NC’s 6th District race has something in common with the 2nd District race — the incumbent won’t seek reelection.
Congressman Mark Walker (R) announced in December 2019 that he would not seek a fourth term in the House of Representatives. Walker, at the time, said he could run for the U.S. Senate in 2022.
“I believe the best way we can continue to serve the people of North Carolina is as a United States Senator,” a statement from Walker said. “As I have always sought to have serving people supersede our ambition, I will dedicate my full heart and efforts to finishing my term in Congress.”
That means Walker would be seeking Richard Burr’s seat in the Senate. Burr said in 2016 he did not plan to seek a fourth term in the Senate.
After that brief history lesson, let’s turn our attention to why we’re here: the race between Democrat Kathy Manning and Republican Lee Harwood to represent the 6th District in Congress.
The Triad area essentially makes up NC’s 6th District. It includes all of Guilford County and the central and eastern parts of Forsyth County — meaning a majority of its constituents are residents of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem.
This is the sixth article in North Carolina News Daily’s series previewing Congressional elections. You can read back on the first five here: 1st District, 2nd District, 3rd District, 4th District and 5th District.
Now, let’s break down the 6th District race:
Candidate: Lee Haywood (R)
Background: Haywood grew up in Charlotte and moved around the country due to his father’s career. He eventually settled in Greensboro.
According to his campaign website, Haywood has owned a maintenance supplies company for 37 years.
Haywood became interested in politics as a teenager in the 1980s, when he voted for Ronald Reagan. He became involved in politics as an organizer for Conservatives 4 Guilford County after Barack Obama was elected president.
Key endorsements: Congressman Ted Budd, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and State Treasurer Dale Folwell.
Platform: Haywood’s campaign website stresses an originalist point of view: what’s in the Constitution is not up for interpretation. It should not face threat from “activist judges and their biased personal interpretations.”
Haywood calls small businesses “the lifeblood” of the United States’ economy. He wants to reduce red tape to encourage the small business growth and help them bounce back from the coronavirus-induced recession through low-interest loans and grants.
Candidate: Kathy Manning (D)
Background: Manning holds degrees from Harvard University and from the University of Michigan Law School. She and her husband have lived in Greensboro for more than 30 years. Manning spent 15 years as a partner at a law firm and then established a small business.
The campaign website says Manning held “leadership positions” with organizations such as United Way, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the National Conference for Community and Justice.
Key endorsements: AFGE, N.C. State AFL-CIO, Human Rights Campaign PAC, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and the Sierra Club.
Platform: There isn’t a section dedicated to a campaign platform on Manning’s campaign website, but her campaign’s Twitter profile has multiple reminders to vote in this year’s election.
The following comment was posted on Twitter post following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “She will be remembered as a trailblazer for women and a champion for equality. May her memory be a blessing.”
Here’s what the Race Means
The district’s new lines led to a huge change in its demographic makeup.
It was a mostly rural district covering all or parts of eight counties in the central part of the state. Now, it’s all of one county and part of another. According to data from 2017, Forsyth and Guilford counties are home to three of the top nine most-populous cities in North Carolina — Greensboro (No. 3), Winston-Salem (No. 5) and High Point (No. 9).
The 6th District’s seat could be flipped this year. BallotPedia says this district is “likely” to elect a Democrat after the most-recent redistricting.
Two Republicans have represented the 6th District since 1985. The late Howard Coble represented the district from 1985 to 2015 after being elected to the House in 1984. He did not seek election in 2014, and Mark Walker succeeded him.
North Carolina News Daily will cover each district leading into the election. But there’s plenty more to say beyond breakdowns of the Congressional races. Head over to our Law coverage for in-depth legal news in The Tar Heel State.