Republicans say ‘red wave’ is coming at annual convention

North Carolina Republican Party chairman Michael Whatley speaks at the party's annual convention in Greensboro. Photo via NCGOP

GREENSBORO — The North Carolina Republican Party held its annual state convention this past weekend in Greensboro at the Koury Convention Center. Over 1,100 delegates attended to participate in party business, attend training sessions, and meet activists from across the state. The convention had a consistent theme for the upcoming midterms – a red wave is coming in November. 

Keynote speakers included Citizens United president David Bossie, Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares, Florida Sen. Rick Scott, and the party’s newly-minted U.S. Senate nominee, Ted Budd.  

During a luncheon featuring the state’s Republican Congressional delegation, Sen. Scott talked up the importance of the North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Budd and Democrat Cheri Beasley. 

Other speakers included Budd himself, Bo Hines, who narrowly avoided a runoff by a few points in the packed 13th Congressional district Republican primary and Pat Harrigan, who won the 14th Congressional district Republican primary with nearly 76% of the vote. Harrigan and Hines will face a pair of Democratic state senators in Jeff Jackson and Wiley Nickel, respectively.  

Scott said sending a “fiscal conservative” like Budd to D.C. was imperative given the state of historic inflation that is nearing 10% and 45 trillion in national debt under President Joe Biden. He also compared Biden to an ostrich “burying his head in the sand” on the issues facing the nation. 

“There is a clear choice,” Scott said referring to Budd and Beasley’s matchup, lobbing a few hits at Beasley’s track record, including being soft on crime. 

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign launched a $1 million ad buy attacking Beasley’s record on crime just before the May 17 primary. The ad says Beasley has a “dangerous record of letting violent criminals off the hook.” 

Scott remarked that $6.2 million will be put towards a campaign to “define Beasley now” instead of waiting until closer to the election. He also told the audience they can expect to see him come back to the Tar Heel State several times prior to November. 

NC GOP Chairman Michael Whatley told North State Journal that “coming out of the primary, we are very excited as Republicans.” 

“We had twice as many Republican votes as we did in 2018 and the fact that unaffiliated voters were pulling Republican ballots at a two to one clip over Democrats, shows you the enthusiasm that we have,” Whatley said. 

“We have a great slate of candidates that are going to put North Carolina families first,” said Whatley, who also remarked their candidates are in a “great position” and the NCGOP is excited about the general election.  He also “the unbelievable slate” of judicial candidates touted the importance of those races on the ballot, in particular, gaining control of the state supreme court. 

State Sen. Ralph Hise, who won his primary against colleague Deanna Ballard, said it was a “really tough race” decided by only around 300 votes. He said it was a “horrible position” to have to face a friend and colleague but that he was happy he would be able to serve the people of District 47. 

Hise and Ballard were forced to face off due to redistricting changes which double-bunked them in the same district.  

“The biggest part of the short session, as always, is the adjustments to the state budget,” Hise said when asked what was on tap for the state legislature. 

North State Journal also ran into U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-09), who recounted an interaction at a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing called by Democrats to “raise the alarm about abortion, which has now gone viral with over 620 million impressions on Twitter. 

“It was just one simple question,” Bishop said, alluding to asking a witness, who according to Bishop was an “abortion doctor,” if men could get pregnant and have abortions. The witness responded with a “yes.” 

“It was just an opportunity to ask a single question and get an answer in 16 seconds that was extraordinarily revealing about the radicalism of the Democrats today,” Bishop said.

Bishop also said that he and his Republican colleagues are also keeping a close eye on the continuing targeting of parents by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the FBI.  

About A.P. Dillon 679 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_