NC House District 82 was already one race The Cycle was watching closely since it was redrawn to be more competitive for the 2020 election. Now with incumbent Linda Johnson announcing her retirement from the House, this swing seat has become the subject of competitive primaries in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
The Republican Primary
In the Republican primary, Johnson has endorsed Parish Moffitt, an airline pilot, and conservative activist. Moffitt was a candidate for NC Senate 36 in 2016 when Fletcher Hartsell vacated that seat. Moffit has been volunteering as a District Liaison for over a year. In his official announcement of candidacy, he stated “Our economy, our state’s fiscal health, and our public schools are stronger because of her service and her leadership. I share Representative Johnson’s commitment to conservative values, limited government, low taxes, and ensuring all North Carolina students have the opportunity to receive a quality education.” He will face Dr. Kristin Baker and William Hamby in the primary.
Dr. Baker is a children’s psychiatrist based in Concord and a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. She has not yet listed any issues on her website and did not respond to a request by The Cycle. Her Facebook page declares that she is a lifelong Republican and a “conservative psychiatrist”. A look at her history of donations shows that she recently gave to the congressional campaign of Rep. Richard Hudson. Her husband Scott Baker has a history of donations that stretches back to 2006 and includes candidates like Robin Hayes and Richard Hudson. Dr. Baker is also involved on the local level in organizations like the Cannon School in Concord where she serves on the Board of Visitors.
Hamby was elected to Court District 19A in 1992 and became Chief Judge in 1998, a position he held until retiring in 2018. Before his time in the court, he served as a commissioner for Cabarrus County and has been the town attorney for Harrisburg. He has no online presence for his campaign but in interviews with other publications has highlighted his experience with law and leadership.
The Democratic Primary
On the Democratic side of the District 82 race, Aimy Steele will face William Pilkington. Steele previously ran against Linda Johnson in 2018, losing by a margin of fewer than 2,000 votes. From 2014 to 2018 she served as the Principal of Beverly Hills Elementary in School in Cabarrus County. On her campaign website she states “I can no longer sit by and watch teachers debate whether they should work an extra job or spend more time prepping for class.”
Pilkington served as the Public Health Director for Cabarrus County until stepping down in the fall of 2019. Registered as unaffiliated for most of his life, Pilkington attempted to run for State Senate in 2016 as an independent. However, he failed to obtain the 5,100 signatures required to appear on the ballot. Since then he has registered as a Democrat and is running in the primary. When he ran in 2016, he stated in an interview with the Independent Tribune that “…it is important that we elect leaders who have the courage to vote in the best interests of the citizens and not the party.”
For more of The Cycle’s coverage of the 2020 election, check here.