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GOP congressional candidates on sanctuary cities, gun control, abortion

Candidates for the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District pose before a forum on Jan. 25 at AB Tech in Asheville. Candidates for the Republican nomination in the 11th Congressional District pose before a forum on Jan. 25 at AB Tech in Asheville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Candidates’ responses are from a Jan. 25 Republican Party forum at AB-Tech except for Wayne King, who was absent. King emailed responses at the Lightning’s request. Matthew Burril, who is listed on the ballot, dropped out of the race.

Q. Under North Carolina law, if the first place candidate wins less than 30 percent of the total vote plus 1, the runner-up can call for a runoff election. If you finished second, would you call for a runoff or concede?

Albert Wiley Jr.: “I would have to see what all the parameters are. If I were tied, so to speak, I’d like to look at their credentials and see if they share what I think are the important values.”

Steven Fekete Jr.: “It’s a little too vague for me about things that might happen. Keep going down until somebody wins.”

Vance Patterson: “I have experience with this. In 2012, there were 11 candidates (in the Republican primary for this seat). I came in second to Mark Meadows and I started getting phone calls, ‘You need to get out.’ And I got endorsements from some of the other candidates. The real issue was, I wasn’t worried about the party, I’m sorry. I was worried about the people that were supporting me, the ones that had voted for me, the ones that had worked for me. Asking me now whether I would give up, that’s not a good question to ask me right now.”

Madison Cawthorn: “We’re not the Democratic Party. We all share a core sense of values. I think that any one of the 10 candidates here would be an excellent representative, much better than a Democrat. Because we all share core values and we all have human decency and we’re all Southerners, I believe that if we go to a runoff election we’re not going to start playing the dirty games that are going to damage us in the general election … just giving the Democrats ammunition in November. I believe a runoff is absolutely acceptable in this race because we’re all decent people, we’re all Christians, we all believe in the Second Amendment, we’re all pro-wall, we’re pro-Trump, we all want to join the Freedom Caucus, we’re all good people, we will not take each other down.”

Joey Osborne: “I’m for a runoff, if it happens.”

Lynda Bennett: “I haven’t thought about it that much. I will say that whoever does get through the primary and is the candidate that I will support that candidate 100 percent.”

Jim Davis: “I believe in that system. However, it all depends on how close you are. The problem with a runoff is that you use a lot of resources that would be better served for the general election. That would determine whether I if I came in second would call for a runoff or not. Our first rule is that we’ve got to keep this seat in Republican hands.”

Dillon Gentry: “I second” other candidates’ view.

Dan Driscoll: Also agreed.

Chuck Archerd: “If I come in first I don’t want a runoff. But in all seriousness, we have laws and I believe we follow the laws. They were set up with a lot of foresight and we need to follow them. I think we should have a runoff if there’s a first and second place and neither of them achieve the 30 percent threshold.”


Q. What would you do about sanctuary cities and law enforcement officials that refuse to cooperate with ICE?

Archerd: “I think it’s criminal to turn criminals out on the street where they can harm American citizens. I think that we should write a law to prohibit federal funds from going to sanctuary cites or sanctuary states. Related to the ICE detainer request, we should be cooperating to keep citizens safe.” If the Buncombe sheriff turns someone loose “I think he ought to be in prison.”

Driscoll: “You can’t have that. Government doesn’t work in that model. It’s a preposterous thing” for local governments to declare themselves sanctuary cities.

Gentry: “It started out as denying detainer request and morphed into, ‘No we’re not going to cooperate and we’re going to tell people when any type of raid is happening.’ How to stop it? They’re already not following the law so I’m not entirely sure how we’re going to do it. It shouldn’t be happening. I think there’s some merit to it if they don’t want to participate in raids due to resources without being reimbursed. But in terms of denying a detainer, that on its face is ridiculous.”

Davis: The state Senate passed a bill that would have required sheriffs to honor ICE detainers. “Unfortunately the governor vetoed that bill, another reason why Cooper’s gotta go.”

Osborne: “It’s absurd, it never should have happened but I am for one sort of sanctuary. I want to make the 11th District a sanctuary for pro-God, pro-life, small government, pro-gun.”

Wiley: “I think one thing Congress could do would be to defend cities that have that kind of policy. Federal can deny money but I think the state Legislature is the appropriate place to solve this.”

Fekete: “I don’t think this is up for debate. If they’re breaking the law, why don’t you just put them in prison. Have they not taken an oath to do what they’re supposed to do?”

Patterson: “This is what the Democrats do, say something, label it. What can be wrong with ‘sanctuary cities’? They ought to be called criminal havens.”

Madison: “The fact that we even have to deal with sanctuary cities is ridiculous. You shouldn’t even be able to get into our country as an illegal alien. The problem that I think we have with so many people crossing our southern border is they’ve created a major business structure for organizations to use. We have cartels on our southern border who have just showed they can defeat the Mexican military wherever they choose. … This is a major national security threat. Now think of the lunacy of Democrats. They will not allow us to build a wall and then they create these sanctuary cities that allow immigrants to come into our country and then from the judicial side they say that we have to pay for their health care and then to foot the bill we have to borrow money from China to pay for all these illegal immigrants. The Democrats have to be stopped. No more sanctuary cities. No more unsecure borders.”

Q. What is your position on the Second Amendment and red flag laws allowing law enforcement to take firearms from people who investigators say may pose a threat?

Davis: “The Second Amendment ends by stating, ‘the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ Period. It doesn’t have a comma. Period. End of statement. Red flag laws are unconstitutional.”

Gentry: “I’m a firearms instructor. I build rifles, I build handguns.” Red flag laws would “prosecute people without due process. It is wholly unconstitutional. The federal government has a responsibility to ensure that the states aren’t passing these access laws. States cannot pass a law that conflicts with federal law. We need to have more sound legislation that does uphold the Second Amendment.”

Driscoll: “The due process piece is incredibly important, and the danger it puts law enforcement in. It is a terrible idea.”

Archerd: “We’re not prosecuting people, felons in possession (of a firearm), for example — 75 percent of those never even get prosecuted and they want new laws. I will be strongly supporting Second Amendment rights.”

Madison: “The Second Amendment was not written so we could have sporting rifles or be able to go hunting. The Second Amendment was written so that if a tyrant ever rises up we can fight back. When it comes to red flag laws, it doesn’t take a super genius to see how this could be turned into a political weapon — if your neighbor who’s a raging liberal could just walk out and say, ‘He seems a little crazy today’ and ATF agents are showing up at the door, interrupting your dinner and taking all your guns. We have to have an armed citizenry to have a republic.”

Patterson: “I’ve been a gun owner since I was 6 years old. Violent criminals’ worst fear is an armed victim. Police have rules, armed victims do not have rules. Red flag laws — totally against the Fourth Amendment of unreasonable search and seizure.”

Fekete: “Judges will stop your rights, but then they won’t stop the rights of illegals and everybody who’s against you. Who’s on your side and who’s not?”

Wiley: “I support the Second Amendment. It was written for a purpose and we still have the need for which it was written. If you know your history you know why we have the Second Amendment. In recent times with the Jews in Europe, had they been armed there would not have been a holocaust. Red flag laws — what we have in background checks should take care of that.”

Osborne: “As a native North Carolinian I have a closet full of guns. I can challenge anybody here in squirrel shooting contest. The Second Amendment does not need to be touched. The red flag stuff is a bunch of crap, to put it bluntly.”

Bennett: “There will be no compromise on the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment protects all our other rights. If we lose the Second Amendment we’re probably going to lose our freedom of speech, we’re going to lose our freedom of religion, we’re going to lose our freedoms across the board. I do conceal-carry and I suggest that everyone do it. It will create a safer society. This issue is not about gun control. It’s about people control.”

Q. What is your position on Roe v. Wade?


Wiley: “Roe v. Wade should never have been implemented. I believe that life begins with conception and the sanctity of life is probably the most important value we can have.”

Fekete: “We’re allowing our children to be killed when they may grow up to change the world. We’re killing generations of people. Not just the ones that die but then their children and their children.”

Patterson: “The CDC reported in 1972 that 39 young women died of illegal abortion and that’s tragic. But since 1970 over 46 million abortions have taken place based on those 39. If we can determine when life begins, that’s when abortion will stop. Less than 3-tenths of 1 percent of abortions are of children 15 and younger. Less than half of 1 percent are rape victims. Yet this is what you hear over and over — ‘If we change that law all these women are going to suffer’ and it’s just not the case.”

Cawthorn: “When Roe v. Wade was passed we didn’t even have the ability to use an ultrasound. But now we can look inside a mother’s stomach and see that this precious baby experiences pain, has a heartbeat and we are a country who has legalized murder. The left is not pro-choice. They are pro-murder. We must stand up for the weakest among us. We must repeal Roe v. Wade. Our laws must reflect our science.”

Archerd: “I’m unapologetically pro-life. We’re made in God’s image from the moment of conception. We’re also prolife till our last breath.”

Driscoll: “As a father of a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old I can’t imagine being anything but prolife. As for Roe v. Wade, this is why conservative judges are so important.”

Gentry: “Actually, Roe v. Wade is a pretty weak ruling. The way it’s written it actually guarantees a quote-unquote right to privacy, which is how it’s quote-unquote constitutional, which, if you’re a reasonable person, that makes no sense.”

Davis: “As a biology major in college, I don’t believe that life begins with conception. I know it does. My wife and I had the privilege of adopting a son. We brought him home, he was three days old. The biological mother was 16 years old when she got pregnant and my wife and I will always be eternally grateful for her not to choose abortion because what we all need more of is more Jeffrey Clark Davises, not fewer. I am unashamedly against abortion for those reasons. Without Jeffrey Clark Davis, I wouldn’t have two beautiful granddaughters. I’m forever grateful for that young lady’s choice.”

Bennett: “Today before we came here, there was a group of people at Planned Parenthood that a couple of us joined and they were praying for the unborn. What Roe v. Wade means to them is that they want it to be repealed. Since life begins at conception and life is one of our most precious gifts, we must protect it.”

Osborne: “I’m absolutely prolife and anti-abortion. It should be against the law. But there’s a bigger issue, though, something I always refer to as EGO, edge God out. When you edge God out, which is what’s happening with abortion, you create a situation where government has to be bigger. The bigger we can make God the smaller we can make government.”

NOTE: The Lightning’s Voter Guide continues in the Feb. 19 issue and at with coverage of the Republican primary for the 117th state House district and Democratic primaries for the 11th Congressional District, the 48th state Senate District and District 2 Henderson County Board of Commissioners seat.