Don Brown

Don Brown

<p>John R. Bradford III</p>

John R. Bradford III

<p>Allen Baucom</p>

Allen Baucom

<p>Leight Brown</p>

Leight Brown

<p>Mark Harris</p>

Mark Harris

<p>Chris Maples</p>

Chris Maples

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the final story in a three-part series profiling the six candidates running for Congress in District 8 on the Republican ticket. A story on Allan Baucom ran in the Robesonian on Jan. 24. Profiles of Chris Maples, Leigh Brown and Mark Harris were published in the Feb. 28 Robesonian. What follows are profiles of John R. Bradford III and Don Brown.

John R. Bradford III

LUMBERTON – State Rep. John R. Bradford III promotes himself as the most experienced political candidate in the race for the U.S. House in North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District.

He has represented District 98 in the N.C. House of Representatives for eight years. His current term of office ends on January 1, 2025.

Now he’s looking to serve the people on a different, federal level in the U.S. House.

“I am the only candidate that actually has a proven track record of delivering conservative results, and that is really through my role in the N.C. House,” Bradford said to The Robesonian. “Eight years of serving – that’s four terms. I’m senior chairman of the Finance Committee, which is a leadership role in the House of Representatives.

“I have delivered like the largest tax cut in our state’s history. I’ve delivered a balanced budget every single year that I’ve served,” he said. “I brought us voter I.D., so now you show your ID when you go vote, and that’s a very conservative value that I helped put in place. I’ve made sure parents have a bill of rights. They know what their children are being taught in the classroom. Sanctuary cities – we’ve stopped some of our more liberal cities like Charlotte and Raleigh from becoming sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. I helped do that.”

He said he also “helped stop biological males from competing with our daughters in high school sports.”

Previously, Bradford had declared to run for N.C. State Treasurer in this election cycle, but his name will not appear on the ballot for that position.

“I am the most experienced candidate and only one who doesn’t just have to talk about the things I’ll do,” he said with the confidence of a seasoned politician. “I’m actually talking about things I’ve done on the state level, and this will be a continuation to try to take those same types of policies to D.C.”

The 49-year-old Bradford lives with his family in Cornelius in Mecklenburg County.

His educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Clemson University in 1996 and an M.B.A. from the University of Memphis in 2000.

Along with his work in the state legislature, Bradford has established a career as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

His work experience includes serving as a CEO with his own company, working as a sales manager and sales executive during a decade-long tenure with the IBM Corporation and operating as an environmental engineer for another four years with the ExxonMobil Corporation.

His political aspirations started from his experience as a business owner and serving on the local Chamber of Commerce. He was encouraged to run for town council. He ran, and he won.

He later successfully ran for the state house, which is where he has worked for eight years.

“And now I’m running for Congress,” he said.

“Being involved in our community and being a business owner,” he said, “I think we need business-minded people in these roles with a lot of lawyers, which is great. I think we need people with practical business experience with the challenges we’re facing in the economy, the challenges we’re facing with the workforce. And all these things I know because I’ve grown two businesses from the ground up.”

The first was Park Avenue Properties, a residential property management company that he sold three years ago.

As for the second business — a pet screening software operation that collects data on pets — Bradford said, “We’re (PetScreening) one of the fastest technology software companies that’s growing in the state of North Carolina.

“The whole premise of my software is to try to help landlords across the country better understand the data that they have on a particular pet to try to get pets a shot in housing.” The information helps property managers verify assistance animals, manage pet policies and protect their assets with better data, the company states online.

Bradford is part of a partnership group behind the Slim Chickens restaurant chain. He said he helped build the building that is home to one of the restaurants on 3rd Street in Pembroke. Another Slim Chickens franchise, too, operates in District 8.

“I know this district. I’m in this district all the time, and (it’s) not only what I’ve done in Raleigh,” he said.

The son of a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army and Air Force, Bradford grew up a self-described Army brat who came of age in Summerville, South Carolina, just outside of Charleston. His father was stationed at the former Charleston Air Force Base before retiring.

“I grew up very humble beginnings,” he recalled. “We were not wealthy by any means. We had a roof over our head. We had a safe place to call home, and we were fed every night. But our vacations consisted of piling into the front of a pickup truck and pulling a 20-year-old camper while we went to the state parks. It was the best thing we could have ever done.”

He still maintains a love of fishing from that time. “I love to fish. Everything about fishing, I love. And I can have one heck of a fish fry,” he added with a slight laugh.

“I’m just a regular guy that was raised by mom and dad, who taught us the difference between a hand up and a hand out,” said Bradford. “My mom and dad are incredible hard workers, and I’m a hard worker. I’ve never been given anything. I’ve always earned everything I have. And I’m OK with that.

“I think that’s what makes me who I am today,” he said. “I’ve been successful, but I’ve worked hard to be successful.”

For him, the most pressing issue in this Republican primary for Congressional District 8 involves national security at the border. He said that’s where his experience comes in.

“I have a record of being tough on the border,” said Bradford. “When you talk about the border, it’s a serious issue that hits us in a lot of different ways. So I’m ready to go help secure the border by finishing the wall (that former President Donald Trump started). We need to reinstate the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program because it’s not very cozy to remain and wait in Mexico …”

Bradford also speaks fervently of really understanding the issue with federal funding for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, whose historical homeland in Robeson County is part of District 8. These Native Americans, he noted, already have federal recognition. It’s just “the other part” – the resources and federal program funding that other Indian tribes in the nation receive from full federal recognition — that has not come their way.

“I would just join that fight,” he said, “to make sure that we try to get the Lumbee Indians their fair share of federal program funding. And I’m known for carrying complex bills, I’m known for carrying complex issues, I’m known for getting them done. So I feel good that I could try to shine some additional light on this issue and try to change the tides up there and the thinking of people who have more of a purist blood sort of thinking (on Indian tribes) which I think is ridiculous.

“These folks are clearly Native American,” he said, “and need to be recognized with the federal dollars. I’m ready to make that fight.”

Don Brown

LUMBERTON – The 8th Congressional District election on March 5 in North Carolina has been identified as a battleground primary for the Republican Party.

With that in mind, the stakes are high for the half-dozen candidates who have cast their luck, seeking the primary nomination in the Republican election and the chance to run in the November 5 general election for the U.S. 8th District seat.

Justin Dues of Concord is running unopposed in the district’s Democratic primary, meaning that the winner of the Republican primary will face him in the November general election.

Don Brown falls among the conservative pool of Republican candidates who include a Baptist minister from Indian Trail, an incumbent member of the N.C. House of Representatives from Cornelius, a real estate mogul out of Cabarrus County and an injured veteran from Pembroke who has worked for roughly a decade as a Congressional staffer at a leadership level.

On Thursday, Brown was working his campaign in Robeson County. He stopped at a library in Pembroke, ate chitlins and chicken gizzards at Fuller’s BBQ in Pembroke and then spent a couple of hours at the Robeson County Board of Education in Lumberton.

“It’s been a kind of whirlwind tour of Robeson County today. Tomorrow,” he said, alluding to Friday, ” I’m probably going to be in Stanley County then Cabarrus County. Jumpin’ here, jumpin’ there. Never a dull moment.”

So let’s meet Plymouth native Don Brown and give him an opportunity to voice his thoughts on various issues that he’s passionate about in advance of Tuesday’s election primary.

The last time he ran for office, he said, was “for president of the Campbell Law School Association” at Campbell University in Buies Creek.

“The Fighter North Carolina Needs,” reads a slogan on the Brown for Congress website.

The 63-year-old Brown, who now lives in Union County, is a former U.S. Navy JAG officer who has experience working as a constitutional attorney, small business owner and nationally best-selling author of military fiction and nonfiction books, according to the Don Brown for Congress website.

In all, he has written 15 books on the military, including three national best-sellers. Among them: “The Last Fighter Pilot: The True Story of the Final Combat Mission of World War II.”

During his 16 years of service in the Navy, Brown served at the Pentagon for the Secretary of the Navy and as a U.S. military prosecutor.

Brown said he has been friends with U.S. Rep Dan Bishop for more than 30 years. “Everybody is Dan Bishop’s friend. My claim to fame is I knew Dan Bishop before he was Dan Bishop,” he added.

Fourteen months or so ago, Bishop and Brown had lunch together in Waxhaw. At that time, Brown said, Bishop told him he was thinking about leaving the U.S. House and running for attorney general. Brown said he tried to talk him out of it because “he’s been a superstar in the House.”

“At the end of the day,” said Brown, “Dan Bishop — his shoes are going to be hard to fill. I felt like I needed to step up and see if I could do it.”

Everyone of his opponents in the District 8 race, he said, has a good story to tell.

“In my case, I’ve already been kind of battling — I call it ‘in the belly of the federal beast now’ for going back over 10 years. So many experiences I’ve had,” he said. “I’m an ex-Navy JAG officer, I was at the Pentagon, studied through the Naval War College. When I was at the Pentagon — my final duty station — I was the action officer providing advice to the Secretary of the Navy on officer personnel matters. I’ve been involved in a lot of security-type situations and well suited there.”

On a February 13 post on his personal Facebook page, Brown wrote:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a $34 trillion dollar debt, and escalating by the second. And in the face of that, we see this Democrat-RINO (there are very few differences between a Democrat and a RINO) Ukraine boondoggle. These fools aren’t interested in closing the border, but only in destroying the United States dollar, destroying the United States and marching toward globalism. Mark my words. Not on my watch.”

He’s running his campaign on Issues important to him, including the ending of political prosecutions and ending the weaponization of government, restoring sanity to federal spending, sealing the border and cracking down with federal death legislation for child sex traffickers and fentanyl importers. Brown gave that response to a question on the online Ballotpedia political website.

Since getting out of the service, he has dealt with a number of military matters. None of his opponents, he said, have been involved with that level of military issues comparable to him. He also has been involved in COVID-19 vaccine litigation and ended up filing a lawsuit that wound up in the District Court in Columbia, South Carolina. This case involved close to 100 plaintiffs at the Savannah River nuclear plant in South Carolina.

“They used to build nukes down there in Aiken, South Carolina, on the Savannah River, across from Augusta,” he said of the Georgia city. “About 100 plaintiffs, a number of them were engineers who did not want to take the vaccination. We brought that case and battled it up to the 4th Circuit of Appeals before the administration backed down. I won’t say they backed down necessarily because of any brilliant lawyering, but you’ve just got to hammer. I was involved in that. I was involved in representing a number of Christians before the EOC (Emergency Operations Center). Didn’t really want to take the vaccination. This is a hot button with a lot of Republican voters as you may know.”

Brown has been a frequent conservative voice contributing to numerous television and radio shows across the country, including “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox television. On Hannity, he successfully fought for his client, Army Lt. Clint Lorance, to earn a presidential pardon from former President Donald Trump for what Brown called an unjust prosecution by the Obama administration.

Brown had accused the military justice system of corruption for the prosecutions of Lorance, Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and Army Green Beret Matt Golsteyn. Lorance became a known figure for having been convicted and later pardoned for war crimes.

Brown is licensed to practice law in the Carolinas. Accounts state that he is the owner of Brown & Associates PLLC, a law firm based in Charlotte where he practices law in the areas of civil litigation, military law, criminal defense, family law and estate planning.

Brown graduated from the University of North Carolina, and after finishing law school at Campbell University, continued his post-graduate studies through the Naval War College, earning the Navy’s nonresident certificate in International Law, sources state.

“I’ve been involved in battling on a federal level. All of these are federal issues,” he noted. “Much more so than anyone else. And I say that with respect to my opponents. … I’ve got the type of experience that I think I’m ready from Day One and, more so, step into Congress and deal with the legal issues more so than anyone else.”