LEE COUNTY: Republicans hear from candidates at county convention

Mar. 16, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Local and state Republican candidates pitched their platforms to Lee County conservatives during the local GOP Convention Saturday.

Lee County Republicans heard short stump speeches from more than a dozen candidates or their varying representatives at the Lee County Republican Headquarters on Steele Street. The gathering, open to all registered Lee County Republicans, also featured updates from the local Men's and Women's Republican clubs and elected 36 delegates for the GOP district and state conventions.

Lee County Republican Party Chairman Charles Staley said he thought the convention was great and he was pleased with the turnout.

Keynote speaker N.C. Sen. Ronald Rabin, who represents Lee and Harnett counties and a sliver of Johnston County, said he was proud of what the North Carolina General Assembly was able to accomplish and thanked local volunteers.

"The first thing I want to do is thank all the folks here in this room," Rabin said. "You make stuff happen. You make the process work and put the conservative cause back online in the state of North Carolina. In the end, it's the hardcore (volunteers) at the local level who win the elections and carries the day."

Attendees heard from incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers and primary challenger Frank Roche for the U.S. House District 2 race.

Susan Tillis, wife of N.C. Speaker of the House and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, vouched for her husband and East Sanford Baptist Church Senior Pastor Robbie Gibson stumped for Charlotte pastor Mark Harris, who is also seeking the Republican Party's nod for Senate.

N.C. Rep. Mike Stone, who represents Lee and Harnett counties, and Rabin both said they intend to keep their General Assembly seats.

Three Lee County Board of Education candidates — Sandra Bowen, Christine Curkendall and David Schau — made their pitches to audience members. A host of judicial candidates also spoke during the convention. 

Max Dolan, a former candidate for office, asked his conservative cohorts to volunteer throughout the election process.

"I encourage each and everyone of you to volunteer," he said. "To man the phones, come to the county line, but don't dare cross the line, put yard signs up and pass out palm cards so we can sweep it this year."