One big thing about Chatham’s congressional primary candidates

Posted 2/28/20

Diving into all six candidates — two Democrats and four Republicans — on the ballots in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, which includes much of Chatham County, would take a long …

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One big thing about Chatham’s congressional primary candidates

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Diving into all six candidates — two Democrats and four Republicans — on the ballots in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, which includes much of Chatham County, would take a long time. So we’ll instead point you to our candidate questionnaires, in addition to trying to define each man — they’re all men — by “one big thing” from his platform, questionnaire responses, website and tweets. This is not meant to be an exhaustive look, but a snapshot of what they say they stand for and how they’ve spoken.

DEMOCRATS

U.S. Rep. David Price: An active democracy

A veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives for all but two years since 1987, Price’s statement and platform reflects a government invested in the betterment of its citizens by improving healthcare, public education and the environment — so fairly run-of-the-mill left-leaning policies in the 21st century.

He also propped up his bipartisan efforts in transportation and infrastructure legislation as well as “democratic reforms.” He’s been very active in his opposition of President Donald Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress.

“With an erratic President who threatens so much of what we stand for ­— and a craven Senate Republican Leadership that has enabled his worst tendencies — we need steady, experienced hands to lead us forward,” Price said in his CN+R questionnaire. “If we are truly to secure a brighter future for all Americans, we must protect our House majority, reclaim the United States Senate, and take back the White House.”

Daniel Ulysses Lockwood: Emulating Bernie

Currently working as a web designer, Lockwood turns 28 in December, making him the youngest person in this six-man field, and his appreciation for Democratic presidential nominee and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is evident. On his News + Record questionnaire, he listed Sanders as his political/government hero and said he worked as a volunteer designer for Sanders’ 2016 presidential run. Among his policy positions, he lists things Sanders has audibly stood for, particularly when it comes to economic priorities.

“We must do more to protect the more vulnerable members of our community,” Lockwood wrote. “This means establishing a $15-minimum wage, mandatory paid parental leave, and mandatory paid sick leave, abolishing our private medical insurance industry and replacing it with Medicare for All.”

He also called out Price for not going all-in on “champion(ing) bold efforts like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All” and for focusing too much on opposing Trump.

REPUBLICANS

Debesh Sarkar: Conservative

An engineer for the N.C. Dept. of Transportation and a first-generation immigrant from India, Sarkar’s platform is boilerplate conservative in the 21st century — advocating for merit-based immigration, anti-abortion policies and a desire to “follow capitalist economic policy.” He also said the role of government is not to be a charity but “to help only those who need help and who really want to improve themselves.” Sarkar has also advocated his support for President Trump.

“The Democrats in Congress are solely focused on stopping anything President Trump tries to do, even as we are in the biggest economic boom in history,” he said. “By replacing liberal Democrat David Price, I will help take back the House from the left and then we can move forward and keep making American great again.”

Sarkar listed Trump, alongside Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln, as his political/government heroes and supports repealing Obamacare, opposes tax increases and advocates for implementing term limits.

Dr. Nasir Shaikh: “MAGAA”

This new acronym stands for “Making America Greater Again & Again.” Shaikh, who hosts a conservative online radio show, says he wants to “continue the process” of making that happen and working alongside President Trump. On his website, he said he “love(s)” Trump and has “been his biggest supporter and admirer since even before he declared his candidacy.”

His rhetoric follows the president’s quite closely. Shaikh calls climate change “one of the greatest frauds and money laundering schemes ever perpetrated on the American people as well as people around the world,” and warns against “ced(ing) the country to the Democrats.”

“We need to stop the socialist movement percolating within the Democratic Party being propagandized in our academic institutions beginning with Pre-K, then metastasizing throughout elementary, middle and high school and finally becoming a full born cancer in our colleges and universities,” Shaikh said on his website. “President Trump needs allies and I intend on doing whatever I can to help him MAGAA.”

Robert Thomas: Defeating Democrats

A Durham resident who most recently worked as a residential real estate appraiser, one of Thomas’ major concerns is Congressional Democrats, who in his words are “taking a wrecking ball to the Constitution.”

“In their zeal to purge the nation of President Trump, and/or gain control of the U.S. Senate, or at the very least limit President Trump’s actions to ones they deem worthy, they are laying waste to some of the fundamental principles enshrined in the Constitution that protect us all,” Thomas said on his website. “And our representative, David Price, a Democrat, has not lifted a finger to stop this ill-considered attack.”

Thomas’ website doesn’t lay out many policies, but he advocates for stronger protections at the U.S.-Mexico border and “the right to keep and bear arms,” while saying there “must (be) some rational limitations” to weapon possession. He also states three priorities: working on immigration, trade and drug prices.

Steve A. Von Loor: #MAGALOYALIST

Similar to Shaikh, Von Loor’s campaign rhetoric, at least on his Twitter feed, is similar to the president’s. Within the last month, he has tweeted out videos and posts making fun of Democratic candidates, and even re-tweeted a video suggesting #26MoreYearsofTrump.

“I am not running to make my Radio Show more popular, nor advertise my business, nor to target one community in particular,” he tweeted on February 20. “I am running to fight for the “#ForgottenAmericans misrepresented by Mr. Price. Let it sink in. For the last 4 years. I have been in the trenches fighting for #MiddleClassAmericans to Retire #DemocratLiberalElite #ShameOnYouDavidEPrice Where were the other 3 candidates? Until the past 6 - 3 - 1 months?”

As far as policies go, Von Loor, the 2018 Republican candidate for the seat, has been pronounced in his support of the Second Amendment, proposing term limits, opposing abortion rights and lower taxes. His Twitter bio contains the hashtags #2ADefender, #Qanon and #AmericaFirst.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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