2020 GRNC-PVF Candidate Recommendations

(Listings include only districts with primary races)

 

 

Candidate recommendations versus evaluations: Below are recommendations for effective voting strategies by the Grass Roots North Carolina Political Victory Fund. Candidate recommendations, which are more limited than blanket “endorsements,” are not made in all races, only in races where a clear pro-gun candidate stands out or where strategic voting is necessary to keep anti-gun candidates out of office. Note that in most cases, even pro-gun candidates are not included unless they have a primary election challenger.

Recommendations differ from GRNC candidate evaluations. While the evaluations are intended to provide an objective measure of where candidates stand on Second Amendment issues, GRNC–PVF recommendations are analytical and therefore subject to interpretation. For a full explanation of GRNC’s objective star evaluations, go to: https://www.grnc.org/remember-in-november/grnc-candidate-evaluations-2020  

Important notes:

  1. Candidates who lack voting records or other history on Second Amendment issues and who fail to return GRNC’s candidate survey automatically receive a 0-star evaluation on the assumption that they are hiding their position from gun voters. Every election year, we receive complaints about ostensibly pro-gun candidates who receive zero star evaluations due to failure to return the survey. Each candidate is mailed a survey to the address he or she registered with the State Board of Elections. If they fail to return the survey, we cannot help candidates who will not help themselves.
  2. GRNC-PVF candidate recommendations generally are NOT blanket endorsements. We have analyzed nearly 200 races across the state. Unless otherwise stipulated, GRNC does not evaluate candidates on issues other than support for the Second Amendment. A GRNC-PVF recommendation does NOT reflect the candidate’s stance on other issues, and it does not reflect likelihood of winning a given race. The recommendation is merely our estimate of which candidate in a given race is most pro-gun.

 

Voting instructions:

  • Primary election One Stop Early Voting begins on February 13 and ends on February 29.
  • Last day to request absentee by mail for March 3 primary (5 PM) is February 25.
  • Primary voting day is March 3 between 6:30 AM and 7:30 PM. Click here to find your polling place on election day, or click here to find your One Stop Early Voting place. To look up your voter registration, click here. Note: If you are registered as “unaffiliated,” you may vote in either the Democrat or Republican primary election.

 

GRNC CANDIDATE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

FEDERAL RACES

US PRESIDENT (R):

Realizing that no candidate who reaches the level of POTUS will be perfect, Donald Trump has refused to allow Republicans to consider the two gun control bills passed by the Democrat-controlled US House. Although the BATFE during the Trump administration did enact the bump stock ban, it also reversed the Obama-era directive to report Social Security recipients with designated benefit payees as prohibited persons under NICS as well as restrictive interpretations the BATFE rendered on AR-type pistols. In the 2020 primary elections, GRNC-PVF recommends incumbent President DONALD TRUMP (GRNC ***).

US SENATE (R)

This race is disappointing. Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis has been marginal since serving as Speaker of the NC House and currently holds a GRNC 2-star (**) evaluation. A potentially viable contender resigned from the race. The two remaining challengers. Larry Holmquist and Sharon Hudson, each returned GRNC’s candidate survey with scores of 100 and 97, respectively. However, each has a history of running losing primary challenges, suggesting they are not serious contenders. Bearing mind that Tillis has the best chance of beating likely Democrat challenger Cal Cunningham in the November General Election, and that GRNC-PVF will likely be forced to recommend Tillis in the General, in this primary, GRNC-PVF has no recommendation.

 US HOUSE

District 1 (R): Michele Nix and Sandy Smith both returned perfect 100 surveys, earning GRNC 4-star (****) evaluations. GRNC-PVF has no recommendation in this race.

District 2 (D): In contrast to our usual practice, in this race GRNC-PVF recommends OLLIE ONEAL NELSON (GRNC survey: 55%, 0-star) not because he is particularly pro-gun, but because opponent Deborah K. Ross (voting record: 21%, GRNC 0-star), the likely winner in this district, has a long history of opposing gun rights while in the NC House. Gun owners who are registered Democrats should be working to keep Ross out of Congress.

District 4 (D): Here too Democrat-registered gun voters should work to unseat incumbent David Price (voting record: 0%, GRNC 0-star), who is arguably one of the most anti-gun members of the US House, by voting for challenger DANIEL ULYSSES LOCKWOOD (survey: 60%, GRNC *).

District 4 (R): Nasir A. Shaikh returned a perfect 100% survey, earning a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation. Challengers Steve A. (Von) Loor, Debesh Sarkar, and Robert Thomas refused to return GRNC’s survey, earning GRNC’s lowest 0-star (0) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends NASIR SHAIKH.

District 6 (R): Conservative activist Lee Haywood answered GRNC’s survey with a 95%, earning a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation, while opponent Laura Pichardo scored only 73% earning a 2-star (**) evaluation. GRNC-PVF recommends LEE HAYWOOD.

District 10 (R): Congressman Patrick McHenry has been a friend of gun owners ever since his service in the NC House, including his effort to ensure passage of a clean concealed handgun reciprocity bill. Therefore, we are deeply concerned that Rep. McHenry recently dropped a vote, reducing his GRNC evaluation to 3 stars (***). Owing to his long history of service to gun owners, GRNC-PVF continues to recommend PATRICK MCHENRY, but notes that with a primary featuring pro-gun Ralf Waters (survey: 90%, GRNC ****), Congressman McHenry needs to focus on avoiding the inherently corrupting influences of incumbency.

District 11 (R): Sadly, pro-gun incumbent Mark Meadows chose not to run again, leaving open this Republican-leaning seat. Fully 12 Republicans are running for the seat, the race for which will likely end with a runoff. Although several candidates returned GRNC surveys and earned 4-star (****) evaluations, including Steven Fekete, Jr., Wayne King, Vance Patterson, Jim Davis, and Dillon Gentry, the standout Second Amendment supporter seems to be Lynda Bennett (100% survey, GRNC ****), an acquaintance of Meadows who has been endorsed by Meadows himself as well as other conservative activists in the district. Malicious rumors spread about Bennett that she was a “never Trumper” have been proven false. GRNC-PVF recommends LYNDA BENNETT.

 

STATE RACES

NC GOVERNOR (R):

Two questions stand out in this race: Which candidate is the strongest proponent of the Second Amendment, and which is most likely to unseat anti-gun incumbent Democrat Governor Roy Cooper. In both cases, the answer is Dan Forest. To be fair, opponent Holly Grange earned a GRNC 4-star (****) evaluation by a 100% pro-gun voting record. But Forest has demonstrated that he will go above and beyond for gun voters, including his unbidden attendance of a GRNC rally while he was Lt. Governor. With a 100% survey submitted each election year, Dan Forest has earned GRNC’s highest 4-star evaluation (****). GRNC-PVF recommends DAN FOREST for Governor.

                                                                                  

NC LT. GOVERNOR (R):

Another race with a plethora of candidates, including no fewer than six who, by virtue of surveys and/or voting records, earned GRNC 4-star (****) evaluations. Four star contenders include: Greg Gebhardt, Mark Robinson, Andy Wells, Deborah Cochran, Scott Stone, and Renee Ellmers. However, only one candidate stands out in supporting the Second Amendment: Mark Robinson went viral with the video of his articulate, impassioned plea to Greensboro City Council members not to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. He has continued to be a vocal advocate for gun rights, including running for a NRA board of directors seat. With a perfect 100% GRNC survey, earning GRNC’s highest 4-star evaluation (****), GRNC-PVF recommends MARK ROBINSON.

 

NC ATTORNEY GENERAL (R):

Incumbent anti-gun Democrat Attorney General Josh Stein (GRNC 0-star) needs to be removed. Republican contenders include: Sam Hayes (97% survey, GRNC ****), Jim O'Neill (92% survey, ****), and Christine Mumma (survey: NR, 0-star). We didn’t support O’Neill in 2016, but hoped to after he returned the GRNC survey this year. But that was before O’Neill, as Forsyth County District Attorney, stood at a press conference to support Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough when Kimbrough announced his intention to end Forsyth County’s contract with ICE. Any attorney general candidate who opposes enforcement of immigration laws is unlikely to be sincere in claiming support for gun rights. GRNC-PVF recommends SAM HAYES.

 

NC COUNCIL OF STATE RACES:

Given that Insurance Commissioner, Treasurer, and similar races bear no direct impact on gun rights, GRNC-PVF elected not to make recommendations in those races. However, we did issue surveys into the races and GRNC evaluations for the candidates can be found at: https://www.grnc.org/remember-in-november

 

NC SENATE

District 06 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends Bob Williams (GRNC survey 95%, ****) over Michael Lazzara (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 07 (R): Opponents Jim Perry and Billy Strickland both returned GRNC surveys with 100% scores, with both earning four stars (****). GRNC-PVF has no recommendation in this race.

District 11 (R): Patrick Harris and Dennis Nielsen both returned GRNC surveys, scoring 98% and 97% respectively and earning four stars (****). However, Lisa Stone Barnes scored 100% on GRNC’s survey and sponsored pro-gun legislation while serving in the NC House, earning a GRNC 4-star evaluation (****). [Note: An early version of GRNC candidate evaluations erroneously listed Barnes as having three stars.] GRNC-PVF recommends LISA STONE BARNES.

District 18 (R): Scott McKaig and Larry E. Norman both returned surveys with 100% scores, each earning four stars (****). GRNC-PVF has no recommendation in this race.

District 29 (R): Steve Jarvis and incumbent Eddie Gallimore have both returned GRNC surveys (with 98% and 97%, respectively), and both have sponsored pro-gun legislation in the past (Gallimore in the NC Senate, Jarvis in the NC House). However, Gallimore is the more devoted Second Amendment supporter, while Jarvis is being supported by “RINO” elements in the party. GRNC-PVF recommends EDDIE GALLIMORE.

District 42 (R): For this open seat, Mark Hollo (voting record 100%, survey 99%, GRNC ****) is a better choice than Dean Proctor (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star). Proctor not only refused to return GRNC’s survey, but also reportedly donated $1000 to anti-gun Gov. Roy Cooper and other anti-gun Democrats. Although Republican Party “insiders” (read that “swamp dwellers”) are endorsing Proctor, Mark Hollow, with his pro-gun voting record and history of sponsoring pro-gun bills while in the NC House, makes for the better choice. GRNC-PVF recommends MARK HOLLO.

District 50 (R): With a 100% pro-gun voting record history of sponsoring pro-gun legislation while in the NC House, plus his 95% survey, Kevin Corbin (GRNC ****) is a far better choice than opponent Sarah Conway (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star). GRNC-PVF recommends KEVIN CORBIN.

 

NC HOUSE

District 3 (R): For this open seat previously occupied by Michael Speciale, the standout is Jim Kohr. A pastor who reportedly has “concealed carry permitted” signs on his church, Kohr scored 92% on GRNC candidate survey, earning a 4-star evaluation (****). Opponent Eric Queen scored 98% on GRNC’s survey (****), while opponents Guy Smith and Steve Tyson failed to return the survey, earning GRNC’s lowest 0-star evaluation (0). GRNC-PVF recommends JIM KOHR.

District 6 (R): In this race, both candidates scored well on GRNC’s candidate survey, incumbent Bobby Hanig with 99% (GRNC ****) and Rob Rollason with 100% (****). However, as an incumbent, Hanig has sponsored numerous pro-gun bills, clearly demonstrating support for the Second Amendment. GRNC-PVF recommends BOBBY HANIG.

District 12 (D): GRNC-PVF recommends LENTON CREDELLE BROWN (GRNC survey: 100%, ****) over Deonko Brewer (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star) and Virginia Cox-Daugherty (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 14 (R): Incumbent George Cleveland is one of the few long term stalwart Second Amendment defenders of the NC House, with a 100% voting record and repeated 100% survey score, more than earning a GRNC 4-star evaluation (****). GRNC-PVF recommends GEORGE CLEVELAND over challenger Cindy Edwards (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 15 (R): Incumbent Phillip Shepard has a 94% pro-gun voting record, 96% survey and history of sponsoring pro-gun legislation, earning a GRNC 4-star evaluation (****). Challenger Mark Price returned an 81% survey (GRNC ***). GRNC-PVF recommends PHILLIP SHEPARD.

District 19 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends challenger DAVID PERRY (GRNC survey: 99%, GRNC ****) over opponent Charlie Miller (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 20 (R): Incumbent Ted Davis Jr. has been a thorn in the side of gun rights supporters, with a recent gun rights voting record of only 60% and a GRNC evaluation of only 1-star (*). GRNC-PVF recommends JUSTIN LANASA (GRNC survey: 88%, ***).

District 25 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends JOHN CHECK (GRNC survey: 97%, ****) over Steve Matthews (GRNC survey 89%, ***).

District 26 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends incumbent DONNA MCDOWELL WHITE (100% pro-gun voting record, 88% survey, history of sponsoring pro-gun legislation) over challenger Justin Tate (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 36 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends GIL PAGAN (GRNC survey 89%, GRNC ***) over Kim Coley (GRNC survey 76%, **)

District 37 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends ERIN PARE (GRNC survey 100%, ****) over Jeff Moore (GRNC survey: 100%, ****) and Anna Powell (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 43 (R): Diane Wheatley scored 100% on GRNC’s survey (GRNC ****) while Clarence W. Goins, Jr. scored 91% on GRNC’s survey (****). With no clear indicators on Second Amendment support, GRNC-PVF has no recommendation in this race.

District 52 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends incumbent JAMIE BOLES (voting record 94%, survey 95%, GRNC ****) over challenger Bob Temme (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

District 59 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends incumbent JON HARDISTER (98% pro-gun voting record, history of sponsoring pro-gun legislation, GRNC ****) over challenger Allen Chappell (GRNC survey: 89%, ***).

District 60 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends RYAN A. BLANKENSHIP (GRNC survey: 96%, ****) over Frank Ragsdale (survey: 84%, ***).

District 66 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends BEN MOSS (GRNC survey: 95%, GRNC ****) over Joey Davis (survey: 88%, ***).

District 80 (R): This is an important race for gun rights supporters. Anti-gun Republican (yes, you read that right) Sam Watford, who GRNC defeated in his Senate bid in 2018, is back. This time he is running for his old House seat against pro-gun Roger Younts, who was briefly appointed to the NC House. Watford is being backed by RINOs in the Republican Party, and has openly expressed contempt for gun voters. In this race, GRNC-PVF recommends ROGER YOUNTS (GRNC survey 100%, GRNC ****) over Haley Sink (96%, ****) and Sam Watford (voting record: 60%, survey 71%, *). Bring friends to the polls and make sure to defeat Sam Watford.

District 82 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends PARISH MOFFITT (GRNC survey: 100%, ****) over Kristin Baker (survey: NR, 0-star) and William G. Hamby, Jr. (survey: NR, 0-star).

District 83 (R): GRNC-PVF recommends incumbent LARRY PITTMAN (voting record 95%, survey 93%, GRNC ****) over challenger Jay White (survey: 100%, ****). Pittman is a true gun rights leader, regularly sponsoring pro-gun legislation and amendments, and sticking his neck out for gun owners. Pittman’s opponent might have been smart enough to submit GRNC’s survey, but he is still the “swamp-dwellers’” tool in their attempt to drive out a truly pro-Second Amendment candidate who has a history of bucking leadership to support you. VOTE PITTMAN for NC House.

District 117 (R): This open seat could be a pro-gun pickup, since anti-gun Republican Chuck McGrady chose not to run again. GRNC-PVF recommends TIM MOFFITT (96% pro-gun voting record, 96% survey, GRNC ****) over Dennis Justice (survey: 96%, ****). Moffit previously served in the NC House, where he not only voted pro-gun, but also sponsored pro-gun legislation.

District 119 (R): Mike Clampitt held this seat previously before losing to anti-gun Democrat Joe Sam Queen in 2018. GRNC-PVF recommends MIKE CLAMPITT (pro-gun voting record: 100%, GRNC survey: 100%, GRNC ****) over Ron Mau (GRNC survey: NR, 0-star).

 

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