Hometown Voices in Apex: Inside NC's only toss-up Congressional race

Joel Brown Image
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
Inside NC's only toss-up Congressional race: Hometown Voices in Apex
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Amid the sprawling subdivisions and revitalized downtown -- Apex finds itself at the center of the state's only toss-up Congressional race.

All 14 of North Carolina's Congressional seats are on the ballot in November's critical midterm elections. But only one of those races is expected to be competitive and it's a district that runs right through the Triangle. ABC 11 is kicking off its Hometown Voices tour in Apex -- in the heart of the state's only swing district.

It's a town they call the 'Peak of Good Living.' Now, it's peak political season in Apex.

"I'm excited about the election; just to see which way things go," said Apex resident Deva Brehony.

Amid the sprawling subdivisions and revitalized downtown -- Apex finds itself at the center of the state's only toss-up Congressional race.

The North Carolina 13th Congressional District stretches from southwestern Wake County; wraps in Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, into southeast Raleigh and all of Johnston County. It adds up to a grab bag of voters: liberal, conservative and everything in between.

Including newcomers like Lindsay Paige who just moved to Apex from California's high-priced Bay Area.

"What brought us to Apex? Cost of living," Paige answered. "More personal freedoms and liberties."

The election in the 13th pits Democrat Wiley Nickel, a Wake County state senator against Republican Bo Hines, a 27-year-old Yale grad with the backing of former President Trump.

"Oh yeah I voted Republican in 2020," said Apex resident Milton Harrison. "Oh yeah, (I voted for Trump in 2020 and would do it again) Trump's a good president."

Harrison and his wife Nancy were both Trump voters in 2020. As the couple now pays more for gas and groceries, they count inflation as a top line election concern. Then, Nancy quickly pivoted to worries over illegal immigration.

"The border (is a big concern). I mean do we really know who all is crossing that border. I mean I don't know. I feel sorry for them but after a while, isn't there a limit," she said.

After the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe VS. Wade, many Democratic voters in the 13th, including Brehony, are feeling more compelled to cast their midterm ballots for candidates who'll push to protect abortion rights.

"The recent decision by the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion or restrict abortion is something I'm very interested in taking a stand against," she said.

Ira Johnson echoed Brehony's thoughts on abortion. "Every woman has a right to choose what they want to do," he said.

But Johnson mailed in his midterm ballot this month with concerns over a roll back of other rights as well.

"If you put the wrong people in there, they'll just try to disrupt people's voting rights, civil rights and everything else. I'm mad," Johnson said. "I'm mad. I'm past angry."

The battle for control of the U.S. House will be decided by what happens in handful of Congressional races. North Carolina's 13th is one of them. The race is expected to come down to which party motivates more voters to get to the polls. The final results will likely be within a few percentage points.