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Cornelius News

Former NC Rep. John Bradford will run against Christy Clark

By Dave Vieser. The polls had just closed on Election Night this past November, and supporters of incumbent NC Rep. John Bradford III and Democratic challenger Christy Clark gathered a short distance from each other to watch the results come in. By all rights NC District 98 should have been an easy win for a rising star in the Republican party.

After all, it was the same district NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis served. Tillis, now US Sen. Tillis, had defeated incumbent John Rhodes in the primary. Rhodes was voted “least effective” by his peers in the House of Representatives.

One might say this was a Republican stronghold. All three were former members of the Cornelius Town Board.

But Clark, a Huntersville resident, squeaked by Bradford, 19,845 to 19,512.

Just six months after Clark was sworn in, Bradford says he will run against Clark in 2020. He’s ramped up his Facebook posts, where plenty of candidate marketing takes place. Campaign fundraisers will get under way this year.

Clark said she is up for the challenge—just six months into her term.

“In 2018, the voters of District 98 issued a referendum for change. Like them, I’m working to move Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson forward—not dwell on the past,” she said.

Advocating for more funding for public education, closing the medical coverage gap, clean air and water, improved transportation, first responders “is a joy and honor,” she said.

Bradford will be up against an incumbent who had plenty of support from the Democratic party in 2018.

Indeed, Democrats in the four most competitive state House races in Mecklenburg County, including Bradford’s, raised a total of $3 million. Their Republican opponents, all incumbents, raised only a third of that.

In District 98 alone, Clark outspent Bradford by nearly 5-to-1 which included $653,000 she received  from the state Democratic Party.

Clark was making her first run at elective office, having been a North Carolina chapter leader of Moms Demand Action, working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to thwart gun violence.

She went after Bradford’s early—but short-lived—support of toll lanes, costing him a significant number of votes in much the same way former Gov. Pat McCrory was defeated.

Meanwhile, District 98 continues to see an influx of new residents, changing voting patterns in key precincts. The mobility rate for the district, which includes Davidson, Cornelius and most of Huntersville, is higher than the statewide average. The trend, which is happening across North Carolina, is expected to continue, with incoming voters tend to be more independent than the long-time area residents.

Bradford has the backing of Tricia Sisson, the current chair of the Lake Norman Chamber, as well as former chairs Callan Bryan, John Hettwer and Joshua Dobi.

Bradford owns and operates two District 98-based companies: Park Avenue Properties and PetScreening.com. He has a BS degree in Engineering from Clemson University and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Memphis. He is the father of four children and is married to Shea.

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