State Rep. Jon Hardister will run for state House, not Congress

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N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County) (Courtesy of Jon Hardister)

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford County), the House majority whip, announced on social media this morning that he would run for re-election next year and forego entering the race for the 7th Congressional District.

Hardister had said before Thanksgiving that he was considering entering the Republican primary for the district, which, under the new maps passed by the General Assembly, includes much of the territory of his current state district and has no incumbent resident.

Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-Greensboro), currently a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Richard Burr, is considering leaving that race, which includes U.S. Rep Ted Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory, and run again for the House. He hasn’t said when he would make a decision about that consideration.

In tracking candidates in that district, The News & Observer has listed Marvin Boguslawski, Peter Boykin, Jennyfer Bucardo, Christian Castelli, Bo Hines and Kent Keirsey among Republicans who enter the race when the filing period opens at noon Monday.

Hardister’s announcement did not address Walker’s possible candidacy.

“After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to seek re-election to the NC House of Representatives. It has been a privilege to serve in this capacity and I would be honored to continue serving,” Hardister first posted on his Facebook page.

He listed many of his accomplishments since first being elected to the House.

“Over the last few weeks I have given serious consideration to the possibility of running for U.S. Congress,” he wrote. “While I am confident that I have the skills to be an effective member of Congress, this is a step that I am choosing not to take at this time. There is more that I would like to accomplish in the state legislature before embarking on a new chapter in my career. “

Manning on redistricting panel

Kathy Manning
Kathy Manning on FOX8

A seated member of Congress, U.S. Rep Kathy Manning (D-Greensboro) on Wednesday was part of a Zoom presentation about voting rights and redistricting. Former Attorney General Ronald Holder, chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was the headliner of the program, which also included Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) and Colin Allred (D-Texas).

Manning, Davids and Allred are in districts made vulnerable by what they believe is extreme partisan gerrymandering in the redistricting process.

Tiffany Muller, president of the End Citizens United//Let America Vote Action Fund, a voting rights organization, moderated the event, which addressed the need for the U.S. Senate to pass the voting rights bills the House already has passed.

Manning’s home district (currently the 6th) in Greensboro was drawn into the 11th District in maps approved by the Republican-controlled NC General Assembly that divided heavily Democratic Guilford County among three new districts (along with the 7th and 10th) that would lean heavily Republican.

The 11th District includes all of Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Alleghany, Aske, Wilkes, Caldwell and Alexander counties, and it also includes small “bubbles” of Watauga County, which otherwise is in the 14th District. All have proven to be Republican-voting counties.

Those bubbles in Watauga include the home of incumbent Rep. Virginia Foxx, a Republican who has served the 5th District, which means the new 11th is the only district to continue to have two incumbents – so-called “double-bunked.”

Democrat Alma Adams and Republican Dan Bishop were both placed in the 9th District (Mecklenburg County), but Bishop’s staff told The News & Observer that he will run in the 8th District, which had made up of several southern counties that are part of his current 9th District. Adams currently represents the 12th, and the new 9th is considered a “safe” Democratic district.

Incumbents Budd (R-Advance) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-Denver) are both part of the new 12th District, but Budd’s Senate race remedies that.

Said Manning in a prior statement: “These maps were created for one purpose only: to ensure Republicans win more House seats so that they can recapture control of the U.S. House of Representatives. They are not a reflection of the best interests of North Carolinians but rather, an offering to the national Republican party.”

She has not announced her plans, although Foxx filed for re-election on the day the new maps were passed.

The voting rights bill in the Senate would end partisan gerrymandering and require independent commissions to draw district lines. The courts have rejected aggressively partisan maps – that happened before Manning was elected in 2020 – and Republicans are not in favor of the bill.

“We are moving toward ‘minority rule,’” Holder said on the call. “One party is trying to take over systems to rule at all costs.”

On Friday a panel of judges refused to halt election processes while two lawsuits about the viability of these maps moves forward. The plaintiffs in the suits had asked the judges to delay Monday’s opening of candidate filing and also the primary election scheduled for March 8.

This decision can be appealed, The Associated Press reported. The lawsuits, which also can proceed despite this ruling, call the lines “extreme partisan” gerrymandering. Republicans say the maps are lawful.

Tidbits

  • Burr, Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) held a roundtable discussion with child care providers to review the details within the Build Back Better bill the House passed and the Senate is considering. Each senator had a specific reason why he or she didn’t like this element of the bill. The essence of Burr’s opposition: “…at some point the design is that the private sector, as it relates to [child] care, is totally gone, whether its faith-based or family driven.”
  • Cheri Beasley, a former child justice of the N.C. Supreme Court and a Democratic candidate to replace Burr, who is retiring, was part of a reproductive rights rally in Charlotte on Tuesday, when the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments about a restrictive abortion bill from Mississippi. Said Beasley: “These attacks on women’s rights aren’t going to stop until we elect leaders who are strong enough to stand up to them.”
  • Beasley earlier picked up the endorsement of former state Sen. Erica Smith, dropped out of the Senate race to run for Congress in the 1st District, where Democrat G.K. Butterfield is retiring.
  • Jeff Jackson, a state senator from Charlotte who also is running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, said in a release that he is being followed by a representative of the Republican party to videotape his words and actions. “We’ve done more than 130 open town halls – one in every county in North Carolina and on college campuses across our state,” Jackson said. “Just about everywhere we go, we’re trailed by a gentleman who’s been sent by the national Republican Party. It’s his job to video everything I say and hand it over to the Republicans. This is exactly why a lot of candidates don’t hold open town halls, News Tips. In fact, my Republican opponents have held zero.”
  • Nancy Hoffman, a member of the Greensboro City Council, was appointed last week by Gov. Roy Cooper to serve on the North Carolina Local Government Commission, which is responsible for local government finance. Her term expires on June 30, 2025.

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