ASHE COUNTY-A packed field of five candidates will square off next Tuesday in a primary election for the federal Fifth District seat currently held by longtime incumbent Virginia Foxx.
A total of five candidates, including two Republicans and three democrats, filed in March to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The primary, scheduled for June 7, will decide which Republican and Democrat will emerge to run in this November’s general election.
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a six-term incumbent, has represented the district since 2004.
According to her re-election campaign’s Facebook, Foxx styles herself as a fiscally responsible Republican focused on rolling back what she believes are bad regulations.
“Foxx is a strong voice for North Carolina valued and is a champion of conservative ideas,” according to Foxx’s campaign. “In Congress, she is fighting to rein in wasteful government spending and to reduce the national debt and is using her background as a small-businesswoman and educator to jump start economic growth. She is working for real job creation efforts and has opposed heavy-handed federal mandates such as ObamaCare and cap & trade, which destroy jobs and hurt businesses.”
Foxx will be challenged by U.S. Army veteran Pattie Curran of Kernersville to see which of the two women will represent the Republican party later this year.
Curran said she supports a limited, constitutional government. She said she’s also a “pro-life, pro-gun defender of religious freedom.”
“Pattie is a Christian, wife and homeschooling mom, a former social worker, founder and president of a nonprofit (Shwachman-Diamond America), and a veteran who is concerned about her country,” according to Curran’s campaign. “Pattie’s life exemplifies what America’s freedom and equal opportunity can overcome. Equal opportunity allowed her to rise above the circumstances of her youth and go on to become the first person in her family to graduate from college.”
Three Democrats are vying to take on Foxx or Curran, including Boone’s Josh Brannon. Two years ago, Brannon emerged to challenge Foxx following a Democratic primary run-off election in July 2014. In that year’s general election, Foxx beat Brannon 61 percent to 39 percent.
“It’s time to discard the idea of trickle-down economics for good,” Brannon’s campaign website said. “The idea that if the rich got richer then everyone else would automatically follow suit has fallen flat. In the past thirty years the wealthiest few in our country have gotten immensely wealthier while the bottom 60 percent have had their share taken away, and yet we continue to let this discredited notion guide our country. This must stop.”
Brannon will face two men, Jim Roberts of Pilot Mountain and Boone’s Charlie Wallin in this year’s primary election.
“The average American working class family has been under assault for the last forty years and unfortunately their Representatives in Congress have been passing laws that are against their constituent’s interests while their rhetoric is exactly the opposite,” Roberts said. “My candidacy will focus on four areas that will help the average citizen in North Carolina’s 5th District. Jobs, protecting the people’s money in Social Security and Medicare, protecting the people from Preventable Medical Errors and fighting against the corporate takeover of American lives.”
Wallin styles himself as a moderate Democrat.
“I feel the federal government should be an advisor in education, but not dictating to state and local governments how they should educate their students,” Wallin said. “Government should be there to provide support and assistance to provide opportunities for the state and local governments to take advantage of in making the education experience better. I also feel it should continue to provide funding for early childhood education. It is a proven fact that when children are given an equal opportunity before beginning their K-12 education they succeed at a much higher rate.”
Follow the money
Foxx has far outraised and outspent Curran this election cycle. In 2015-2016 alone, Foxx has raised just less than $1 million, and spent more than $550,000. She also has more than $2.48 million in cash on hand. That’s according to the Federal Election Commission.
By contrast, Curran has raised nearly $81,000 and spent nearly all of it – slightly more than $79,700. She has $1,259 on hand.
According to OpenSecrets.org and the Center for Responsive Politics, Democratic challengers Charlie Wallin has raised some $4,400, and spent some $2,900 through May 18, 2016. He has roughly $1,500 in cash on hand.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Roberts has taken in some $2,700 in contributions and spent more than $16,500 this election cycle. He has $9,540 in cash on hand.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.