The Republican National Convention is in full swing this week. Donald Trump will accept the party nomination following his announcement of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate. Selecting Pence is brilliant.
Before becoming Indiana’s governor, Pence was a six-time congressman and friend to Congressman Richard Hudson who represented Robeson.
The reason Trump picked Pence is balance and demeanor. As a former member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, he has international relations experience, and he checks all the conservative boxes. Describing Pence as Rush Limbaugh on decaf sums him up well.
Pence is a strong conservative but a soft-spoken man. He balances Trump’s bombastic style while bringing insider experience to Trump’s outsider campaign. Trump selected Pence because Democrats fear Pence the way they fear Trump, but for different reasons.
Pence was a Ted Cruz supporter, bringing an insider background that hushes the Never Trump crowd within the Republican Party. The establishment should not complain at this point.
Pence has little electoral utility otherwise. Even liberal leaning statisticians gave Trump an 84 percent chance of winning Pence’s home state of Indiana before selecting Pence.
Pence simply brings a unifying factor to the party. It is a ticket that reassures social conservatives who worry about Trump’s social conservative stability. It also provides the insider experience and calm demeanor needed to balance Trump’s more aggressive style.
A side benefit is Pence is known in the Midwest, which Trump needs. In a word, Pence simply contrasts Trump. Pence is a cautious man who stays on message as opposed to Trump who is more outspoken and speaks off-script. Large donors should now be more comfortable opening their checkbooks to counter Hillary’s fundraising.
Despite this thoughtful selection, Democrats and their media allies are pouncing on Pence. But they would say any selection was terrible. Imagine if Trump selected Gingrich, who is almost as outspoken as Trump.
We will hear a lot more about the stability of a Trump-Pence ticket in coming weeks. But conservatives now have the ingredients for success. The Hillary show will follow the Trump show next week.
Locally, it is hoped that this Trump train excitement will trickle down the ticket. While we will be talking a lot about how a Trump presidency will strengthen America, there are down-ticket folks who will help this change occur as well.
Gov. Pat McCrory has ensured state employees received the largest raises in years. And while some say it is an election- year ploy, Democratic governors didn’t even raise pay during election years, which makes the argument a bit hollow. McCrory will need another term to finish the job as his policies have resulted in surpluses rather than debt for a change. North Carolina is now competitive.
Local attorney Danny Britt is challenging the state Sen. Jane Smith. He already has outraised his opponent and promises to provide aggressive forward leaning representation for Robeson. This race is one to watch.
Brenden Jones is the odds on favorite to win the NC District 46 House seat. This is the seat formally held by G.L. Pridgen and is now an open seat. Jones won Robeson last election and has picked up the needed support in Columbus and Bladen to possibility secure the seat this cycle, as the incumbent is not running for re-election.
Lynn Locklear provides a choice to sitting commissioner Raymond Cummings in District 5. Cummings has struggled with close elections and Locklear promises another close challenge.
Locklear has a platform of reducing commissioner pay while supporting the funding of county volunteer fire and rescue retirement funds with the savings. He also has a concern regarding education development and ensuring county contracts are fair and unbiased.
While this week marks the final pieces of this conservative ticket that Trump leads and Pence balances, it is hoped that voters will support the entire conservative ticket this year. This ticket will make America great again.
Phillip Stephens is chairman of the Robeson County Republican Party.