By Pete Zamplas
Maggie Valley – Lynda Bennett has backing of Pres. Donald Trump and Mark Meadows, Trump’s new chief of staff, in her pursuit of succeeding Meadows in Congress in the U.S. House 11th District for western North Carolina.
Bennett, 62, of Maggie Valley, squares off against Hendersonville’s Madison Cawthorn in the run-off GOP primary on Tuesday, June 23. Early voting concludes Saturday.
Bennett classifies herself as a “Ronald Reagan” conservative, strict constitutionalist, and a “business leader.” She runs a real estate firm.
“Lynda will continue the work of Congressman Meadows, in supporting the president and his America First agenda,” she pledges on her campaign website. She favors “limited government, national defense and traditional family values.” She calls for lower prescription drug prices, and resisting the “dangerous socialist agenda.”
“We must strive to support and defend Pres. Trump from the radical left who seek to destroy him, and the great work he has accomplished,” she stated. Specifically, she backs stronger enforcement of immigration laws, securing borders and building a wall, further federal deregulation to “promote economic growth,” strong foreign policy and support of military veterans.
President Trump on June 4, the onset of early voting, tweeted his “complete and total endorsement of a great fighter and ally” in Bennett. “She is strong on crime, borders, military, our great vets, and 2A (2nd Amendment gun rights). She will be a great help to me in D.C.”
There is a run-off since no one in the crowded 12-candidate GOP field got the needed 30 percent of votes, to win the general primary outright on Super Tuesday March 3. Bennett got 22.7 percent and Cawthorn 20.4 percent. The top two qualified for the run-off. They eliminated Wayne King, Meadows’ deputy chief of staff and district director, among others. Democrat Moe Davis, a retired Air Force colonel, awaits the run-off winner, for the Nov. 3 election.
Meadows, in his fourth term, vacated his seat when becoming chief of staff in late March. Meadows and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), his longtime House Freedom Caucus tag-team partner, both officially endorsed Bennett for the 11th District seat. Their wives campaigned for her.
Meadows hailed Bennett in a House Freedom Action TV ad as a “devout Christian, pro-life, and a defender of the Second Amendment.” Bennett said she is an evangelical Christian. She and her husband Pat have two daughters.
Meadows emphasized that Bennett is a “conservative outsider, not a professional politician. She’ll work with Pres. Trump, to drain the swamp and keep America great.”
The ad is sponsored by House Freedom Action. Bennett lists herself as the conservative “Freedom Caucus candidate,” and vows to join the caucus if elected. She calls it the “sentinels at the gate, protecting our republic for “we the people. Send me to the “People’s House,” so I can be your sentinel for NC-11.” She also cites getting endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Bennett is a recent vice-chair of the Haywood County GOP. She has owned vacation rentals and a heavy equipment company. She points to her more than 35 years in business, for being versed in balancing budgets and restraining spending.
Economy, Health care
Bennett lists her priority issues such as Second Amendment gun rights, “pro-life” and abortion restrictions, health care, better medical care for military veterans, and supporting Israel and countering the “anti-semitic left.”
The economy was “booming” pre-COVID-19, she said. She wants “more better-paying jobs” in WNC. She is for “further removal of business-killing regulations, and work to lower taxes. High corporate tax rates … cripples the working class’ opportunities for advancement” since “tax is overhead” expense for companies.
On Saturday, she chatted with farmers at the Tailgate market in Hendersonville about “how to best serve our agribusinesses in Congress.”
On health care, she seeks “lower prescription drug prices” — noting they account for nearly one-fourth of health costs. She wants to “cut out the middle man” — prescription benefit managers. “They are paid a percentage of the retail prices, and have no incentive to lower prices.”
To secure lower premiums, she wants small business groups to get to “team up to qualify for group health insurance.” She calls for “transparency for all costs,” lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” right for those with pre-existing medical conditions to still get coverage and to join state-created “high risk” pools to lower premiums.
On education, she is for less federal strings to its funding, “more teaching” and “less testing done in order to get federal dollars.”
She refuted a television ad by a PAC backing Cawthorn with audio of Bennett saying she is “Never Trump.” Bennett explained she varied her voice in parodying the anti-Trump faction at a Haywood County Republican work session in 2016, and was not expressing her own pro-Trump views. She told colleagues then she was sarcastically “facetious,” and said Haywood GOP Chr. Ken Henson vouched “she really is for Trump.”
Bennett said she campaigned for Trump in 2016 and hosted a local Trump “inaugural ball.”
She noted the work session was to develop a “palm card of candidates to be handed out at the polls,” that she disagreed with those wanting to leave out Trump, and felt Trump “earned” his spot atop the slate.
For more info about her, check https://lyndaforcongress.com.