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NC senator Erica Smith challenges Thom Tillis’ seat in Washington
State lawmaker jumps into Democratic primary field
Published Thursday, May 23, 2019 11:08 am
by Lori D.R. Wiggins | The Triangle Tribune

N.C. Sen. Erica Smith

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RALEIGH – State Sen. Erica D. Smith and her supporters served notice to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis during a campaign kickoff last week. Smith sealed her intention to become the first African American senator to serve North Carolina in Congress at the J.D. Lewis Multipurpose Center.

Former U.S. Rep. Eva Clayton, the keynote speaker, said she wasn’t interested in damnation on Tillis for poor representation or to muddy the records of any of Smith’s challengers, which include Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller, who is also black.

“I’ve come to tell you how strong Erica Smith is,” said Clayton, who in 1992 became the first black woman from North Carolina to represent in the House. “She knows how to unite us. She is a woman of principle. She is a woman of conviction.

“I’m here to say to (Tillis) that he’d better watch out.”

Clayton also urged Smith supporters to take seriously their responsibility to help Smith raise the money she’ll need to run a successful campaign and to be sure voters understand why Smith is the best candidate for the seat.

Smith represents District 3 in the northeastern part of the state, which includes Bertie, Chowan, Edgecombe, Hertford, Martin, Northampton, Tyrrell, Vance and Washington counties. She is one of three candidates to challenge Tillis, who is expected to get the Republican nomination. Along with Fuller, Eva Lee, a Raleigh tax attorney, is also a candidate for the Democratic nomination.

“I am one of us for all of us,” Smith said, echoing her campaign slogan. “When you send me to the Capitol, I will work for the little guy, the middle guy, the big guy – and all the girls in between.

“It’s time to send someone to Congress who has the ability, the competence, the intellect and the integrity to get the job done. How long are we going to wait? We cannot wait another day.”

If elected, Smith would join a select group of black politicians who have held seats in the Senate. Currently, there are three.

Smith unveiled her Six-Point Lesson Plan and Platform for Progress:

• Economic expansion

• Environmental stewardship

• Education equity

• Equitable health care

• Equal justice access, opportunity & protection justice reform

• Re-engineering policies for progress, compensation, tax codes, immigration

“I’m running to win,” said Smith, a native of Fayetteville. “And there’s no looking back.”

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and master’s degree in religious studies from Howard University. She is a former engineer for Boeing Co. and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Smith currently teaches high school math and science and is an ordained clergy at Cool Spring Missionary Baptist Church in Gaston.

First elected to the General Assembly in 2014, Smith is co-chair of the Joint Legislative Women’s Caucus, second vice chair of the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus for 2017-19 and is a member of the House and Senate bipartisan caucus for 2017-19. Smith also helped lead the Northampton County Democratic Party and served six years on the Northampton County Board of Education.

Clayton said the time is now for women like Smith to step to the forefront.

“There is a surge of strong women coming forth, and there’s a liberating reception to them,” Clayton said. “People are saying, ‘Why not now? Why not Erica?’”

State Rep. Yvonne Holley, a Raleigh Democrat in her fourth term who announced she is running for lieutenant governor, agreed.

“Black women have been the backbone of the Democratic Party for years, and we have not been able to get our candidates in office,” she said. “We are the most qualified of the candidates and we’re motivated. It’s our time.”


Erica is the best candidate. Most ethical, highest level of integrity, smart on common-sense legislation.
Posted on June 16, 2019
I extend my overwhelming support for Mrs Smith. I just retired from NC school system. As a former Government , economics and history, I?m prepared to bring this change to North Carolina! We are hanging by a gerrymandered noose in this State! Disenfranchisement is so prevalent! Obstruction has been present since Gov. McCroy instituted polices and kept this state hostage as a Republican holding center! Run Smith and run quickly! I?m on board! I want to help desperately!
Posted on June 6, 2019
Every Democratic candidate should use the fact that every republican candidate and others enabled t-RUMP. It's the huge elephant on their backs that they can't get rid of now or during the 2020 election. Use this fact in every debate, townhall meeting, speech and other events to keep in front of the public that every republican did not stand up to the acts and lies of t-RUMP.
Posted on May 31, 2019
I am ready to support.
Posted on May 31, 2019
I am so excited to see this! There is hope.
Posted on May 30, 2019
I know Erica is qualified and has the integrity to best represent us in Washington, DC
Posted on May 27, 2019
Are you supporting Medicare for All?
Posted on May 25, 2019
We are behind you all the way Erica!???
Posted on May 25, 2019
Run Smith Run! Yes!!
Posted on May 25, 2019
What is her stance on common sense gun laws?
Posted on May 24, 2019

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