Unaffiliated candidate may join area race for Congress

Mar. 28—RANDOLPH COUNTY — An unaffiliated candidate may join the Republican incumbent and Democratic challenger in the race to represent the congressional district that covers all of Randolph County and part of High Point.

U.S. Army veteran Shelane Etchison says her campaign gathered more than 12,000 signatures of voters in the 9th District, more than the 7,460 needed by the March 5 deadline for Etchison to qualify to appear on the fall general election ballot.

The candidates now officially in the race are Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson and Democrat Nigel William Bristow of Hamlet.

County boards of elections are still checking signatures, N.C. State Board of Elections spokesman Pat Gannon told The High Point Enterprise.

If enough valid signatures are confirmed, Etchison, 37, will be making her first bid for elected office.

Etchison, whose campaign is based out of Southern Pines, said she offers an alternative to the nominees of both major political parties.

"Politicians today care more about their political party than they care about solving real problems." Etchison said. "People here in North Carolina deserve better. It's time for a new generation of leaders who are practical, not political."

Etchison served 11 years in the Army and spent most of her career in Special Operations based at Fort Liberty, formerly named Fort Bragg. Her campaign says that she was one of the first women selected to support Army Rangers on direct combat missions in Afghanistan. She also deployed to Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

After her service, Etchison became a Pat Tillman Scholar, earning an MBA and a public policy degree from Harvard. She returned to Moore County when she completed the program and has worked as a security consultant.

On her campaign website, Etchison says that she "supports legislation protecting a woman's right to make her own reproductive choices, upholding Second Amendment rights, protecting our civil liberties and ensuring all people, regardless of religious, racial, or sexual orientation, are protected to pursue a life free of discrimination."

In addition to Randolph County, the redrawn 9th District covers a small slice of eastern High Point and most of Jamestown. The district also takes in all of Alamance, Moore and Hoke counties and parts of Cumberland and Chatham counties.

pjohnson@hpenews.com — 336-888-3528 — @HPEpaul