2024 voter guide: Research candidates on Iredell County primary ballots

Iredell County voters started marking their ballots Feb. 15 for North Carolina’s primary elections, with federal, state and local positions up for grabs.

In addition to top-of-the ballot races such as president and governor, voters will pick their political parties’ nominees in races for school board, the state legislature and Congress.

In North Carolina, registered Democrats can vote only in Democratic primaries and registered Republicans in Republican primaries. Unaffiliated voters can choose to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary, but they may only vote in one party’s primary race.

Early primary voting began Feb. 15, and Election Day is March 5.

Check your registration, see your sample ballot and find where to vote at vt.ncsbe.gov/RegLkup.

In preparation for the election, The Charlotte Observer sent surveys to candidates asking questions about their backgrounds and platforms. They have been lightly edited for clarity and grammar. Answers below are for Congress, state legislature and county commissioner.

Voters may also have a District 2 election for the Iredell-Statesville school board on their ballot and a referendum to allow four-year terms on the Iredell County Board of Commissioners

North Carolina Congressional Districts

N.C. 10th Congressional District

Voters can choose one of the five candidates. Charles Eller and Pat Harrigan didn’t respond to the Observer’s questionnaire.

Harrigan, who runs a gun manufacturing business, unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2022 against Democrat Jeff Jackson in the 14th Congressional District. Among other issues, Harrigan says he supports constitutional carry, opposes red flag laws, wants stronger border security, “defends women’s sports” and opposes widespread casino gambling.

Eller is a businessman who works now as a residential solar energy consultant. Eller wants to cut federal money to universities “that embrace CRT, DEI and cultural Marxism,” according to his website. Eller’s website says he also wants to prevent the Chinese Communist Party from buying farmland to build factories and put “God back in our schools”

Diana Jimison

Diana Jimison Photo submitted
Diana Jimison Photo submitted

District: 10

Political party: Republican

Age as of March 5, 2024: 51

Campaign website: N/A

Current occupation: RN Case Mgr

Professional experience: 19 years of case management and nursing

Education: Associate Degree in Nursing

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? Write in for NC-10 Congress 2022

What is the issue that you see as most relevant to constituents in your district, and what will you do to address it? Taxation, economy, and the border. Fight to repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Work to shut the borders down and end the senseless spending on non citizens when we have Americans suffering.

Is there an issue on which you disagree with your party? What is your position on that issue? Only those who agree with democratic policies and poorly represent conservative values.

What is the government doing, if anything, that you see as a waste of taxpayer money? Sending monies to other countries, giving $5,000 to non-citizens monthly.

Should spending increases trigger automatic increases to the U.S. debt limit so that political gridlock does not cause the country to default on its debts? No

What federal legislation, if any, would you support on abortion? Taxes should not fund abortions as they go against those who believe and serve God. This is a biblical issue and the government politicized it after instituting the law that churches could not support, endorse or oppose politicians. A devious move. . We need to look at ways to prevent pregnancies and I believe filling young minds up with a sexualized agenda stimulates increased sexual activity. Stop the perversion in the schools.

What changes in U.S. immigration enforcement and restrictions would you support? Shut the borders. Build the wall.

What legislation would you support to make Americans safer from mass shootings and other violent crime? Studies show that cities with stringent gun laws have increased crime rates. Constitutional carry would reduce crime. Do not interfere with law abiding citizens protecting themselves or their family or any other individual. I defer my votes to patriot Brook McGowen to help keep more rich men from going to Washington.

Brooke McGowan

District: 10

Political party: Republican

Age as of March 5, 2024: 53

Campaign website BrookeforNC.com

Current occupation Political commentator

Professional experience Conservative Grassroots Activist

Education Bachelors Degree

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? I ran for state senate office in 2016. I was a City Council ad-hoc committee member appointee

What is the issue that you see as most relevant to constituents in your district, and what will you do to address it? Covid response; necessary investigations to prevent another lockdown, secure border and execute an immediate deportation plan; 34 trillion dollar abyss, my district wants fraud investigations

Is there an issue on which you disagree with your party? What is your position on that issue? Ukraine; it appears to be a financial boondoggle and military industrial complex deals

What is the government doing, if anything, that you see as a waste of taxpayer money? The recent outpouring of Covid money distributed at $560 Billion and no trace of it. All fraudulent

Should spending increases trigger automatic increases to the U.S. debt limit so that political gridlock does not cause the country to default on its debts? BY NO MEANS! Clean it up! When the septic tank backs into the house do we raise the roof?

What federal legislation, if any, would you support on abortion? None. It should have always been a state issue.

What changes in U.S. immigration enforcement and restrictions would you support? Is there any immigration enforcement? It appears we are funding an invasion of our homeland.

What legislation would you support to make Americans safer from mass shootings and other violent crime? I support Constitutional Carry, but again, that is a state issue.

Grey Mills

District: 10

Political party: Republican

Age as of March 5, 2024: 57

Campaign website: greymillsnc.com

Current occupation: Attorney

Professional experience: High School Educator, Attorney, State Representative

Education: Appalachian State, B.A. Education Regent University, J.D.

What offices have you run for or held before? Have you had any other notable government or civic involvement? 4 Term State Representative

What is the issue that you see as most relevant to constituents in your district, and what will you do to address it? The number one issue I hear about is the disaster at our Southern Border. I will finish the wall, fully fund border patrol, reinstate Remain in Mexico and oppose a pathway to citizenship. Whether it’s drugs, members of the terror watch list, or illegal aliens, we cannot wait to get serious on the border. In the State House, I helped strengthen the punishment for fentanyl distribution, and required that sheriff departments cooperate with ICE officials.

Is there an issue on which you disagree with your party? What is your position on that issue? Spending. For too long, Republicans have joined Democrats in looking the other way on spending bills. This is a national security crisis and needs to be treated as such. We cannot spend money we don’t have, and we need to pass a balanced budget amendment. We expect every American to balance their personal budget, and every business to do the same, there is no reason DC should be exempt.

What is the government doing, if anything, that you see as a waste of taxpayer money? I believe we need to do a 5% reduction across the board. The government has become so bloated that office buildings in DC have become breeding grounds for bureaucrats’ personal agendas at our expense. We need to abolish the Department of Education and the IRS. I also believe we need to reassess our position on Ukraine. We are sending them billions, but to date, no one has clearly outlined our goal or a path to victory.

Should spending increases trigger automatic increases to the U.S. debt limit so that political gridlock does not cause the country to default on its debts? I do not and will not support any increase in spending that doesn’t come with cuts elsewhere. We are in this position because people are afraid to stand up and say no. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. In Raleigh, we pass a balanced budget every 2 years because we cut out the waste, fraud, and abuse. Washington needs to take a page from Raleigh and get serious on spending. The way we do that is passing a balanced budget amendment.

What federal legislation, if any, would you support on abortion? The overturning of Roe Vs. Wade has saved the lives of millions of babies. Right here in North Carolina, we reduced the window to 12 weeks, which I fully support. As a member of Congress, I will fight to ensure that federal dollars are not being used to sponsor abortions or agencies like planned parenthood and review legislation as it comes to my desk as I always have.

What changes in U.S. immigration enforcement and restrictions would you support? First and foremost, we need to return to the Remain in Mexico policy of President Trump. We cannot continue to foot the bill for the travel and lodging of those who are coming here illegally as Joe Biden has done. This is not only a financial problem but a national security one. We have no idea who is coming in and what their intentions are. We cannot continue on this path until we secure the border.

What legislation would you support to make Americans safer from mass shootings and other violent crime? The more we empower individuals to defend themselves, the safer we will be. I believe we need to pass national constitutional carry so every law-abiding American citizen has the ability to defend themself and their loved ones from danger wherever they may be.

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North Carolina House of Representatives

N.C. House District 84 (GOP)

Voters can choose one of two candidates in the Republican primary. There is no Democratic primary.

John “Doug” Gallina didn’t respond to the Observer’s voter guide. On his campaign website, Gallina says he served in the N.C. National Guard, and he received a Purple Heart Award after suffering an injury while being deployed to Iraq. After his deployment, Gallina became a general contractor. On his website, Gallina says he wants to create “a fair budget,” supports school choice, is opposed to legalized gambling, wants to stregthen punishments for repeat offenders and “is a firm defender of the sanctity of life.”

Jeffrey C. McNeely

Rep. Jeffrey C McNeely N.C. General Assembly
Rep. Jeffrey C McNeely N.C. General Assembly

Age as of Nov. 5, 2024: 60

Party affiliation and office you’re seeking: Republican

Campaign website or social media page: jeffmcneely.com

Occupation: G & M Milling Co / Owner

Education: B. S. In Agriculture Economics/ North Carolina State University

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought or held)

County Commissioner elected 2016

Please list your highlights of civic involvement

Elder New Sterling ARP, 4th Creek Rotary Officer, Boy Scouts Asst. Scout Master 348, Little League Coach

What are, in your view, the most important issues facing your district, and what would your approach be to handling them if elected?

Growth/traffic. Make Farming more profitable, and increase Transportation funding.

Legislation such as the Parent’s Bill of Rights have made headlines in North Carolina and beyond. Should topics such as Critical Race Theory and gender identity be taught or discussed in schools? Why or why not?

No! They are unproven theories. Nobody is better than anyone else.

Can legislators of different parties find agreement and pass bipartisan legislation on major social issues such as crime, gun violence, health care, education and sexuality and gender topics? Why or why not?

Yes. Medicaid expansion was passed.

Is there an area where you disagree with your party on local or state issues? Why?

Not really. I’m the Chair of House Agriculture and Transportation. I write a lot of the policies we put forth.

What separates you from your opponent(s) and makes you the best candidate on the ballot?

24 years vs. 0 years of experience. I don’t have to be trained , I’m already in the Game. Experience Matters

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Iredell County Commission

Iredell County commissioner (GOP)

Voters will be able to pick up to three of the seven candidates running for office. There is no Democratic primary. Of the candidates on the ballot, only Brad Howard, Angela Wokatsch Matthews and H. William Compton Jr. responded to the Observer’s survey.

Melissa Neader, Gene Houpe and Scottie Brown are current board members seeking reelection.

Brad Howard

Age as of November 5th, 2024: 48

Campaign Website: www.howardforiredell.com

Party Affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Real estate

Education: UNC Charlotte Belk College of Business

Have you ever run for office before? Yes, Iredell County Commissioner in 2006 and 2008

Highlights of Civic Involvement:

My contributions extend far beyond my business endeavors. I played a pivotal role in the creation of the Mooresville-South Iredell Developer Council and the Lake Norman Managed Growth Alliance, a platform that aims to seek innovative community-focused solutions. I have also served on the board of the Mooresville-South Iredell Chamber of Commerce, as President of the Lake Norman Home Builders Association, on the Iredell County Tax Board, and many additional oversight boards. I have gained a reputation as an honest businessman who genuinely cares about the concerns of the community.

What are the three most important issues in Iredell County today? And how do you plan to address them?

I grew up in Mooresville nearly 50 years ago and have witnessed the transformation of Iredell County. Proper, long-range land planning and directed paths for infrastructure are key to successful development. One must make these decisions looking 10, 20, and 30 years into the future at the impact they will have on our children and grandchildren.

In my opinion, the most pressing capital projects are the school infrastructure and public safety. The state of North Carolina General Assembly requires the county to build school facilities. We must have open, honest dialogues regarding how to properly plan for schools, public safety, and infrastructure. There are a variety of funding opportunities that will be explored. I will be transparent as I explore those options.

Iredell County has been the beneficiary of rapid population and business growth, particularly in its southern half. What’s your view about how it’s changed the area for the better or worse?

This is my professional expertise and a key asset I would bring as Iredell County Commissioner. I’ve seen the changes firsthand, as I grew up on a dirt road in Mooresville and have witnessed the transformation of Iredell County. Proper, long-range land planning and directed paths for infrastructure are key to successful development. One must make these decisions looking 5, 10, and 15 years into the future. As we all know, people will continue to move to Iredell County, as it’s one of the fastest growing and desirable counties in the state. Furthermore, even more growth is coming down the pipeline. We must have open, honest dialogues regarding how to properly plan for schools, public safety, and infrastructure.

What’s one idea you’ve got to make county government work better for Iredell residents and visitors?

With the recent tax increase, we need transparent and effective leadership, and I am ready to serve. I believe in freedom and reasonable conversation, and that we need a solutions-first attitude. If elected, residents can “expect more” from me. I will put my business-minded experience to work in order to protect taxpayers, improve how our local government works for all residents, and help attract new businesses and jobs to our county.

What separates you from your opponents and makes you the best choice on the ballot?

Having lived in Iredell County for the majority of my life, I am extremely passionate about improving the county. As a business leader, I am eager to apply my skills and expertise to ensure Iredell County prospers for generations to come. I stand for fiscal responsibility, accessibility, accountability and representation. Residents of Iredell County can “expect more” from me as I am committed to making an impact for the people.

My campaign priorities include fiscal conservatism and transparent tax policies, preserving, protecting and growing our agricultural heritage, education choice for all families, enhancing the county’s infrastructure to support the growing needs as our population increases, supporting the crucial role of law enforcement spanning fire departments and first responders to ensure a safe and secure community, advocating for property rights, creating new employment opportunities to foster a thriving job market, and focusing on a balanced and sustainable economy.

I am ready to lead Iredell County as commissioner with my proven experience in business, dedication to the community and my willingness to roll up my sleeves to figure out a solution that benefits our residents.

Angela Wokatsch Matthews

Age as of Nov. 5, 2024: 51

Campaign website or social media page: Angela Wokatsch Matthews on Facebook

Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: CPA

Education: BA in Accounting

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought or held): Yes, 2022 for Iredell County Commissioner

Please list your highlights of civic involvement:

Treasurer of Boys & Girls Club, Volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Pregnancy Resource Center, Yokefellow Ministries, Iredell Christian Ministries, Miss Statesville Pageant, Foundation of Hope Ministries

What are the three most important issues in Iredell County today? And how do you plan to address them?

Lowering county taxes by exploring new revenue streams & aggressively pursuing commercial growth to keep pace with residential growth.Maintaining healthy balanced growth by increasing permitting fees where allowed & modifying policy to favor the existing land owners. Supporting first responders with competitive salaries & benefits so that our county retains the very best for our residents.

Iredell County has been the beneficiary of rapid population and business growth, particularly in its southern half. What’s your view about how it’s changed the area for the better or worse?

We have seen unsustainable burdens on our roadways & our schools. Growth can be a blessing & a curse. We have access to many needed businesses & have seen a variety of new stores in our area. We must ensure that the growth is advantageous for those who live work & recreate in Iredell.

What’s one idea you’ve got to make county government work better for Iredell residents and visitors?

Better communication & more open conversations. It will take a team effort & we all must be open to new options due to the new problems we are facing.

What separates you from your opponents and makes you the best choice on the ballot?

Since age 14 I have been educated in the area of finance, economics & accounting. Working in public accounting, I have clients in almost every sector of business. I have also seen what works in other counties & other states. I want to focus on voluntary taxes to sustain local government as opposed to mandatory taxes which include property taxes. People work hard to pay for their homes & then to be burdened with rising property taxes doesnt seem fair. We have options, let’s try them.

H. William Compton Jr.

Age as of Nov. 5, 2024: 68

Campaign website or social media page: Currently no website.

Party affiliation: Republican

Occupation: Retired. Educator/Teacher/Volunteer.

Education: University of North Carolina Charlotte. BA. Mitchell Community College AA

Have you run for elected office before? (Please list previous offices sought or held): Sought Mooresville town board in 2019.

Please list your highlights of civic involvement

Educator/ Teacher/ Volunteer

What are the three most important issues in Iredell County today? And how do you plan to address them?

Budget Transparency . Will send out Quarterly Budget Reviews showing where money has been spent and what’s left in there Budget. Taxes. Lower property taxes. I plan to seek; to lower the reevaluated property values making lower taxes possible. Also Cap the reevaluating values of property. New Schools. Hopefully Bonds and Grants will help along with money from Lotto and ABC sales. Sheriff resource officers along with Medic EMT and Fireman are needed to help with Teaching CPR and More.

Iredell County has been the beneficiary of rapid population and business growth, particularly in its southern half. What’s your view about how it’s changed the area for the better or worse?

Infrastructure has to be in place before mass developments. Including county water. Land needs to be preserved for Police Medic Fire and Parks.

What’s one idea you’ve got to make county government work better for Iredell residents and visitors?

Town Hall Meetings through out the County would greatly help with Transparency and help our citizens voice there concerns. A County News letter every Quarter with a Budget review would be a great help to make government work better.

What separates you from your opponents and makes you the best choice on the ballot?

I have served on Nonprofit Boards and understand the need to ask for help; when it’s really needed. We have to work with State and Federal government so we can move forward for the future. Also collaboration with businesses to help all of our Citizens.

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