Contested Race Develops For District 11 NC Senate Seat
Late-Sunday, incumbent NC Senator Rick Horner announced he would not seek another term in District 11. On Monday, minutes after the filing period opened, two candidates announced they would be seeking his seat.
Smithfield attorney Allen Wellons, 70, a former three-term state senator, officially filed today for the newly drawn NC Senate District 11 including Johnston and Nash Counties. Wellons said he will focus on critical investments in our schools, our infrastructure and our communities. “We need a new focus on critical investments in our public schools, our community colleges and our infrastructure systems for our roads and rural broadband internet,” said Sen. Wellons.
“It’s time we focus on results – not rhetoric. We need a common-sense approach to getting things done and helping the citizens of our state,” said Mr. Wellons.
Wellons said he will focus on the critical issues facing our farming and agribusiness economy. “Our farmers are really hurting, and we need a voice in Raleigh who will make sure our farmers get the support they need,” added Mr. Wellons. “Agribusiness remains an important part of our economy in Johnston and Nash Counties. We need a State Senator in Raleigh who will stand up and fight for our farmers.”
“We need a practical approach to healthcare reform,” said Mr. Wellons. “Our rural hospitals and doctors are experiencing economic stress right now. I will support a common-sense approach to healthcare reform including a Medicaid expansion plan that helps our rural hospitals and doctors. If Arkansas can pass Medicaid reform and Medicaid expansion, I don’t see why we can’t get a practical plan for North Carolina,” said Mr. Wellons.
First term County Commissioner Patrick E. Harris of Smithfield also announced his candidacy for the District 11 Senate seat. Harris said, “Following the retirement announcement of my friend Senator Rick Horner, I have decided to announce my candidacy for the NC Senate, District 11. I am currently serving as a Johnston County Commissioner and consider it a great honor to have been allowed this opportunity. While it was not in my immediate plan to run for Senate, Senator Horner’s announcement has made me look carefully at the future and how I can best continue to serve the people and where I can do the most good for Johnston County and now Nash County.”
“I am a firm believer that God opens doors that we could never open and blesses us with opportunities that we cannot imagine,” Harris said in a press release. “God is truly amazing and I trust His timing and believe that this is the right time to continue the life of service that I began 35+ years ago, when I took the oath to serve as a Forest Ranger, Firefighter, and Fire Inspector. I genuinely look forward to this amazing opportunity and would consider it a great honor to be chosen by the people of Johnston and Nash counties as their next State Senator.”
Harris was sworn in as a county commissioner in Dec. 2018. Wellons served in the NC Senate from 1996 to 2002.