Durham businessman joining Dem field in US Senate race

Posted October 15, 2015

— The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate next March is about to get a little more crowded.

Durham businessman Kevin Griffin plans to enter the race officially on Friday, becoming the third candidate seeking to challenge two-term Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr next fall.

Griffin, 44, is founder and chief executive of staffing company AVANT Group LLC and, as a political neophyte, he readily acknowledges that he has a lot to learn about campaigning.

Still, the Burlington native said in an exclusive interview with WRAL News that he is tired of the gridlock in Washington, D.C., and he thinks he can do something about it. He said he plans to focus his campaign on transparency, education and veterans' affairs.

"Almost every problem that we face as a nation can be rolled back down to education. We have to continue to develop our people," he said.

"I think we need to provide better support for our veterans as they’re rotating out of service," he continued. "As an employer, I’ve seen a lot of issues where the skills that they’ve learned and acquired in service are great, but it’s difficult to transition those into the outside workforce. So, I’d like to see and create programs that are going to help ease that transition."

Former state Rep. Deborah Ross of Raleigh and Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey are already on the March 15 Democratic primary ballot. Griffin said both are strong candidates, but both are politicians and lack the entrepreneurial background he would bring to the Senate if elected.

"I think that, in order to bring about change, you have to try something new," Griffin said. "I'm something new. I have new ideas. I have a new background. I have a new approach. And I think that's something that can resonate."

The winner of the primary is expected to face an uphill battle against Burr, a well-funded incumbent.


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