Pastor Rod Chaney of Sunrise Church in Chapel Hill is making his second run as a Republican challenger the District 50 seat in the N.C. House.
“The state has come a long way in just the past couple of years,” says Chaney. “I think we’ve moved up quite a bit in the area of business and economic prosperity. And I hear voices out there saying that they want to turn around and go back.”
The dissenting voices he’s referring to are familiar to anyone who’s been keeping up with local news over the past year.
“There’s a group that, on Mondays, seems to go down to Raleigh and give their view,” he says. “And I just don’t think they represent the majority of voters in NC 50.”
Regardless of Moral Monday protests, Chaney says he’s feels the residents of the northern end of Orange County and parts of Durham, and their views, have not been adequately represented for a long time.
He says he’s out to change that.
Back in 2012, Chaney beat current Republican opponent Lewis Hannah in the primary, but lost against Democrat Valerie Foushee.
He says the race against Foushee actually gave him confidence to run again.
“We won half the precincts,” he says.
When he ran in 2012, Chaney highlighted his support for charter schools. It’s something he still strongly believes in.
“We can do better in education,” he says. “We can move education to more of a free-market basis.”
He says he supports tax reforms from the NC General Assembly that, he says, made the “business environment more friendly” in a state that needs to consider the business climates in South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.
“We are competing to attract businesses from those areas,” he says. “And I think they’ve moved us much closer to be competitive.”
Chaney says he opposes a planned light rail system between Orange and Durham because he doesn’t believe the population density exists to make it financially viable.
And, he adds:
“I think that any time you begin collecting money for a project like that, and leave it available for politicians, they will end up misusing it.”
This time, the Democrat in the race is Rep. Graig Meyer, who was appointed to the District 50 seat when Foushee was chosen for the District 23 Senate seat when Ellie Kinnaird retired.
But first, there’s the May 6 primary. Chaney says the main difference between himself and Republican opponent Lewis Hannah is that Hannah doesn’t really touch social issues.
Chaney, on the other hand, is not shy about offering his views. Here he is talking about the issue of same-sex marriage:
“Well, I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he says, “and when you begun redefining that, you kind of open it up to whatever anybody wants to say it is.”
Note: In the original version of the article, Chaney stated that he spent “$85,000” on this 2012 campaign. He later contacted WCHL to say he had misspoken: He meant to say “$8,500.” Since then, he provided WCHL with links to the year-end North Carolina State Board of Elections reports for himself and his 2012 Democratic opponent Valerie Foushee. The reports show that Foushee’s total expenditures were $118,576.65, and Chaney’s total expenditures were $6,912.09.
(In the coming weeks, WCHL and chapelboro.com will reach out to candidates in all local races.)