In U.S. House District 2, the INDY Endorses Wendy Ella May | Our Endorsements | Indy Week

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In U.S. House District 2, the INDY Endorses Wendy Ella May

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Democrats have their sights set on George Holding's seat, which is exactly the kind of district they'll need to win to retake Congress. It won't be easy—in 2016, Holding won nearly 57 percent of the vote—but three Dems have lined up to challenge the incumbent: Linda Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner and state legislator; Wendy Ella May, an army veteran; and Ken Romley, a businessman from Raleigh. Meanwhile, Holding has his own primary challenger from the right, Allen Chessler, an Iraq war veteran who says Holding "is not representing the people anymore."

(We declined to endorse Chessler because of his extremist anti-abortion and pro-gun views; we declined to endorse Holding because he's a Donald Trump lackey as well as an anti-refugee bigot and anti-abortion zealot. They can both piss off.)

Of the Democrats, Coleman, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2016 but lost to Dan Forest, is the best known. But our endorsement goes to Wendy Ella May, the first transgender woman to run for Congress in North Carolina.

May's status in the HB 2 state is exciting, but she's not playing up her gender identity. She's focusing instead on her policy priorities, which include universal health care, a livable wage, job creation, gun control, protections for LGBTQ citizens, and strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. May's resume suits her for public office, too: army veteran, career firefighter, faith leader, president of the LGBT Democrats of Johnston County, and second vice chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

We acknowledge she's a long shot. She lacks the fundraising prowess of her fellow Democrats. But we think her candidacy is groundbreaking, historic, and worthy of recognition. We're excited to support her.

If she's not going to win, however, our second choice is Ken Romley. An entrepreneur and buttoned-down Democrat Romley has a sizable war chest and seems to be the only candidate who can compete financially with Holding. According to federal election data, Romley raised more than $430,000 in 2017, most of which came in the form of loans to himself. With that kind of backing, Romley could be a formidable challenger in the fall. Meanwhile, his family-man, middle-of-the-road persona could be attractive to the kinds of well-educated suburban Republicans who are fed up with Trump and willing to pull the lever for a moderate Democrat.

Besides, Linda Coleman lost to right-wing nut job Dan Forest in a year in which Roy Cooper beat Pat McCrory and Josh Stein beat Buck Newton, both far stronger Republicans. She's proven herself to not be a particularly strong candidate.

*Correction: This endorsement originally referred to Ken Romley as an attorney. He is a tech entrepreneur and small businessman. 

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