Bear Creek native named to national 30 under 30 list


BEAR CREEK — A Chatham County native is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after political hands in North Carolina. Chase Gaines grew up in Bear Creek and is earning a reputation for political prowess despite just graduating college in 2022. 

Last week, Gaines was selected by the political polling firm Cygnal as one of their “30 under 30” rising stars in government, politics and advocacy. 

Gaines graduated from N.C. State University with degrees in Political Science and Agricultural Business and Management. Throughout his four years in college, he would take leadership positions with the Chatham County Republican Party and the North Carolina Young Republicans. 

In 2022, Gaines joined the campaign of then-Congressman Ted Budd, who was mounting an effort to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Richard Burr. 

Relentlessly traveling across North Carolina for over a year, Gaines became one of the key members of the Budd campaign. Working his way into the role of political director, he was often the first point of contact for activists and party leaders to connect with Budd. 

On election night in 2022, Gaines would revel in a victory for Budd and helped lead his transition into office. 

Gaines’ work would catch the attention of the North Carolina Chamber. In September, he accepted a job with the state’s largest pro-business advocacy organization as director of special projects.  

"My journey in politics started right here in Chatham County, and I'm immensely proud to bring this honor back to my community. It's a testament to the values, work ethic and support that define our hometown,” Gaines told the Chatham News & Record. 

He added, "To be recognized on the national stage as a Chatham County native is incredibly meaningful. It's a testament to the values and lessons I've learned right here." 

Others on the national list include a congressional chief of staff, political advisors in states such as Alabama and Wisconsin, and other political consultants and lobbyists. 

“These young professionals represent the best of conservative operatives from across the country and as inaugural honorees they will set the tone for the next generation of leaders,” said Chris Lane, Cygnal’s pollster and founder of the 30 under 30 organization in a statement. “They embrace new strategic approaches and technologies to help win races and advance the policies of a movement that’s becoming more and more attractive to free-thinking young people everywhere.” 

Gaines also said he owes “a tremendous debt of gratitude” to the people of Chatham County who have supported and inspired him. 

“This award is a testament to the power of community and the opportunities it can provide," he added.