Can Gina Collias defeat a member of the House GOP leadership in North Carolina? PATRICK MCHENRY

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By Bob Schneider, February 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

Rep. Patrick McHenry is a Republican Deputy Whip in the U.S. House of Representatives, and a Vice-Chairman of the Finance Committee. An aggressive fundraiser, he has a substantial war chest and the arrogance that goes along with Members of Congress who think they do not have a reelection worry in the world.

He has punched all the right tickets to be a successful career politician. A former Karl Rove staffer in President Bush’s 2000 election, Mr. McHenry went on to serve a single term in the North Carolina House of Representatives before being elected to Congress, where he serves on the House Finance Committee.

Congressman McHenry is a party soldier. His partisan posturing was in full view when he reneged on an agreement to Senator Elizabeth Warren, an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and the GOP, who testified before McHenry’s subcommittee as a courtesy. From the chair, he accused her of lying. McHenry had promised the Senator a 2:15 hearing closing time, so the Senator could attend another meeting. As the time approached, he had a lapse of memory about the deal he made.

There are other controversies are surrounding Rep McHenry. He referred to a soldier in Baghdad’s Green Zone as a two-bit security guard. The Congressman once published a video from Baghdad that Veterans claim violated operations security and put soldiers at risk.

Financial controversies are surrounding Congressman McHenry. He gave 20,000 dollars from his PAC, to fund a former aide, Michael Aaron Lay, charged with voter fraud in McCarthy’s reelection. Mr. Lay came to a plea agreement that included fines and community service.

Critics also point to the Congressman taking money from Countrywide Financial, a firm at the center of the subprime mortgage scandal during the Recession of 2008/2009.

The Congressman survived these controversies and continued to be a good party soldier and fundraiser. He is confident he is bulletproof.

The landscape in 2018 is much different than in earlier days. The bombastic and divisive Donald Trump has changed things a great deal. However, this is North Carolina, a safe Red State, like Texas, right?

Maybe not. Maybe the political landscape in North Carolina is changing too. In September of 2017, The Elon University partnered with the Charlotte Observer and local TV Station WBTV to study a wide range of issue. You can read the poll by clicking here.

The results are in tune with the rest of the nation. According to findings of the poll, voters want more bipartisanship, more working together. The most surprising statistic for those who think North Carolina is safe is that a majority of voters are not happy with the job Donald Trump is doing. Just a few months ago, many thought Alabama was as safe Red State.

Gina Collias is an attorney in the District, a wife, and the Mother of three children. She is a life-long Republican who feels the 2016 election debased the GOP and the nation. Ms. Collias is not running on an anti-Trump campaign. She is interested in the congressional district.

“My opponent is a career Washington Politician, out of touch with what is going on in our district,’ Ms. Collias told me in an interview. “We need a bridge across the river so people can get to work. We’re an agricultural district, and the Financial crowd is not doing us much good.”

Ms. Collias is not pleased about Rep. McHenry being a darling of Wall Street to the detriment of the voters in the District. “He has a fundraiser scheduled in Jackson Hole Wyoming, who do you think will be there?” The glitzy ski area loved by the rich and famous is a long way from the farms and forests of North Carolina.

“We need someone who is in touch with the people and not more interested in career politics,” she added.

Ms. Collias is not worried about his fundraising advantage that his banking and Wall Street donors can provide. “I can get a sign on every block,” Ms. Collias proudly states.

Looking at the issues on her website, Gina Collias sounds like a Republican from another era. Her position on the new tax law is that “it needs a technical correction to protect the 99% of people it left behind.” I do not think Wall Street crowd will be kicking in her door to give her campaign donations.

Her campaign slogan is “Government with a moral compass.” On Healthcare, she states, “No hardworking American family should go broke trying to keep their families healthy.” She is not one of the Repeal Obamacare crowd. She believes we should fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act and not scrap the law.

She departs with her opponent in her views on the Environment. She believes in a balanced approach. Balance seems to be a theme with Ms. Collias.

While President Trump was sneering on Twitter about the Women’s March last month, Gina Collias, a Republican, was asked to speak at the march. News media put the attendance at around 2,000 attendees. That is a significant number to assemble in a mostly rural area.

In her speech, Ms. Collias stated, “I am a progressive, rational Republican.” Conventional wisdom says a progressive Republican cannot win a GOP primary in a Red State. Ms. Collias rejects that notion. She firmly believes if the independents, the unaffiliated, and Democrats pull a GOP ballot in the Primary Election, as well as unhappy Republicans, she can beat conventional wisdom.

One of the dangers of leadership is losing contact with home voters. Speaker of the House Tom Foley lost his seat after the Speaker became a Washingtonian first, as did Illinois’ Senator Chuck Percy. Is Congressman Patrick McHenry and his dedication to Wall Street and the GOP walking down a similar path?

We will have to wait and see. You can see Ms. Collias’ website by clickinghere. Her opponent’s website is here.

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