Former President Trump endorsed 26-year-old Bo Hines Tuesday March 14 for the newly created 13th congressional district. Hines played one year of football at N.C. State before graduating from Yale, and lives far outside the district with a scant political resume.

In a statement from former President Trump’s Save America PAC, Trump called Hines a “proven winner both on and off the field” and a “fighter for Conservative values.”

Hines “is an unwavering America First patriot and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump’s statement read.

Hines began running for Congress last year in the 5th District near Winston-Salem, originally announcing he would take on incumbent Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.. He later switched to the Winston-Salem area 13th District when current Congressman Ted Budd announced he would be running for Senate instead. When the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly adjusted the districts, Hines announced for a Greensboro congressional district, N.C.-6, that would have been the home district of Democrat Kathy Manning. The revised N.C.-6 would have been a swing district.

HInes told WRAL on February 17th,  that the 6th Congressional District is largely where he has spent the past year campaigning.

“I just truly believe that this is the place that I feel at home,” Hines said. “I’ve been here the last five years of my life, and I love the people here and want to represent them in Congress.”

However, Hines decided against running in the 6th once the courts made it a strong Democrat district, settling instead on the new 13th Congressional District, which is centered around Republican powerhouse Johnston County and has all or portions of Johnston, Harnett, and Wayne counties.

Hines attended high school in Charlotte and after completing undergraduate studies at Yale, he graduated from Wake Forest University Law School, in Winston-Salem where he is currently registered. With his voting address located two hours to the west, Hines will be unable to vote for himself in the 13th District GOP primary on May 17th.

According to John Locke Foundation researchers, the 13th District is the only swing district in the 14 seats court-drawn congressional map. The other 13 are expected to be split among the two major political parties with Republicans winning seven seats, and the Democrats guaranteed six congressional seats regardless of how bad the 2022 election shapes up for Democrats.

The 13th is about as evenly divided as you can get, leaning a point or two to the Democrats.  Joe Biden would have defeated President Trump 49.97 to 48.27 % if the district existed in 2020.  The district was also won by Democrat Governor Roy Cooper and Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson.

In the general election, 29% of the voters will come from Johnston County with 51% coming from Wake. However, a majority of the Republican primary voters will come from Johnston, and winning it will be key in the battle for the GOP nomination.

The Club for Growth organization that claims its focuses on American economic issues is joining President Trump is supporting Hines and is expected to spend significantly to help Hines. The “Club” as it is known in conservative circles is spending heavily to support Trump-backed candidates across the country including Congressman Ted Budd who is running for U.S. Senate.  Support from the Club was key in Rep. Madison Cawthon’s, NC-11, victory in 2020.

On his campaign website, Hines touts endorsements from Cawthorn and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, two of the most vocal pro-Trump members of the House.

However, Hines could face a tough road in the 13th.  Carolina Journal spoke to several well-respected Johnston County conservative leaders who told CJ that Hines’ youth and lack of connection to the district will be a real challenge for the Trump-supported candidate.

On December 5th of 2021, Politico reported that President Trump had agreed to endorse Hines in the triangle-based 4th Congressional District as a way to clear the path for former U.S. Representative Mark Walker to exit the GOP U.S. Senate primary and run for a Greensboro area GOP leaning congressional seat.

“As part of the deal brokered during the Saturday meeting — which was also attended by Republican congressional candidate Bo Hines, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., and Club for Growth President David McIntosh — Hines will receive Trump’s endorsement to run in the 4th Congressional District.”

However, Carolina Journal can now confirm via multiple sources that after the December 4th meeting at Mar-a-Lago, a second meeting was held just days later. In the second meeting, an influential group of eastern North Carolina Republicans and Trump donors specifically asked Trump to stay out of the congressional district primary for the Johnston County-based congressional seat.  The donors were successful in getting Trump to delay any endorsement. Plus, the next day the State Supreme Court invalidated the congressional maps, and the issue became moot, for the moment.

Hines will meet two candidates in the primary with well-established Johnston County political families. Kelly Daughtry, daughter of former N.C. House Majority/Minority leader Leo Daughtry and DeVan Barbour, who’s family has been active in GOP politics in Johnston County for decades.

“I appreciate the fact that the President sees how important our community is to the future of the country and how important our community is to taking back Congress and the gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s hand,” said Barbour.

I am excited for the opportunity to advocate that our community’s needs can and should be met by someone from our community.”

Also among the eight Republicans running in the district is former Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. The Harnett County Republican is a former three-term congresswoman,  running on her prior Capitol Hill experience.

“I’m known to the voters and I’m running on my record,” she recently told Roll Call.

Having previously served on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Ellmers, was the first congresswoman to endorse Trump for president in 2016.

Other Republicans include Kent Keirsey, a Republican, who is a U.S. Army combat veteran. He spent 12 months in combat in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star. Keirsey, like Hines, is from outside the district. His family lives in Chapel Hill and his wife live with their children in Chapel Hill. Candidates also include Chad Slotta, a Republican pastor from Cary, Jessica Morel, of Fayetteville, and Kevin Wolff from Apex.

Democrat State Senator Wiley Nickel and former State Senator Sam Searcy are the best known Democrats competing to represent the blue team in the general election along with teacher Denton Lee, former U.S. Air Force officer Nathan Click, and Jamie Campbell Bowles.