Democrats vie in U.S. House primary race

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U.S. House District 2 candidate Ken Romley, center, talks with Sue Hanshaw and Rick Sasser at Doug Sauls BBQ during a tour of one-stop voting places Thursday in Nashville.

Wendy Ella May.jpg

Staff Writer

Saturday, May 5, 2018

U.S. House District 2, which includes Nash County, deserves more than a Washington politician out of touch with North Carolina, according to three Democratic candidates vying for victory in Tuesday's primary.

Ken Romley, Linda Coleman and Wendy May are running to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. George Holding or his GOP primary challenger Allen Chesser. The three Democrats have been to the area several times, including a couple of debates last month. Chesser has also been campaigning in the area and his signs have cropped up along every major road in Nash County.

Holding hasn't been seen in the area since taking office years ago.

The winners of each primary will face each other in November's general election along with Libertarian Jeff Matemu and independent Timmy Strickland. The 2nd Congressional District is composed of Nash, Wilson, Wake, Harnett, Franklin and Johnston counties. Romley and Coleman are from Wake County; May is from Johnston County.

Romley, who met voters at the one-stop polls Thursday in Nashville, said investments should be made in Eastern North Carolina infrastructure, especially broadband internet.

“It's like the G.I. Bill,” Romley said. “It was costly, but look how it's paid off for generations.”

Romley is a business entrepreneur; Coleman is a longtime public servant and May is a lobbyist and advocate.

Romley said being a businessman sets him apart from his fellow Democrats because he's the only candidate to generate private sector jobs.

“I know how to run an organization in the modern economy,” Romley said. “I have a background in science. Too few congressional members can say that.”

Coleman, a former three-term state representative who twice ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, said that experience makes her the better choice.

Romley grew up in a middle-class household. His mother was a public school teacher and his dad was a naval officer. Coleman grew up in a close-knit Eastern North Carolina community. She said she chose a life of public service because she learned the value of looking out for neighbors. May, a U.S. Army veteran, is a career firefighter.

Coleman said she's fighting for better education and higher wages.

“I have been proud to champion better wages for the working class my entire life, and I would continue to be a proud advocate for them in Congress,” Coleman said.

Romley lists jobs and health care at the top of his list of priorities. He said prosperity comes about when the government and the private sector are in balance.

“We need to invest in infrastructure and industry so people can have the middle-class lifestyle they deserve,” Romley said. “People can't start from nothing. We need to give them the tools to open doors. We're Americans; we fix stuff.”