NC Rep. John Bradford III considers bid for Congress


By Dave Yochum. N.C. Rep John Bradford III may throw his hat in the ring for the newly drawn 13th U.S. Congressional District which includes parts of Rowan, Iredell and Guilford counties, as well as Davie and Davidson counties.

“I will make a business decision,” Bradford said. “I’m seriously taking a look at it but just like I do at Park Avenue, I will make a business decision, not an emotional one.” Filing opens March 16 and closes March 26.

Bradford, the founder of Park Avenue Properties in Cornelius, said there is a “serious misalignment” with the goals and issues of Lake Norman voters with “what’s going on in Charlotte.”

The NC District 98 legislator, who is in the middle of his first term in Raleigh, lives in Cornelius. The former Cornelius Town Board member who replaced Thom Tillis in the state legislature said he has not consulted with the U.S. Senator about running for Congress.

A federal court ordered the new districting, which puts Mecklenburg County just across the border of the new 13th Congressional district.  Bradford, who emphasized he has not made up his mind to run, says Park Avenue does business in every part of the new district.

N.C. Sen. Andrew Brock was the first candidate to publicly declare his intentions to seek the new 13th District seat. State Rep. Harry Warren, R-77, is also being discussed as a possible candidate, as are Rep. Julia Howard and veteran Iredell politician Robert Brawley who is opposing Pat McCrory in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Indeed, at least a half-dozen names have been discussed in political circles.

“Every county will have one if not multiple favorite sons and daughters,” one political expert said.

But Bradford has deep pockets and the ability to raise money. A Congressional race could easily cost $1 million to $1.5 million Bradford said, explaining that he has the ability to fund a “significant amount.”

He said the same frustrations that made him want to run for N.C. District 98 would make him want to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bradford is using the same political consulting firm, Strategic Partners Solutions, as Tillis.

Bradford said his goals in Washington, if he chooses to run, would be the same as when he first ran for the legislature: A business-friendly environment that supports job creation for everyone.

“I’m someone who wants to get up every day and chase the American dream,” Bradford said. “I’m a perfect example, I didn’t come from money…my mom and dad said your work ethic is everything.”

Last year, Inc. magazine ranked Park Avenue Properties No. 2614 on its 34th annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies. It was the second consecutive year Park Avenue Properties has ranked on the list. In 2014, the company was No. 1352.

Among North Carolina companies, Park Avenue was No. 83 out of 145, and No. 105 out of 159 companies real estate companies nationwide.

Federal law doesn’t require that candidates live in the district. Candidates may retain their existing seats.

The primary is June 7. Political pundits say this will be an unusual contest, partly because the timing is so short. At the same time, federal courts still have to decide that the hastily redrawn 13th District abides by the law.

“I’m not sure if being able to spend a boatload of money matters because the time is so short. I have a feeling a lot of people will vote for the hometown boy or hometown girl,” one observer said.


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