Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — Huntersville residents Robin Bradford, a Democrat, and Charles Jeter, a Republican, are competing for the open seat in the newly drawn N.C. House District 92 from opposite ends of the political spectrum on issues such as Voter ID laws.
They are competing in the Nov. 6 general election in a district where 30 percent of the voters are unaffiliated, so they must attract independents, not just their bases, to vote. In am Aug. 18-20 flash poll by the Civitas Institute, Jeter led Bradford 53-35 percent.
Jeter said he hopes to become part of a veto-proof majority “assuming the worst happens” and Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton defeats Republican Pat McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor, in the gubernatorial race.
Should Republicans have that veto-proof majority in the next session, Jeter said, odds are strong that a voter ID bill will pass.
“People like to paint Republicans with a broad brush and say we don’t want people to vote,” Jeter said. “That’s simply not true. Republicans want everybody who’s eligible to vote.”
Attempts to contact Bradford for an interview were not successful. But on her campaign website she said the legislature doesn’t “need to waste time on voter ID bills or cutting half-cent sales tax,” adding those are “wedge issues used to hide the fact that for the last two years the legislature has no solutions for the real problems that we face.”
Jeter is the owner of a trucking company, saying “getting into the political arena was almost second nature to me,” since his father once worked for President Reagan’s administration.
Jeter serves on the Huntersville Town Board of Commissioners, where he was one of two commissioners to vote against a tax increase last fiscal year.
But it is his experience as a business owner that inspired him to get into statewide politics.
“Outside of the medical industry, there’s probably no more regulated business than the trucking business,” Jeter said. “I believe in the KISS principle — ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ We’ve got over 15,000 regulations on the books in North Carolina, some of which are years, if not decades, old. I think we’ve got to simplify the regulatory code so we can continue to create jobs and opportunity for the people of North Carolina.”
Jeter also would like to revise North Carolina’s unemployment laws. He does not begrudge anyone unemployment insurance, but said as the law stands now, there’s too much room for abuse.
Jeter cited the case of an employee who was dismissed for proper cause after being employed for a short time who later filed for unemployment.
Jeter faced two choices: His company could pay the unemployment insurance or the taxpayers could pay it, neither of which he viewed as a suitable option in this case.
“Every time I hire a new employee, I think to myself, ‘what if I have to pay unemployment on that employee?’ It makes it more cumbersome to create that new job,” Jeter said.
Bradford said in a press release that she’s retired from Fidelity Investments and is a “well-known and long-time community activist.”
In the past, Bradford has served on the Mecklenburg County redistricting board, the N.C. Democratic Party county and state executive committees, as executive board member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County chapter of the NAACP, and as vice chairwoman of the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County.
On her campaign website, Bradford borrowed a line from 1960s Democratic voting rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer in saying she was running for the House because “she’s sick and tired of being sick and tired” and “the last two years legislators have done almost nothing.”
Bradford also has said she “will stand strong for women’s and children’s health care and safety.”
While the Republican majority in the General Assembly faced accusations of gerrymandering, this contest is shaping up as a tight one.
“It almost looks like they drew this district so they could say, ‘Here’s a competitive district,’” Jeter said in a phone interview.
The new District 92 begins near Lake Norman and stretches southward to Lake Wylie, running along the western boundary of Mecklenburg County all the way down to the South Carolina line.
Sam A. Hieb is a contributor to Carolina Journal.