The Political Beat Candidate Guide: Cabarrus County Primary Elections

The Political Beat

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC — Residents in Cabarrus County will have the chance to cast their votes on March 5 in the 2024 NC Primary Elections.

The Political Beat Team sent out a list of questions to all participating candidates, here are their unedited answers.

Congressional District 6

Jay Wagner

Jay Wagner (R)

What is your occupation? Attorney- private practice. Former mayor of High Point

Why are you running? I’m running because we need new principled leadership representing NC CD-6. I’m proud of my record as mayor of High Point- property tax value from $9B to $13.5B, cut of nearly 10% of our property tax rate over the course of my term as mayor, never raising taxes, supporting our High Point police department’s Focused Deterrence Model that led to a nearly 66% reduction in violent crime and leading on innovative pro-growth initiatives that resulted in both a minor league baseball and soccer team calling High Point home. I’m running to stand up for our North Carolina values, demand we secure our southern border and help bring economic growth to our district.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it? We need a congressman that will work with locally elected officials to bring economic opportunities to our forgotten mill towns. I’m the only candidate that was born, lives and works in the 6th district. I brought innovative ideas and solutions to spur economic growth in High Point that have elevated our residents’ standard of living and am prepared to bring those same successful solutions throughout our district as our congressman.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts? The United States should and could have helped avoid the disagreements between Ukraine and Russia turning into an all-out war. We now must support the people from Russia’s territorial aggression, but in doing so have clear objectives and how we ultimately bring this war to an end. We cannot continue to fund this war and should never have funded this war without clear and concise objectives and what victory looks like. I support Israel 100%. Israel was heinously attacked by Hamas and will continue to live in threat of fear unless we support them in their eradication of Hamas. Israel shouldn’t and cannot continue to live under the constant terrorism of Hamas.

How should Congress address the border and immigration? This is beyond simple- enforce the law. We must end chain migration, end catch and release, reinstate Remain in Mexico and turn away false asylum claims. An individual only has a right to have an asylum claim heard if there is information provided that they’re fleeing persecution, a natural disaster or war. Build the wall, deport illegal aliens manipulating our immigration system and fund our border patrol.

What sets you apart from your opponent? I have a conservative record. Actions speak louder than words- while my opponents have been campaigning in previous cycles and losing one race after another, I’ve brought meaningful change that has resulted in a greater standard of living for my community. We need a congressman that will help our working-class district and help bring economic opportunity throughout NC CD-6. I did it as mayor and I’ll do it as our congressman by working with locally elected officials on plans specific to each town.

Mark Walker

Mark Walker (R)

What is your occupation?-President of Advancing Hope, Inc., my consulting company

Why are you running?-I am running because I am the only proven conservative that can help secure the border and balance our budget. I am also the only elected Republican in the state to win the UNCF President’s award. No other candidate has more relationships across various communities.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-The most important issue in our district is to make sure the recovery of small businesses continue post-COVID. Two-thirds of jobs in the six district are from small businesses. Removing burdensome regulations and compliance issues are high priorities of mine, allowing these businesses to flourish in creating additional jobs.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East, and as both a follower of Christ and someone with geopolitical experience, I believe it is in our national interest to have a strong Israel.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?-Follow the laws on the books. Reinstate the remain-in-Mexico policy for asylum seekers. Immediately deport illegals convicted of felons.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I am the only proven conservative in this race. I am ready to hit the ground running on day 1 and pick up where I left off. Other candidates in the race will make promises about what they say they will do. I don’t have to make promises, voters can see my record.

Mary Ann Contogiannis

Mary Ann Contogiannis (R)

What is your occupation?-Plastic Surgeon

Why are you running?-I am very concerned with the direction that our country has been heading in over the past 3 years. The wide-open southern border has compromised our national & personal security and needs to be closed with restoration of our immigration laws. President Biden has abdicated his most important duty - keeping our country & its citizens safe. This has led to a fentanyl crisis killing Americans and human & sex trafficking that has reached NC. Add to that the inflation related to Bidenomics, out of control federal spending, weak foreign policy and a struggling healthcare system that need to be addressed. Also, our personal liberties are slowly being taken away and must be restored.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-The wide-open southern border and its increasing crime rate. The border needs to be closed, asylum claims need to be processed as quickly as possible and illegals deported. If someone broke a law to enter the U.S., then they need to be deported.

What role if any should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-Regarding Ukraine, President Clinton signed a memorandum with the UK/Ukraine/Russia that basically said if Ukraine gives up its nuclear weapons, then the US & UK would protect Ukraine from aggression. However, it was not a treaty. So, this is more of a moral agreement. I cannot agree to support another country to protect its borders without closure of our southern border so we can protect our country and its citizens. If any further aid is given, it should be military supplies only, no cash & there must be a detailed accounting of how those resources were used as we have seen corruption within the Ukrainian government. Regarding Israel, Hamas wants to wipe Israel off the map, that cannot be tolerated. We must always stand against anti-Semitism and against terrorism. However, the same issue applies regarding closing our border to protect the US.

How should Congress address the border and immigration?- The southern border needs to be closed immediately, we need to complete building Trump’s border wall, asylum claims should be processed as soon as possible, deport illegals if they entered in violation of our immigration policies and go back to our existing immigration laws and policies.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I am a strong conservative Republican and the most well-rounded candidate. I approach this position as being a servant leader to the citizens of the 6th district. My parents immigrated from Greece the right way and I am the result of the American Dream so I will work to close the southern border & restore our immigration system. My parents taught me to love my family, love God and my country. I am Pro-life, support the preservation of parental rights to guide their children’s education & upbringing, understand the importance of strengthening our military so we are respected as we protect our freedom, understand the business world (I am a small businesswoman), will protect Title IX, support the 2nd amendment, have strong leadership skills and have the medical expertise necessary to preserve Medicare and fix our healthcare system.

Did not respond: Bo Hines (R), Addison McDowell (R), Christian Castelli (R).

Congressional District 8

John Bradford III (R)

What is your occupation?-I’m a business owner, I’ve started two different companies which I built from the ground up right here in North Carolina. I’m currently the CEO & Founder of PetScreening, my second company. I’m also in the North Carolina House of Representatives, proudly representing Mecklenburg County in my 4th term.

Why are you running?-I’m running for Congress because Washington is broken, and we need bold, conservative leadership able to deliver results — not rhetoric. That’s exactly what I’ve done in my 4-terms as a state legislator. Since being elected, I’ve been a champion of initiatives to lower taxes, attract more businesses to North Carolina, balance our state’s budget every year, and delivering the largest personal income tax cut in state history. I’ve also been a business owner — starting two companies from the ground up with my latest business servicing tens of thousands in this district. I know what it means to sign both the back and the front of a paycheck, and right now Americans are hurting. I’ll use my experience, both as a legislator and business owner, and bring a proven track record of getting things done to Washington.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-North Carolinians are facing multiple challenges at the moment. First, the southern border crisis—the effects of which go well beyond only border states. These open border policies are putting our families and wellbeing at risk, as the cost of illegal immigration is laid at the feet of taxpayers. The crime, deadly drugs like fentanyl, and the national security threat faced by the failure at our nation’s border must be faced. My first fight in Washington is to close the border. Next is fixing our economy and lowering inflation, which means fixing the out-of-control spending in Washington. The 34-trillion-dollar debt puts us in jeopardy, our children, and our future generations as well. In Raleigh, I balanced the state budget every year, helped save the state billions of dollars, and delivered the largest personal income tax cut in NC history. I want to bring the same conservative solutions to Washington and end reckless spending. We have to bring real solutions to fix our economy and inflation. I know that is a talking point for most candidates, but I am the only one running for this seat with experience balancing a state budget and bringing in new revenue to offset a bad economy.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-As Israel is the United States’ closest ally, I am a firm advocate for supporting Israel during this ongoing conflict and its fight to eliminate the threat against itself from Hamas. Israel is a stabilizing presence and the only democracy in the Middle East, and it is critical that they are able to continue prospering while the United States maintains its collaborative relationship with the country. As Israel continues to protect itself from the hateful attacks from Hamas, we must continue being an ally, provide military resources as needed, and support their fight. As a State Representative, I proudly supported bills affirming our state’s support for Israel. In dealing with the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the Biden administration should have given Ukraine the weapons they needed to defend itself before Russia invaded instead of an endless stream of money without any accountability. While we ensure Ukraine is equipped to defend their border, we must make sure that any assistance given to the country is centered around a strategy to bring this war to an end and prioritize accountability. However, before the United States sends any more funds for Ukraine to defend its border, we must fix our own border.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?-Congress must close the border immediately and do away with the open border policies that have allowed this spiraling southern border crisis and record high illegal immigration. Then, the wall that President Trump started to build must be finished, and any illegal immigrants caught crossing the border or found within the United States must be sent back. Furthermore, we have to reinstate the remain in Mexico policy that the Biden administration ended. I’ve worked to pass legislation ending sanctuary cities and prioritizing the rights of American citizens. In Congress, I’ll build the wall, secure our border, and stop the flow of drugs and protect our families.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I’m bringing proven experience and real solutions to this race, being the only one who has served in office previously. As a legislator, I worked to bring real solutions to fix the problems our state is facing. I’ve fought to lower taxes, helped initiate the largest cut to state income tax in state history, balanced our state’s budget, and brought new opportunities to North Carolina—bolstering our revenue. I’ve been a leader in outlawing sanctuary cities, strengthening local law enforcement, empowering parents to have a greater say in their children’s education, and passing voter ID to protect our elections.

Don Brown (R)

What is your occupation?-Author/Attorney.

Why are you running?-To fight to restore original-intent constitutional order and sanity to the federal governmental process.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-The Fentanyl crisis fueled by the democrats’ insane and idiotic open-border policies. Per the CDC 107,000 Americans died from Fentanyl from Aug 2012 - Aug 2022. I am the only candidate in the nation calling for the federal death penalty for fentanyl traffickers.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-In Ukraine-Russia the U.S. could try and broker a cease-fire and a peace agreement, but no more money for Ukraine. Israel is different. Israel is one of America’s closest and most valuable democratic allies, and the Judaeo-Christian bonds that bind America to Israel put it on a higher plane of greater importance to the United States than Ukraine. The United States should offer protection, including military protection for Israel, if necessary.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?- Bring in the U.S. military to shut the border, tight as a drum. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution mandates that the federal government protect the states from invasion, which the border crisis has become. At this point, the border has become a military problem, it’s beyond the capabilities of the Border Patrol and ICE. The border problem has become an existential national emergency, justifying military intervention.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-My record, both in the U.S. military and as a constitutional lawyer, is more fully set forth below:

  • I served as a US Navy JAG Officer.
  • My last duty station was at the Pentagon, where I advised the Secretary of the Navy on military affairs.
  • Studied International Law through the U.S. Naval War College.
  • Authored 15 books on the military, including three national bestsellers.
  • Have appeared as a subject matter expert on Fox News and other outlets on military and legal matters.
  • As a civilian attorney and ex-JAG Officer, led an internal investigation into the shootdown of a U.S. military chopper, Extortion 17, shot down in Afghanistan in 2011, killing 30 Americans, including 17 members of SEAL Team Six.
  • Wrote a book, CALL SIGN Extotion 17, posting findings of the shootdown.
  • Appeared as principal subject matter expert in the movie FALLEN ANGEL: Extortion 17, distributed by Salem Media, based on my book CALL SIGN Extortion 17.
  • Persuaded the House Armed Services Committee, headed by former Chairman Mac Thornberry, working with former Congressman Walter Jones, to launch an internal investigation of the Extortion 17 shootdown.
  • Appeared as a guest speaker at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (twice), the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, and the National World War II Museum.
  • Written multiple national OPEDs on military and legal matters, including on Fox News, The Hannity Show, the Washington Times, the New York Post, American Thinker, and other venues.
  • Lectured in multiple venues on the United States Constitution.
  • Represented former U.S. Army paratrooper, Lieutenant Clint Lorance (82nd Airborne Division) successfully obtaining a pardon from President Trump from political prosecution under Obama’s Pentagon.
  • Battled Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates, representing Christians before the EEOC whose jobs were threatened for refusing the jab, and took one case, with nearly 100 Americans, to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, before Biden backed down on the mandates.
  • My collective set of experiences, both as a military expert, a bestselling author, and a constitutional lawyer provide a unique skill set that makes me uniquely qualified to step in and serve the citizens of the 8th District from Day 1.

Linda Brown (R)

What is your occupation?-Small Business owner, real estate broker, author, and public speaker

Why are you running?-This election is a turning point. We can either choose fresh options who are driven by service to others-or continue electing those who want positions and power. Our Founding Fathers designed this country to be run by citizens who took a turn in service and then returned home. I not only support term limits but have chaired the project in NC for the past few years. We have to end the era of elite power and return that power to the citizens.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-I will support every effort to close the border, enforce our immigration laws, and ensure the integrity of this great nation. The open borders are having devastating effects on the economy, public safety (human trafficking and fentanyl in specific), and our national identity. We’re past due on addressing this crisis with not just immediate border closure but on immigration reforms as well.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-We’ve already sent over 100 BILLION to Ukraine and have no accounting of where it has gone. The taxpayers should never have been involved in this centuries-old conflict and we should not be involved now. Israel has always been our ally in the Middle East and when she was attacked on October 7, we rightly supported.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?-Thousands of people are crossing our borders illegally and being sent into our communities. We must secure our border and enforce the laws that are on the books.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I’m not a career politician, nor do I aspire to be. I’m a business owner and mom who believes this is a crucial time in the life of our country for common-sense people to raise a hand and serve. I love this country and I’m willing to make the sacrifice so my kids can experience the blessings of liberty. I’m a communicator who knows how to defend my positions-and will defend yours. I’m not someone who can be bought or canceled-I already belong to Jesus. I fully support term limits for members of congress. To that end, you will find me in the local grocery store both during and after my service; where I was born, raised, and will always be proud to call home.

Mark Harris

Mark Harris (R)

What is your occupation?-Senior Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, Vice-President at Family Research Council

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-As I visit voters across the district, the border crisis is at the top of their minds. We must immediately close the border and use our military to help homeland security border security officers; remove immigrants who have not followed our laws, and then congress must act to tighten the asylum and immigration laws.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-America must help our friends in Israel and also push back against Russia. Providing arms to allow our aliens to fight their battle is the only way I would vote to help them. We cannot continue to send funds with no accountability.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?- Same as above. We must immediately close the border and use our military to help homeland security border security officers; remove immigrants who have not followed our laws, and then Congress must act to tighten the asylum and immigration laws.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-I am endorsed by the House Freedom Fund, NC Values Coalition and several members of congress. I have already won a general election race for Congress when over 139,000 voted for me. I have gone through new member orientation and have already have a good working relationship with members of the Freedom Caucus to hit the ground running.

Chris Maples (R)

What is your occupation?- U.S. Navy Veteran, Former Advisor to Congressman Dan Bishop

Why are you running?- I have been serving the people of the 8th congressional district since 2013 as an advisor to two of North Carolina’s greatest congressional representatives. As a veteran, educator, husband, and father – I’m ready to hit the ground running to serve the people of our great state with integrity and honor.

What is the most important issue in your district and how do you plan to address it?-You should not have to worry when your loved ones go out to the grocery store. Unfortunately, Joe Biden and the Democrats have allowed criminals to take over our streets -- looting stores, setting fire to buildings, and rioting in the streets. This has to end now. As a Member of Congress, I will restore law and order to our country by supporting law enforcement and other first responders, providing the resources needed to hire and retain our local heroes. I will also work to put violent offenders and career criminals behind bars, and keep them there, by eliminating the funding that is supporting activist prosecutors.

What role, if any, should the United States have in the Ukraine-Russia and Israel-Hamas conflicts?-The U.S. should support Ukraine through military equipment and training. I do not support sending American troops. Israel was unjustly attacked by the Terrorist group Hamas. They have the ability to seek out and destroy their attackers and the world should stand arm-and-arm with Israel against Hamas and all the Iranian proxy groups. Iran is responsible for more American deaths than any other nation in the world today. And they must pay for their aggression. Russia and Iran have tremendous amounts of extra cash due in part to the poor policies of Joe Biden.When gas was less than $2 a gallon, the Russian and Iranian economies were dismal. Due to the Socialist/Leftist economic policies of the Biden Administration, they now have exponentially more funding to wage war against the West. Additionally, President Biden’s efforts to send Iran Billions of Dollars has enabled them to use funds previously earmarked for other efforts to expand their aggression towards the West. Until the Biden Administration addresses the primary culprit is the attack on Israel, Iran, more innocent people die.

How should Congress address the issue of immigration at the U.S. border?-Secure America’s Borders. Recent reports indicate more than 13 million “got-a-ways” entered the U.S. in 2023. A nation that cannot secure its border is not a nation at all. No immigration policy will be worth the paper it’s written on until the border is secure. As a Member of Congress, I will also work to designate all Criminal Drug Cartels as “International Terrorist Organizations.” In short, completion of the border wall must begin now.

What sets you apart from your opponent?-A lifetime of service and experience representing the people of NC-08. I have come closer to serving the constituents in this district than any of my opponents.

Did not respond:

Allan Baucom

House District 73

Jonathan Almond (R)

What is your occupation?-Controller for franchise restaurant management group.

Why are you running?-New maps gave me a representative that I do not agree with principally. God continued to put it on my heart to run and after praying about it I believe now is the time to get involved.

What is the most important issue you want to tackle in your district and how will you address it?-Against government overreach: As the government continues to grow, so does its desire to dictate how people live their lives. In recent years we have seen the government tell small businesses they are not essential. They told people they must give up their rights to decide how to protect their health by mandating masks. At one point, they even suggested you could not participate in society without a vaccine that was “safe and effective”. I will fight to limit government overreach and to keep the power with the people.

Should North Carolina legalize casinos?-No.

Holly Edwards (R)

What is your occupation?-General Contractor

Why are you running?-The knowledge and experience I have gained as a small business owner and a prior local official, supporting jobs and a quality education system, working with local and state leaders, will allow me to continue to represent our citizens more effectively in Raleigh. I want to continue to be a pro-active voice and to continue to advocate for the priorities of our citizens.

What is the most important issue you want to tackle in your district and how will you address it?-We must continue to create and recruit good-paying jobs, emphasis on recruiting new industry and new businesses and strengthen our small businesses, in order for our citizens to be successful, productive and to be able to provide for their families. I support increasing the minimum wage and lowering income taxes, and providing training and educational opportunities - especially for our low-moderate income earners, our veterans and work-force families. I support a reassessment of the formulas used for budget allocations and re-evaluations for our high wealth vs low wealth county allocations.

Should North Carolina legalize casinos?-I am sensitive to the impact expanding casinos would have on our most vulnerable populations. I believe we would see an increase in our mental health issues, a negative impact on our family unit, both economically and structurally, and compromise the safety of our citizens. I would question and need additional facts and numbers regarding the overall impact vs the benefits as a revenue producer.

What if any reforms should be made to North Carolina’s alcohol laws?-North Carolina has enacted some of the strictest laws addressing use/abuse of alcohol and especially within our teen population and driving laws. Therefore, I believe we have effective laws, we just need to make sure they are enforced.

House District 82

Kevin Crutchfield (R)

What is your occupation?-I am the founder and CFO of Casco Signs which I run with my wife Cheryl. We also manage three other businesses: The Crutchfield Group, a real estate holding company and equipment leasing operation; Castaway Properties, LLC, as the majority owner and managing partner; and Crutchfield Farms, a recent venture providing high-quality locally raised beef.

Why are you running?-A few months before the primary election in March 2022, I had a conversation with Cheryl about a desire for public service. Then I received a call, asking if I would consider running for the North Carolina House for District 83, which covers portions of Cabarrus and Rowan counties. I decided to run, because I saw it as an opportunity to give back and positively affect the quality of life for North Carolinians, including my children and 9 grandchildren. I have been an active member of the GOP for several years, and when this chance to further serve my community presented itself, with prayerful consideration, I stepped up to run for this office.

What is the most important issue you want to tackle in your district and how will you address it?-Some of the largest issues in my district and across North Carolina is human trafficking, inflation and the increased cost of living (inflation) I am working with individuals within the hospitality industry and local nonprofits to compose legislation that I plan to introduce during the short session that mandates training for hospitality employees and staff to identify and report suspected human trafficking victims. Additionally, to address inflation, I will continue to fight bureaucratic red tape to curb unnecessary government regulation that increases the cost of products and services provided by the small business community. By driving small business costs lower, we can reduce the cost our consumers must pay.

Should North Carolina legalize casinos?-We already have legal casinos in North Carolina, the question is how do we regulate the industry as North Carolina continues to grow. There are many issues affected by such a decision that must be considered. Our state leaders are looking for a means to reduce both personal and corporate income tax, allowing that money to stay in the pockets of those who earned it and allowing corporations to reinvest that money within our state.

What if any reforms should be made to North Carolina’s alcohol laws?-House Bill 768 passed in 2022 during the short session, made many changes to the ABC laws across the state of North Carolina. In 2023 Senate Bill, 527 was proposed to make more changes to the ABC laws of the state of North Carolina. It Is my observation that ABC laws will continue to evolve as social and economic impacts are understood from prior changes I know of no specific changes at this moment that have been requested by anyone in the industry, but I suspect they will change based on history.

Brian Ecchevaria (R)

What is your occupation? Financial Advisor, Entrepreneur

Why are you running? Looking at my children, my aging parents, and the wife I promised to care for, I asked myself, what do you want life to look like ten years from today? Considering how things are going, I knew it was time to get more involved.

What is the most important issue you want to tackle in your district and how will you address it? Besides cities like Charlotte acting as a sanctuary city, the rising property taxes are slaughtering homeowners. North Carolina needs a homestead exemption to protect us from aggressively rising property taxes. No one should be taxed out of their home.

Should North Carolina legalize casinos? No.

What, if any, reforms should be made to North Carolina’s alcohol laws? I have not given much consideration to North Carolina’s alcohol laws. However, in the spirit of limited government, the government should not be in retail alcohol sales.

See the statewide election guide at this link

See more information on voting locations in Cabarrus County by clicking here.

(WATCH BELOW: Cabarrus County Schools district holds community meetings to talk realignment)