Incumbent Patrick McHenry, an eight-term congress Republican, is running against Democrat David Parker for the safely Republican district, which includes counties from Catawba in the south to the Virginia border.
By Liora Engel-Smith
Patrick McHenry, Incumbent, Republican from Lincoln County
Political experience: McHenry is a career congressman, currently serving his eighth term. He is the Republican leader of the House Financial Services Committee. Before his election in the U.S. in the early 2000s, McHenry served one term in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He was also special assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor under President George W. Bush.
Education/personal: McHenry is a graduate of Belmont Abbey College. He and his wife Giulia live in Denver, N.C. with their two daughters.
Campaign contributions: As of June 30, McHenry had raised $2,225,852 for his campaign, spent $1,771,865 and had $1,720,086 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.
David Parker, Democrat from Iredell County
Political experience: Served as chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party in 2012 Parker also previously served on the Iredell-Statesville School Board and was also chair of the Mitchell Community College Board, according to his campaign website.
Education/personal: A lawyer, Parker obtained his undergraduate and law degree from University of North Carolina. Parker and his wife Sally Rives have three children and four granddaughters.
Campaign contributions: As of September 30, Parker had raised $19,059 for his campaign, spent $18,863 and had $197 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.
McHenry is Catholic and opposes abortion, voting against any measure that would expand such rights. Parker, too, opposes some abortion rights, saying that he does not believe abortion should be available “until moments before birth.” However, Parker opposes the nomination of conservative judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The opioid crisis
McHenry, whose campaign did not respond to an interview request, supported legislation that helps communities combat the opioid crisis, including increasing access to treatment. He recently indicated that response to the opioid crisis will remain a top priority for him should he be reelected.
Parker does not appear to have spoken publicly on the issue of opioids in his district, except to say that he supports universal access to health care. His campaign also did not respond to an interview request.
McHenry praised President Donald Trump’s actions on coronavirus, including the efforts to expedite the development of a vaccine for the novel virus. Unlike Trump, he has been public about the need for wearing a mask, however, to promote the reopening of schools and businesses.
Parker said the country needs an efficient mechanism to distribute the coronavirus vaccine universally when it is developed, highlighting the need for inclusive access to health care.
Affordable Care Act
McHenry opposes Medicaid expansion and has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, including the provision that allows states to expand their Medicaid programs.
Parker supports universal health care, though he does not appear to have spoken about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina directly.