House District 64 Primary Preview

In other articles, we have given attention to primaries that are taking place in districts that have the potential to swing control of the NC House. Our next series previews primaries in seats that are not currently expected to change parties. However, these seats will still have an impact on the character of the Assembly as well, determining which voices within a party become the most audible. First up, we will be covering the District 64 Primary.

Eric Henry will be the candidate for the Democratic Party in the heavily Republican 64th District that contains southern Alamance County, but the Republican primary will have to be settled before his opponent is known. The district had already favored Republicans and is likely to favor them even more now that more Republican precincts were moved into the 64th from neighboring District 63, which was drawn to be more competitive.

Left to Right: Eric Henry, Rep. Dennis Riddell (R), Peter McClelland.
Photos from Eric Henry’s Facebook Page, www.ncleg.gove, and

Rep. Dennis Riddell (R) has served four terms in the State House and is hoping for a fifth. First, Riddell will have to get past a primary challenge from Peter McClelland in the District 64 Primary.

McClelland works for a cybersecurity risk-assessment company called Threat Sketch and represents them on the Department of Homeland Security’s Information and Communications Technology Supply Chain Risk Management Task Force. McClelland is running a campaign focused on cybersecurity and bringing a new generation of leadership to Raleigh. He is calling for the addition of an amendment to the State Constitution that affirms the right to life “from the womb to the tomb,” supports school choice, and is calling for stricter privacy laws. In a statement to The Cycle, he stated: “I’m running because I believe the Republican Party cannot secure a conservative future for our state and communities unless a new generation of conservative leaders steps up.”

Rep. Riddell has tended to vote along party lines and a recent scorecard released by the conservative group Civitas Action ranked him 17th in the House of Representatives, with a score of 82.4. A retired Merchant Marine, Riddell is also a former high school social studies teacher and currently owns a thermography company with his wife.

He spent a good portion of 2019 pursuing reform of North Carolina’s criminal code and in April introduced HB 1010, entitled “Criminal Law Reform”. In November 2019 he gave an interview to the Carolina Journal in which he outlined some of his concerns regarding the current criminal code. His work was part of a joint effort by the Recodification Work Group, a bipartisan group that included current Lt. Governor candidate Sen. Andy Wells. Chief among the concerns that he highlighted in his interview with Carolina Journal was overcriminalization that results from the many layers of government that can create a crime. This results from the General Assembly’s practice of granting powers to departments, committees, or local boards to institute rules or ordinances that act as crimes. Riddell has attempted to reduce the likelihood of citizens breaking laws they are unaware exist.

Riddell has never faced a Republican primary and of the four terms he served he only faced a Democratic opponent twice.

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