As state legislators argue over the budget, the Iredell County Republican Party wasted no time nominating Iredell County Commissioner Jeffery McNeely as a replacement for former Rep. Rena Turner, who stepped down Thursday.
“If I’m appointed, I’ll give up eating just like I gave up that sleep thing when I was elected to be a county commissioner,” McNeely said.
Friday evening, the party’s executive committee gathered and voted between three applicants. McNeely, Iredell-Statesville Schools board member Bill Howell and Purple Heart Homes co-founder John Gallina all applied for the open seat in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Seventeen members of the committee who lived in the district voted via ballot, including McNeely himself, after the three applicants participated in interviews with the committee.
Applicants had to answer five questions such as if they planned on running in the 2020 election or how much time the position should require.
“I’m not the smartest man, but I have common sense,” McNeely said. “I know right from wrong.”
McNeely called his common sense a super power because it’s not as common as it should be.
He listed all of the committees he was in as a county commissioner and compared them to the ones Turner held. Several committees involved agriculture.
“I know what it takes to scratch out a living in this dirt,” McNeely said. “I’ve seen people do it.”
McNeely had an endorsement from Turner.
He said he hoped to have input on a farm bill moving through the state legislature soon and to change the tier system that helps the state determine how to allocate funding to the counties.
“I’ve been getting ready,” McNeely said. “I’ve been getting ready for about a year now. I’ve been working with our legislature. I’ve been going down to Raleigh.”
McNeely said the two men he ran against were good men, and he was honored and humbled by the committee’s choice.
“Our county party gets strong with participation like this,” Chairman Ron “Duck” Wyatt said.
Wyatt said the party's nomination would be sent to the governor within 24 hours.