here.
RALEIGH — Repealing the federal Dodd-Frank financial regulations which they say decimated Charlotte as a financial center and scrapping the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are major objectives of candidates in the May 8 Republican primary for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
Returning to constitutional government, abolishing or scaling back federal departments and programs, lowering taxes, and shrinking the federal budget and debt also are writ large on their campaigns.
But while some of the 10 candidates cite their political experience as a qualification to voters, others are running as political outsiders who would shun the temptations of career public life and rewards from special interests.
The winner will face Charlotte Democrat Jennifer Roberts, a Mecklenburg County commissioner, and Libertarian Curtis Campbell in the Nov. 6 general election. Neither has a primary opponent.
The district has been represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick since 1995. She is not running for re-election to the conservative district, comprising large swaths of Gaston, Mecklenburg, and Union counties. Its voting base is 85 percent white and 11 percent black.
The Cook Political Report, Rothenberg Political Report, and GovTrack all show it as a safe district for Republicans. In the 2008 presidential election, district voters favored Republican John McCain over Democrat Barack Obama, 55 percent to 44 percent. In 2004, they preferred Republican George W. Bush to Democrat John Kerry, 63 percent to 36 percent.
The GOP candidates, in alphabetical order, are:
The Weddington mayor pro-tem, who works in the insurance business, said the election “is about the economy, the debt, the deficit, regulation, overreaching by the federal government,” and growing the private sector to get America back to work again.
He said his aim is “to push the government back within its constitutional bounds” and return more autonomy to the states.
He said 25 years working with small business owners and entrepreneurs have informed him of “the draconian tax laws and regulations they are working under,” and that real-world understanding of how Washington impacts small businessmen will be helpful to reverse course.
Income tax reductions, tax reform, and reducing the repatriation tax to make it attractive to companies to return money to the U.S. economy from overseas would stimulate the economy and grow jobs, he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of agriculture and education are examples of agencies that might be expendable.
Barry said he is a social conservative, “but this election isn’t about social issues.”
He has received the endorsement of Michael A. Schaffer of Charlotte, who dropped out of the race at the end of March after difficulty raising campaign funds.
A Charlotte City Council representative in the residential real estate business, Dulin said, “My campaign is built around laser-pointed constituent service and bringing back to the Congress and the 9th District the reminder of who the customer is. That’s the voting public.”
“What we’re going to work on is local issues” such as transportation improvements on Interstate 77, Dulin said. “We can all talk about strengthening the dollar and balancing the budget, but it turns out people want I-77 fixed.”
He said he would put his cell phone number into the public domain for constituents to call him.
“The 10th Amendment to the Constitution has got it right, and we’ve lost track of that,” Dulin said. “The government needs to be at the state and local level. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m all for getting rid of the Department of Education” and congressional earmarks.
He said Myrick “hasn’t done anything to cut spending. She’s been doing it the Washington way for 18 years. It’s time for a leadership change, time for a younger leadership … and the ability to stand up and say, ‘That doesn’t make sense.’”
Dulin said he is pro-life and will support the marriage amendment on the May 8 state ballot restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Those are issues best decided at the state level, he said.
A corporate financial adviser living in Charlotte, Gauthier said the federal deficit and national debt are “my top priorit[ies] when I arrive.” Both are easily solved, he said, but “will take some political courage.”
“Everything that I do in Washington is going to take into account its effect on jobs,” Gauthier said.
With degrees in economics and public policy, Gauthier said he is “the most experienced in Washington and the most ready to hit the ground running.”
“I worked in the Reagan White House, the first Bush White House” and for former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp as assistant secretary for policy, among other jobs in Washington, Gauthier said.
Though he is not in lockstep with the Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan, Gauthier said it should be revisited in discussions on cutting the federal budget. The budget plan of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., “also is a step in the right direction.”
Gauthier worries high unemployment and excessive government debt will cause interest rates to rise, putting the U.S. in financial freefall similar to Spain and Italy, and lenders will want stronger repayment terms. “That’s not good for America,” he said.
He said ObamaCare is a failed “utopian approach” to central government planning that undermines America’s free enterprise model.
“I’m for the marriage amendment,” said the pro-life Gauthier.
“As a businessman working in the real estate industry, I have created market-driven jobs,” said Killian, an Army Reservist who represents Mecklenburg County in the General Assembly. In the legislature, he voted to reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.
“On the state level, I have shown the courage to make hard decisions, including submitting a bill that would have rejected $544 million of federal funding for high-speed rail,” Killian said.
His combat service in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined with education at West Point and the Army War College, helped him to win an endorsement from 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain. Killian opposes nation-building with U.S. troops.
He said he would push “a zero-based budgeting approach which meets the needs of the citizens and not the wants of the special interests.”
He agrees with the Ryan budget to cut federal debt, is pro-life, supports the marriage amendment, and backs Second Amendment gun rights.
Killian said he would like to help Charlotte become an incubator for the energy industry to help America develop a comprehensive energy policy that retains use of fossil fuels, especially natural gas, but explores other options.
Dan Way is a contributor to Carolina Journal.