With redistricting, the 8th district became much more competitive. This race pits a long-time political operative incumbent against a long-time attorney and judge in what’s shaping up to be one of the most competitive races in the state.
By Rose Hoban
Richard Hudson, incumbent, Republican from Concord
Political experience: Hudson was elected to Congress and began serving there in 2014. Before that, he worked for various Republican party leaders, including former Congressman Robin Hayes and Virginia Foxx and was the communications director for the state GOP in the mid-1990s. He managed Pat McCrory’s unsuccessful bid for governor in 2008.
Education/personal: Hudson was raised in Charlotte and attended UNC Charlotte where he graduated with degrees in political science and history. He was the student body president there, as well as the leader of the College Republicans.
Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Hudson had raised $2,304,597 for his campaign, spent $985,019 and had $1,773,633 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Patricia Timmons-Goodson, Democrat from Fayetteville
Neither Hudson’s nor Timmons-Goodson’s campaigns responded to NC Health News requests for comment. Their positions are taken from information available on their candidate websites, Facebook pages and in the media.
Political experience: After a career in law that included a stint as an assistant district attorney, she was named first to the Cumberland County district court, then to the state Court of Appeals. In 2006, she was named to the NC Supreme Court. Subsequently, she ran and was reelected to that court until 2012 when she resigned. In 2014, she was named by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where she has been vice-chair since 2015. In 2016, Obama nominated her to serve as a federal judge, but her nomination languished as Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked it.
Education/personal: Timmons-Goodson was born in Florence, S.C., and raised on Army bases where her father was posted in the U.S. and abroad. She attended UNC Chapel Hill where she majored in speech and subsequently received law degrees from UNC Chapel Hill and Duke.
Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Timmons-Goodson had raised $1,061,156, spent $442,337 and had $618,819 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Affordable Care Act
In 2017, when Congress was considering repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Hudson voted both in committee and on the floor of the House to overturn the law multiple times.
He has said that he supports “protecting people with pre-existing conditions,” citing President Donald Trump’s executive order signed last month during an interview with CBS-17. “Going forward the policy of this government is that we will protect people with pre-existing conditions. The only disagreement is how do you get there.”
“It’s downright sinful in the face of a pandemic,” for the Trump administration to be promoting a case that goes before the Supreme Court in November that has the potential of repealing the entire law, Timmons-Goodson told CBS-17 in an interview earlier this month. “It is absolutely wrong to be standing in the way or taking any action … to make sure that as many of our citizens as possible would be covered with health care.”
In an opinion run in the Fayetteville Observer in May, she suggested reopening the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act marketplace so that more people could get coverage.
According to Hudson’s Congressional website, he has consistently been lauded by the Family Research Council Action for his “commitment to the defense of family, faith and freedom.” He also has a 100 percent voting rating from National Right to Life.
“As a Christian and a father, Richard firmly believes that family is the foundation of American life, and the defense of these values is imperative for the future of our nation,” the site says.
In August, Timmons-Goodson tweeted, “There is nothing more personal than a woman’s choice regarding her body. The government should not stand between a woman and her doctor in making those decisions.”
North Carolina is among 12 states that did not opt for Medicaid expansion when it became available through the Affordable Care Act in 2013. In early 2017, during Congressional battles over the future of the Affordable Care Act, Hudson was able to insert a provision into the GOP bill that would have blocked then newly elected North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper from enacting Medicaid expansion.
“I did get something for North Carolina. We got a provision that says we can’t expand Medicaid,” Hudson told CQ/ Roll Call at the time. That bill was not enacted.
“Now would be the time for North Carolina to expand coverage,” Timmons-Goodson told NBC-17 during a recent interview.
Hudson’s wife works in the White House. He told CBS-17 that she was not in the Rose Garden during the event that likely spread COVID-19 to a score of people, including the president. When it comes to masks, he cited a study posted on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from March that he told CBS-17, “Says masks make it more likely that you’re gonna catch coronavirus.”
Since then, the agency has been clear that mask-wearing is one of the best ways to prevent transmission.
Hudson nonetheless said one should err on the side of caution when unable to socially distance. In recent months, he’s been photographed both with and without a mask. “If you’re out and about you should be wearing a mask.”
Timmons-Goodson has also been photographed multiple times wearing masks in campaign appearances and in the media.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over and with almost 200,000 Americans dead and small businesses and workers still struggling to recover, there is a clear failure of leadership in Washington,” said Timmons-Goodson on her campaign website.
The opioid crisis
In September, Hudson hosted the White House “Drug Czar” in Concord where he had the opportunity to share with constituents about his efforts to reduce opioid abuse at a roundtable with local law enforcement, medical professionals, school administrators, and community organizations. There, he touted a bill that he worked on that, among other things, makes it easier to dispose of opioids, and get Medicaid patients with substance use issues into medical homes.
One bill sponsored by Hudson and signed by President Donald Trump makes it easier for local EMS agencies to administer, store and dispose of pain medications.
Rural health care financing
Timmons-Goodson has expressed support for “ending the inequities in rural healthcare” and held a town hall on the topic in August. Her website has a section on rural priorities, including health care. “Too many folks in rural North Carolina are burdened with additional obstacles to find quality and affordable healthcare,” her website reads. It goes on to describe a platform of supporting the ACA to provide care to rural communities, Medicaid expansion, improved broadband and “improving maternal health in rural communities.”