Senate shuffles GOPers from home turf

Christine T. Nguyen — The North State Journal
Rep. D. Craig Horn and Sen. Chad Barefoot speak about a proposal for the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program during a press conference at NC State's Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center on March 9.

In the newly redrawn district maps that the N.C. Senate released last week, several Republicans find themselves without the reliable voter base they enjoyed in 2016. Among those are Sen. Bill Cook, of Beaufort, Dare, Currituck and surrounding counties, who now overlaps with Democrat Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram in what would now be considered a left-leaning district. Cook is the vice chair of the Senate’s Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resource Committee.

Sens. John Alexander and Chad Barefoot, both Republicans who represent parts of Wake County, would now go head-to-head for the Republican nomination. However, Barefoot announced his decision not run again over the weekend. Barefoot co-chairs the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education/Higher Education.

“In less than three terms, Sen. Barefoot has made a lasting positive impact on public education in North Carolina,” said Senate Leader Phil Berger in a statement Monday. “He helped guide the implementation of Read to Achieve, to ensure more children are reading proficiently by the end of third grade, brought back the Teaching Fellows program, to recruit the best and brightest teachers to our classrooms, and helped expand school choice, to give families across the state more options to help their students succeed.”

Barefoot started at the N.C. General Assembly as an intern in the minority leader’s office in 2009. He was first elected in 2012. He has three young children with his wife, Paige, and said that he plans to spend more time with them, but will continue to work in the community and the state in the future.

“I’m proud of the ways we’ve come together to solve problems many didn’t think we could solve — from securing the expansion of Highway 401, to bringing back Franklin County’s hospital, to stopping a major interstate from disrupting communities in Southern Wake, to giving a voice to eastern Wake County,” said Barefoot in his statement announcing his retirement from the legislature.

Two more pairs of Republican senators will vie for the same seat; Deanna Ballard and Shirley Randleman would run for the same seat in the west, and in Davie County, Republican Joyce Krawiec will face new Republican and former Davie County Commissioner Dan Barrett, who was appointed in June to fill Andrew Brock’s seat when Brock left for a position on the State Board of Review.

There are two districts in the Senate map that do not have incumbents; one that includes Iredell County and one that includes Rowan and Stanly County. Already, some senators are rumored to be considering relocating to one of those districts.