Between the months of April and June of 2023, Congressman Wiley Nickel, D-NC13, accepted $88,500 from corporate PACs. Company PACs include Amazon, Visa, and H&R Block.
During his time in the state legislature, then state-Senator Wiley Nickel sponsored legislation urging Congress to act on corporate influence in American elections, saying “corporate participation in the political process often conflicts with the public interest.”
“Wiley Nickel has repeatedly proven himself a hypocrite, and his acceptance of corporate campaign donations are just another example of it,” NRCC spokeswoman Delanie Bomar said.
In a March tweet responding to criticisms of his energy policy votes, Nickel said, “I ran on standing up to special interests and cracking down on big corporations… I’m going to keep doing just that.”
In April, Nickel accepted money from over a dozen PACs and special interests.
Congressman Nickel campaigned against members of Congress trading individual stocks. Nickel’s asset disclosure report from May 2022 revealed that Nickel owned around 50 individual company stocks.
While Nickel owned individual stocks while serving as a state senator, he sold the stocks prior to being sworn into Congress, according to a spokesperson.
Following Nickel’s win over fellow Democrat Sam Searcy in the 2022 Democratic primary for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, Nickel began portraying himself as a moderate who wanted to work with Republicans.
His first general election ad portrayed a bounce house full of children wearing blue Bernie Sanders and “AOC” shirts on the left side of the bounce house, while children wearing red “Make America Great Again” shirts were on the right side.
The ad’s moderate depiction of Nickel contrasts sharply with his voting record as a state lawmaker, where he was consistently one of the most far-left members of the state Senate.
“Although he describes himself as a moderate, he holds one of the most liberal voting records in the state Senate…” wrote Laura Leslie of WRAL at the time.
Nickel received an “F” from the conservative group Civitas Action every year he was in the state Senate and ranked among the most liberal members in his chamber. He has a lifetime score of 14 out of 100.
“We’re going to be running right down the middle,” Nickel told WRAL during the election, saying he doesn’t think his voting record would be a factor in the race.
As it turns out, Nickel may have been correct in his assessment. Despite his voting record, Nickel won his race, in what many had considered to be a “tossup” district, by 3.2%, beating Trump-backed Republican Bo Hines.
With North Carolina lawmakers planning to redraw congressional district lines, Nickel could have a difficult choice ahead of him if he wants to stay in Congress: primary one of his fellow Democrats in the Triangle area or run in a Republican-leaning district.
There has been some speculation that he might run for attorney general.
At least three Republicans are currently declared for North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, according to FEC reports — Bo Hines, Devan Barbour, and Josh McConkey. Two others, state Rep. Erin Pare, R-Wake; and General Assembly staffer Jeff Hauser, are also considering a bid for Congress, potentially in the 13th District.