Speaker of the NC House of Representatives campaigns for Ray Pickett in Boone

Speaker+of+the+North+Carolina+House+of+Representatives+Tim+Moore+speaks+at+the+Watauga+County+Republican+Party+meeting+Tuesday+night.+

Moss Brennan

Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Tim Moore speaks at the Watauga County Republican Party meeting Tuesday night.

Moss Brennan, Political Editor

The Republican speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives campaigned in Boone for state house candidate Ray Pickett Tuesday.

Tim Moore (R) represents the 111th District in North Carolina and leads the Republican-majority North Carolina House of Representatives. 

“As a Western North Carolina legislator, I care greatly about this region,” Moore said. “I know that Ray Pickett is someone who’s fully invested in the community and cares a lot.” 

Moore campaigned outside Watauga County Administration Building — one of six early voting sites — with Pickett in the early afternoon after campaigning in Ashe County. 

After stopping by the early voting site, Moore spoke at the Watauga County Republican Party meeting. 

“You are doing everything you are supposed to do. You are doing an amazing job,” Moore told the roughly 15-person crowd. “That’s why I know on Election Day that you’re going to have a new representative in Ray Pickett.” 

Moore also spoke to the party during the executive session, which was closed to the press and had members who were present via video conference. 

“It was a real honor to have him and (representative) Kelly Hastings up here campaigning for me and having faith in me being a part of the house,” Pickett said. “It was a real honor to have him come up here and work with me.”

Hastings is the Republican representative for the 110th House District and an App State alumnus. 

Pickett is running against Democrat incumbent Ray Russell for the 93rd District seat. 

Moore said he has concerns about Russell, which is one of the reasons he is campaigning for Pickett. Moore claims Russell signed a pledge to defund the police e. 

“He, and members of his caucus, received a total of about a half million dollars from this radical organization in exchange for agreeing to a platform that basically calls for defunding the police,” Moore said. 

A spokesperson for the Russell campaign said there is “not a word of truth” in Moore’s statement and that it is a “complete fabrication of Tim Moore’s imagination.”

The pledge in question comes from a group called the Future Now Fund, which has a pledge candidates can sign to work toward “America’s Goals” — seven goals related to health care, the environment and jobs. 

The group also promotes several model policies under a website titled “America’s Goals.” 

Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Tim Moore (left) campaigned for house candidate Ray Pickett in Boone on Tuesday — one week before the election. (Moss Brennan)

One policy under the “America’s Goals” website includes the “assessment of police funding and a reallocation of funding toward community-based programs,” but that is not listed on the pledge Russell and 1,010 other candidates and elected officials have signed. 

Future Now has given the max campaign contribution — $5,400 — to 11 North Carolina Democratic candidates for state house, including Russell, according to the News and Observer. 

Both Moore and Pickett are excited for the turnout so far in the 2020 Election. 

“I’m thrilled at the high turnout,” Moore said. “Whether someone is voting Republican or Democrat, I applaud them for turning out and making sure their voices are heard.”

North Carolina and Watauga County has seen nearly 50% in voter turnout so far during early voting and absentee votes. In 2016, North Carolina had just under 69% of registered voters turnout to vote. 

Pickett said he feels pretty confident about his race headed into Election Day. 

“This is a competitive, competitive race. It always has been tight, and it’s going to be tight again this time,” Pickett said. “But I will have a positive outlook and I feel that we can win.”
The 93rd District was Republican controlled before Russell won in 2018 after defeating Republican incumbent Jonathan Jordan, who held the seat for four terms. 

Jordan was elected to his first term in 2010 by fewer than 200 votes, according to data from the North Carolina State Board of Elections. Russell won in 2018 by about 1,500 votes.