GOP candidates rally party faithful
BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Get out and vote was the message at Monday night's GOP rally in Rocky Mount.
Local Republicans are starting off in a good position with strong incumbents, but the base has to go to the ballot box on Election Day to seal the deal, according to Nash County Republican Party officials.
Turnout is expected to be around 30 percent, said Nash County board Chairman Robbie Davis, a member of the local GOP executive committee.
“We need to do better,” Davis said. “Turnout is more important than it's ever been.”
Having popular Republican Sheriff Keith Stone on the ballot will help, even if he's unopposed, said party Chairman Mark Edwards.
State Sen. Rick Horner, R-Nash, is running for election in a new district that represents all of Nash County and a section of northern Johnston County. John Check is running as a Republican in the state House 25 race in hopes of replacing retiring state Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash. House 25 has been realigned to represent most of Nash County including Rocky Mount.
“We're glad to have Rick Horner running again and we're sad to see Jeff go, but John Check is his hand-picked replacement,” Edwards said.
Also highlighted at the rally was Nash County Commissioner Lisa Barnes, who's running for the state House District 7 seat, which represents southern Nash County and all of Franklin County.
Edwards said he is sure the folks in Franklin County would come to know Barnes the way the people in Nash County already have.
She's grounded in faith, family and farming, Barnes told the packed house at the GOP headquarters on Sunset Avenue.
She said she believes in faith in God; the sanctity of life and marriage; and the value of hard work learned through farming.
“Agriculture is our way of life,” Barnes said. “I'm invested in Nash County. This is my home. I look forward to continuing to represent you from a different location.”
Candidates spoke from a podium flanked by the U.S. flag and the state flag with a ceramic elephant on the wall behind them.
Speaking first, Horner said he's a big Republican advocate for public schools.
“We need to turn this wagon around,” Horner said.
Attendees were treated with hot dogs, baked beans, potato chips and awe-inspiring homemade lemonade made by Nash County board Vice Chairman Wayne Outlaw, who's running unopposed.
Check said he's knocking on doors but can't win without help. He said anyone that's just hoping to win can eat a hot dog and go home, because hope alone isn't going to win the day.
“John shares the traditional Judeo-Christian values on which our county was founded. We can count on him to be pro-life and pro-family,” Collins stated in a letter to voters available at the rally.
Collins told the Telegram at the event that if he could have he would have retired early to allow his lifelong friend to be appointed as his replacement. Such a maneuver would have allowed Check to run as an incumbent. Redistricting prevented the common political tactic.
Edwards said the 1st Congressional District contest is extremely important. Incumbent U.S. Rep. George Holding is being challenged by Democrat Linda Coleman in a tight race.
“It's one of those races Democrats are salivating to take,” Edwards said. “They would be removing a Republican and adding a Democrat in the House. Get out and vote for him.”
Holding didn't attend the rally.