Home Local News Pints and Politics Part 1: Libertarian Challenges Democrat, Republican for Congressional Seat

Pints and Politics Part 1: Libertarian Challenges Democrat, Republican for Congressional Seat

Libertarian Jeff Scott was the only candidate of the N.C. 9th Congressional District seat present Tuesday evening at Richmond Young Professionals' Pints and Politics event.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM– Nine candidates for four offices had a chance to mingle with voters and discuss their platforms Tuesday evening at Richmond Young Professionals’ Pints and Politics event.

Although not every candidate had an opponent present, they were still allowed to take questions from the audience.

The coverage of the forum is split into three parts: U.S. House of Representatives race; N.C. Senate and House of Representatives; Richmond County Board of Commissioners.

Congressional Seat a Pivotal Race

North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District race has become one of the most-watched contests in the nation, especially following Rep. Robert Pittenger’s defeat in the Republican primary by former Charlotte pastor Mark Harris.

Democrats are hoping to flip that seat with their young challenger, retired Marine Dan McCready.

A recent New York Times poll shows Harris leading McCready 47 percent to 42 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

Some of those undecided voters could swing toward Libertarian Jeff Scott, who wasn’t included in the poll, but was present at Tuesday’s forum.

The California native said the district, and the nation, needs “different solutions to the two-party mess we’re in right now.”

Scott said his platform is “peace, prosperity and privacy.”

“The most important thing going on right now is our march to war,” he said. “I am the anti-war candidate.”

Scott decried the expansion of the U.S.’s footprint around the world and toward Russia, as well as the continued involvement in Syria and Afghanistan. The latter war has been going on for 17 years.

“Those wars have costs,” he said, not only the massive debt being incurred, but the physical and psychological wounds of veterans.

Neither Harris nor McCready were at the event, but McCready did send a representative: the Rev. Clayton Brooks, a native of Laurinburg.

Brooks, political director of the campaign, gave a brief background on McCready, including his military service and the co-founding of an investment company to expand solar energy jobs throughout the state.

“These are 21st century jobs, these are the jobs of the future,” Brooks said. “Jobs for all kinds of folk, whether educated or not. And these are the sort of jobs that we need.”

If McCready wins the election, Brooks said, he “intends to be the type of leader who fights for resources and investments in this area and for 21st century modern jobs.”

Brooks said his candidate will also be responsive to the needs people face throughout the district, which comprises Richmond, Scotland, Anson, Robeson and Union counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Bladen counties.

Audience members were encouraged to learn more about McCready, who Brooks said should be making campaign stops in the county ahead of next month’s election.

Brooks also plugged two upcoming debates: one at 7 p.m. Wednesday, hosted by WBTV and the Charlotte Observer, which will stream on both companies’ Facebook pages and C-Span; and the other at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17, hosted by Spectrum News.

Scott said he was not invited to either debate, adding that McCreary “does not want to stand on stage next to me and talk to me,” referencing a recent meeting at the Black Political Caucus where the Democrat just came and left.


Brooks said McCready had another commitment, which is why he had to leave.

“I’ve got a record of topics that I’ve written about,” Scott said. “(McCready) doesn’t talk about specifics when he’s in public, he doesn’t have a voting record.”

He also questioned the Democrats’ vetting process, asking why they would pick someone inexperienced to represent them in “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Blaine Maples said she was “personally fed up with each candidate running on trying to tear the other one down” and urged them to limit their comments to their position before asking what they would do to spur economic development in the smaller counties of the district.

“It seems to me, economic development seems to go to the urban counties,” like Mecklenburg, Union and Cumberland.

While Brooks couldn’t speak directly for McCready, he did say he repeated that he believes McCready will “fight and push to get” investments to go toward infrastructure, economic development and bolster education in rural areas.

He agreed that the rural areas have been “under-represented and often forgotten.”

“I believe Dan is someone who won’t forget,” he said.

Scott said he believes the state has a lot to do with the prosperity in the area and said the state “has done a great job” with keeping a low tax rate and building infrastructure to foster an environment for business development.

He also admitted that he has to learn more about the rural areas and what they can do to attract businesses.

Earlier, Mike McCray asked if the candidates would have supported the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Brooks pointed out that the decision to affirm was made by the U.S. Senate and McCready, had he been in office, would not have had to deal with it.

He added that, too his knowledge, no public statement has been made on the issue.

Scott said he was opposed to Kavanaugh because of the new justice’s positions on “torture, his deference to presidential power and his position on the Fourth Amendment.”

“He’s pro-surveillance and I’m anti-surveillance,” Scott said. “So that’s a pretty clear answer.”


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.