Rep. Mark Meadows’ (R-NC) decision to not seek another term has Republican activists scrambling. He made the announcement Thursday morning, a day after the deadline to switch races had passed. This means anyone who had filed for other seats such as General Assembly or County Commission is no longer eligible to run to succeed Meadows. Furthermore, with filing for a congressional seat costing around $1,700, there are few candidates who would be able to pull together a campaign with only one day remaining before filing closes.
Almost immediately after Meadows declared he was not running for re-election the Asheville Tea PAC announced it’s endorsement of Lynda Bennett for the seat. A Republican activist who requested anonymity stated, “With yesterday being the deadline for someone to change the office they were running for if they have already filed, it limits the options for the 11th, and makes it seem as though there is a handpicked successor.” Pete Kaliner, radio host on 570AM WWNC, reported that Bennet had already registered her campaign website on October 28th. A realtor from Maggie Valley, she is married to James Patrick Bennett, who gave a total of $600 to the Mark Meadows campaign in two seperate donations between 2012 and 2017.
George Erwin, a former Republican sheriff for Henderson County criticized Rep. Meadows over the move, stating on Facebook “This was a set up to stop any other GOP candidate from filing.”
Bennett’s husband was accused in January 2018 of providing Mayor Gavin Brown of Waynesville with a stack of blank deeds that Brown then forged the name of a notary onto the documents. Brown had been the attorney handling most of Bennett’s real estate transactions for years, as reported by the Mountaineer.
Any candidate wishing to run against Bennett in the primary has until tomorrow, December 20th, to file.