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Cornelius News

Bradford has early lead in House 98 race  


Nov. 8By Dave Vieser. [8 pm] Incumbent Rep. John Bradford has grabbed the early lead in the NC House District 98 contest and could very well be on his way to re-election. When the polls closed at 7:30 pm, Board of Elections officials released the results of this year’s record-breaking early vote, which showed Bradford ahead, 17,095 votes to 14,792, a seven percentage point lead.

Based on the early results, veteran election observers in North Mecklenburg see little chance that challenger Jane Campbell can catch Bradford, a Republican. “The early vote usually skews Democratic, so if Bradford is already ahead now, it will probably only get larger as today’s votes are counted,” a GOP source said.

Bradford is the founder of Park Avenue Properties, a Cornelius based residential property management and real estate investment firm with operations in three states and eight cities. Prior to starting his own business the Clemson graduate worked for both IBM, as well as ExxonMobil.

Bradford was widely acknowledged as one of the standard-bearers of the younger Republican Party and a leader in the anti-toll battle. With an outgoing personality, a quick grin, street cred among the anti-toll forces and $50,000 in his campaign war chest, he is a force in local politics.

While many eyes were focused on the impact the toll lanes would have on local voting, it was HB2 that turned House District 98’s contest into an actual race. Bradford initially looked likely to run unopposed, as no Democrat had filed to challenge him by the deadline.

Democrat Natasha Marcus, who ran a competitive but ultimately unsuccessful race against Bradford in 2014, opted not to run this year due to family commitments.

In 2014 Bradford beat Natasha Marcus 14,558 to 11,922, with all votes cast.

But just when it looked like Bradford would run unopposed, along came retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, a Davidson College graduate, who was spurred to run by her opposition to HB2 — and by Bradford’s sponsorship of the bill. Because the filing deadline had passed by the time HB2 became law, Campbell had to collect signatures to get on the ballot. She spent many a day collecting signatures, enough to appear as an unaffiliated candidate.

During the campaign, Republicans, including Bradford, repeatedly said she was really just a Democrat in disguise, a claim which apparently resonated successfully with voters in the solidly-GOP House 98 district.

In Cornelius there were 21,067 early votes cast through Saturday Nov. 5, a new record. Statewide early voting also shattered all previous vote counts.