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Every time I see it, I am taken aback. North Carolina is our ninth largest state.  Smaller than the big four – California, Texas, Florida, and New York.  Smaller than the next four – Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Georgia. Bigger than the rest.  Like the 8 largest states and all the other states, including the tiniest, North Carolina has two senators.  North Carolina has an enormously important Senatorial contest as Democrats work to retain and expand control of the Senate.  Republican Senator Richard Burr is retiring, so this is an Open Republican seat. North Carolina’s primaries are over; the competitors are decided.

US Senate Contest

Former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court Democrat Cheri Beasley (Political Note #434) v Congressman Ted Budd.

The Second most important contest is for North Carolina’s Supreme Court.  The Court, now composed of 4 Democrats and 3 Republicans set the conditions that led to Democrats and Republicans agreeing on district boundaries for 2020 and a change from 3 Democrats and 10 Republicans to 5 Democrats and 8 Republicans. The Court reset boundaries to reflect North Carolina’s now 14 Congressional districts, but only for 2022.  The Court will consider legislative proposals for redistricting – probably beginning in 2023.

Two judicial seats are up for election. One Democratic Justice is running for reelection.  Another Democratic Justice retired. The Democratic majority remains the same if incumbent the Democrat Justice is reelected and the Democrat seeking the other seat is elected.  The Republicans gain a majority if one Democrat loses, a larger majority if both Democrats lose.

North Carolina Supreme Court (Political Note #443)

Seat #3. North Carolina Appeals Court Judge Democrat Lucy Noble Inman is running for the open Democratic seat against North Carolina Appeals Court Judge Republican Richard Dietz

Seat #5. Incumbent Associate Supreme Court Justice Democrat Sam Ervin IV is running against Republican Attorney Trey Allen

 North Carolina is also a Congressional battleground.  Of its 14 seats, 7 potentially competitive seats are listed below.

Notable Congressional Races.

 NC 01 D+5 Democratic State Senator Don Davis is running against Republican accountant Sandy Smith (Open Democratic seat)

NC 06 D+9. Incumbent Democrat Kathy Manning (Political Note #103) v Former Green Beret Christian Castelli

NC 07 R+16 Democratic State Representative Charles Graham v Incumbent Republican David Rouzer

NC 09 R+11 Democratic State Senator Ben Clark v Incumbent Republican Richard Hudson

NC 11 R+14 Democratic County Commissioner Jasmine Beach-Ferrara v State Senator Chuck Edwards. (Open Republican seat)

NC 13 R+3 Democratic State Senator Wiley Nickel (Political Note #474) v former college football player, law student, and Trump endorsee Bo Hines (Open Republican seat)

NC 14 D+11 Democratic State Senator Jeff Jackson v Firearms industrialist Pat Harrigan (Newly created seat because of the census)

Of those listed above, 3 tilt or lean or more Democratic, 4 tilt or lean or more Republican.  Not listed above are 3 solidly Democratic seats and 4 solidly Republican seats.  North Carolina, therefore, is likely to have 8 Republican seats and 6 Democratic seats unless Wiley Nickel is elected to North Carolina 13.


June 18th, 2022      Political Note #474 Wiley Nickel North Carolina 13

2022                          General Election

Wally Nickel’s wife brought him to North Carolina.  He is a California boy – very much a California boy.  His great, great, great grandfather owned much of central California.  Henry Miller was a German who emigrated to New York City in 1946, Americanized his name, and moved on to California in 1850.  A butcher in San Francisco, he and a partner purchased Spanish land grants and raised cattle.  Eventually, he owned 1.4 million acres and controlled more.  He owned almost as much land in Oregon and Nevada as in California.

Henry Miller’s lands were broken up after his death – spoiled squabbling children according to one report.  George Nickel, Jr. whose father married into the Miller family, consolidated water rights.  Jim Nickel runs the family business. Jim’s grandson, Wiley Nickel (or George W. Nickel III according to a caustic family history) went to high school in Chicago.  His father died young of cancer.

Wiley Nickel went to the Francis W. Parker School – a private day school.  From there he went to Tulane in New Orleans and then to Pepperdine’s Law School in California.   His wife Caroline Edwards, a graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High school in Raleigh, NC, and the University of North Carolina, also graduated from Pepperdine Law

Before law school, Wiley Nickel was a staffer for Vice President Al Gore from 1996 to 2001.  After law school, he worked briefly in a prosecutor’s office and then ran for the California State Senate and lost.  The Republican incumbent Jeff Denham had been subjected to a recall effort in 2006 when he opposed the state budget and was one of a minority of State Senators who prevented the budget from passing. California’s constitution requires a super-majority to pass the state budget.  The recall, which was defeated by a 3-1 vote, may have raised Denham’s profile enough to make him hard to beat.  He defeated Wiley Nickel by a 3-2 majority.

Wiley Nickel returned to national politics and governance in 2008, He was a campaign staffer for Barack Obama and, after the campaign, worked in Obama’s White House, as a staffer and then as a consultant, until 2012.  Wiley Nickel’s wife became an associate at a Fresno, California law firm. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected in 2008, they moved to North Carolina. Wiley Nickel opened his own law office in North Carolina in 2011.

In 2009, Caroline Edwards Nickel became a corporate officer and co-owner of the family jewelry business in North Carolina.  In 2010, she became an associate at a law firm in Apex, North Carolina.  Twenty minutes from Raleigh, North Carolina’s capital, 25 minutes from Durham, the Duke University point in the Research Triangle, the Stam Law Firm notes in its website, how easy it is to park at its office.

Comfortably ensconced in Cary, North Carolina, Wiley Nickel opened a law practice in town.  For the long term, though, his interest was politics.  He spent more than $350,000 in 2018 to win State Senate District 16.  He replaced Josh Stein, a Democrat who ran for and is still North Carolina’s Attorney General.  Stein, the Democratic majority on the state supreme court, and the Democratic Governor represent a large part of Democratic success in North Carolina. Democrats achieved another success in 2018 when they elected enough members of the state Senate to eliminate the Republican supermajority and prevent overrides of vetoes by a Democratic governor.  In the State Senate, Wiley Nickel was an advocated for teachers’ pay, for expanding the definition of hate crimes and the creation of a hate crime data base in the state.

Wiley Nickel’s campaign for Congress begins with advocacy for fairness in taxes – raising corporate rates, reducing the burden on individuals, and increasing pay through a $15 per hour minimum wage.  He confronts efforts to suppress the vote and, echoing his role in the State Senate, he advocated support for public education.  If asked for a brief description, he might call himself a safe and reasonable Democrat.

Wiley Nickel’s Republican opponent is neither safe nor reasonable.  Twenty-six year old Bo Hines is Donald Trump’s choice.  He was Donald Trump’s choice before the North Carolina was redistricted.  He was Donald Trump’s choice when Bo Hines was running in the 5th District.  He was Donald Trump’s choice for North Carolina’s 13th.  Bo Hines won the primary for the 13th district.  He got a little more than 30% of the Republican vote, enough to escape a run off in North Carolina.  He defeated 7 or more other Republicans and spent more than a million dollars to win that primary.  He wasn’t extravagant, though.  Family Law Attorney Kelly Daughtry spent twice as much losing.

There was a  revolt of local conservatives against Donald Trump’s endorsement of Hines, but it didn’t get far.  Bo Hines ability to spend money and Donald Trump’s ability to generate about 30% of the vote in a Republican primary triumphed.  How Bo Hines will do in the general election is another story.  We could address Hines on the issues, but it would not get much farther than typical extreme Republican talking points.  Teachers, he claims, are advocating homosexuality in kindergarten.  Our rights are God-given and are absolute, he says.  That is particularly true, for him, for 2nd amendment rights.  It is not clear whether Bo Hines would support shouting fire in crowded theater.

The Republicans who opposed Hines complained he had little or no connection the Congressional District.  Defenders explain that he was lived in the district when he played football for North Carolina State and otherwise lived in Charlotte.  He lived in North Carolina even though his father lived in Michigan when he played for the Detroit Lions and in Canada when he played in the Canadian football league.  Bo Hines was a pretty good football player for North Carolina State until he transferred to Yale.  He wasn’t quite as good a player for Yale.  After four games, injuries kept him on the sidelines.

The Republican conservatives seemed to care more that Hines could not raise money in the district than his football disloyalty.  In a way, during the primary season, Bo Hines was a piker.  His self-funding was only $775,000 (from a trust fund, his Republican opponents explained).  Kelly Daughtry, who Hines defeated in the primary, spent nearly $3 million of her own money.  Wiley Nickel was able to compete in the Democratic primary contest.  He spent $900,000 of his own money.

Self-funding can raise a lot for a wealthy candidate, but outside individual contributions make a difference.  Large outside contributions make a big difference, but small contributions have their value.  Contributions of any size to Wiley Nickel will help defeat this candidate that Donald Trump loves.  Let’s turn this R+3 district blue.  Make sure that North Carolina has a Congressional delegation that has at least seven Democrats out of 14.  Donate to Wiley Nickel’s campaign.

Below is an updated list of races for the General Election, which have a slight tilt to Democrats or Republicans.  In this group of 19, there are 7 Democratic Incumbents and 4 Open Democratic seats; 6 Republican Incumbents and one Open Republican seat. There is also one new seat, a product of Colorado’s population growth.  Every one of the Democrats defending a seat can defend successfully. Every one of the Democrats attempting to flip a Republican seat can succeed.  Help provide the resources which helps them create a solid base for a Democratic House.

  1. CT 02* D+3 Incumbent Democrat Jahana Hayes (Political Note #454) v former State Senator Republican George Logan. Donate
  2. OR 05 D+3 Democratic primary winner Amy McLeod Skinner v former Republican Mayor Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Open Democratic Seat). Donate
  3. NY 18 D+3 Democratic County Executive Pat Ryan v Republican State Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (Open Democratic Seat). Donate
  4. MI 03 D+3 Democratic Attorney Hillary Scholten (Political Note #447) v Incumbent Republican Peter Meijer. Donate
  5. KS 03 R+3 Incumbent Democrat Sharice Davids (Political Note #412) v Long-time Republican figure Amanda Adkins. Donate
  6. NJ 07 R+3 Incumbent Democrat Tom Malinowski (Political Note #363) v former State Senate Republican Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr. Donate
  7. OH 01 R+3 City Councilman Democrat Greg Landsman (Political Note #452) v Incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. Donate
  8. NE 02 R+3 Democratic State Senator Tony Vargas (Political Note #453) v Incumbent Republican Don Bacon. Donate
  9. NC 13 R+3 Democratic Attorney Wiley Nickel (Political Note #474) v former college football player and law student Republican and Trump endorsee Bo Hines (Open Republican Seat). Donate
  10. CO 08 R+3 Democratic State Rep Yadira Caraveo (Political Note #461) v one of 5 Republicans (New Seat) Donate
  11. NV 01 D+4 Incumbent Democrat Dina Titus (Political Note #444) v one of four Republicans. Donate
  12. GA 02 D+4 Incumbent Democrat Sanford Bishop (Political Note #455) v one of two Republicans Donate
  13. NY 19 D+4 Democratic Attorney Josh Riley (Political Note #473) v County Executive Republican Marc Molinaro (Open Democratic Seat). Donate
  14. OH 13 R+4 Democratic State Rep Emilia Sykes (Political Note #460) v Republican Attorney Madison Gesiotto Gilbert (Open Democratic Seat). Donate
  15. NM 02 D+4 Democratic State Rep Gabe Vasquez (Political Note #423) v Incumbent Republican Yvette Herrell. Donate
  16. MI 07 R+4 Incumbent Democrat Elissa Slotkin (Political Note #378) v Republican State Senator Tom Barrett. Donate
  17. PA 07 R+4 Incumbent Democrat Susan Wild (Political Note #374) v Republican CEO Lisa Scheller. Donate
  18. CA 40 R+4 Physician Democrat Asif Mahmood (Political Note #456) v Incumbent Republican Young Kim. Donate
  19. IA 01 R+4 Democratic State Rep and law professor Christina Bohannan (Political Note #411) v Incumbent Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks. Donate

*CT 02’s Incumbent Joe Crowley is also D+3. He’s not on the list because I just cannot conceive of the seat being competitive.

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