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Republicans circling if Henson resigns from House

Although GOP leaders in Raleigh have been silent on the cyberstalking charge against state Rep. Cody Henson, two local Republicans named Johnson say they’re eyeing the seat if Henson quits.
Henson has been accused of cyberstalking and the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether he committed a crime against his estranged wife, Kelsey Henson, Carolina Public Press reported.
Last week, after the media reported the criminal summons, the N.C. Democratic Party, Democratic Women of North Carolina and a House Democratic leader called on Henson to resign.
“Now that a judge has seen fit, after a hearing on the merits, to grant a permanent restraining order against Rep. Henson, there has been a finding of domestic violence on his part,” House Democratic Whip Rep. Deb Butler said. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society, particularly on the part of an elected official who purports to be a role model for our youth. In my opinion, he should resign.”
At the Henderson County Republican Party Convention on Saturday, a Polk County commissioner said he’d look at running if Henson resigns while another Republican declined to rule out a primary challenge if Henson stays.
“Let’s just say testing the water,” said Gene Johnson, a 57-year-old attorney who practices in Henderson and Buncombe counties and lives in Polk. “I’m more interested to see what happens with Rep. Henson. I’m not going to step on his toes. I’m just waiting to see what happens. … At this point I’m not ready to say” whether he would challenge Henson in a primary.
Jake Johnson, the 24-year-old chairman of the Polk County Board of Commissioners, plans to announce a campaign for Secretary of State. That could change, he said, if Henson’s seat becomes vacant.
“I’m getting a lot of calls on it,” said Johnson, who was elected in 2016. “If the seat came open it would be something I would consider.”
Last month a judge granted Kelsey Henson a yearlong restraining order against Henson after she filed a complaint that he “will not quit ‘texting’ the plaintiff at all hours of the day.”
Henson has declined to comment on the cyberstalking charge, saying it’s a family member he hopes to resolve privately.
“Rep. Henson looks forward to addressing this allegation in due course through our judicial system and will not attempt to litigate the matter through the media,” Henson’s attorney, Michael Edney, said in a statement. “Cody will continue to focus his love and energy on his two beautiful children and will continue to represent the people of District 113.”

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Carolina Public Press contributed reporting.