RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) – There’s a new Republican candidate for governor in North Carolina – and this one has a record of challenging frontrunner Mark Robinson.
Andy Wells, a developer from Hickory and former member of the state Senate, has thrown his name onto a ballot that had been dominated by three men connected to Greensboro: state Treasurer Dale Folwell, Lt. Gov. Robinson and former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker.
Wells was runner-up to Robinson in the GOP primary for lieutenant governor, which followed three terms in the General Assembly.
On his website Wells projects himself as a Ronald Reagan Republican since college at NC State – “politicians don’t solve problems – they create problems” and cited inflation, debt and “a recession looming” as problems that need attention.
Robinson, a resident of Greensboro and the highest-ranking elected Republican in North Carolina, has been considered the front-runner in the race, having earned the promised endorsement from former President Donald Trump (whom he in turn endorsed), taken a solid lead in most polls and raised about $2.2 million in the first half of the year.
But Robinson, serving in his first and only elected office after rising to fame for preaching to a mass of gun owners at a Greensboro City Council meeting in a social media video gone viral in 2018, has a long record of outrageous comments in speeches and social media. Just this week Democrats in Congress were joined by Folwell and Walker in decrying Robinson’s comments they said were antisemitic.
Both Walker, a Greensboro resident who served three terms in Congress, and Folwell, a UNC-Greensboro graduate who was in the General Assembly before being elected treasurer in 2017, said they entered the race because they want Republicans to have a choice in a bid to succeed Gov. Roy Cooper and become the fourth Republican to serve as governor.
Now we have Wells, a former member of both the state House (2013-14) and the state Senate (2015). He earned 14.6% of the vote to Robinson’s 32.5% in 2020.
Wells says he is the married father of three who says he has spent three decades constructing office buildings, homes and apartments. He listed on his LinkedIn profile as the “manager” of Prism Commercial Real Estate in Hickory.
Wells on his website clearly establishes his conservatism and rates economic challenges as his primary concern. He calls himself “pro-life” on abortion, but he avoids many of the social issues that some Republican candidates such as Robinson are employing as wedges.
“President Biden, Congress, politicians, tell us recovery is at hand but – unless you trust politicians – you can hear a distant rumble of thunder,” Wells says on his site. “We have to stop this storm before it turns into a hurricane but politicians can’t do that. It takes leaders with common sense, who’ll tell politicians: ‘No more. Enough. Stop.’”