Longtime friends vying for NC Senate seat

Posted October 26, 2014

— You'd never guess it from the avalanche of negative fliers, but the two candidates vying for the state Senate race in a northwestern Wake County district have been friends for 40 years.

Tom Bradshaw and John Alexander are well-known names in Raleigh. Bradshaw, a Democrat, was mayor of Raleigh in the 1970s and a former state transportation secretary. He has a stretch of Interstate 40 named after him.

Alexander, a Republican, is president of Cardinal International Trucks and has been active in local civic efforts, such as the Triangle Flight of Honor that flew World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., when a new monument opened. A Raleigh YMCA is named for his family.

“We’re friends,” Alexander said. “We are. Have been. And it’s unusual, obviously.”

Wake County Republicans put Alexander's name on the ballot after Rep. Jim Fulghum, who won the May primary for the Senate District 15 seat, died of cancer in July.

The district runs from inside the Raleigh Beltline to the very northern tip of Wake County, taking in some of the area's most affluent and fastest-growing communities. The seat opened after Republican Sen. Neal Hunt retired.

Both Alexander and Bradshaw say education would be their top priority if elected. They agree that it's a good investment in economic development. They would bring different strengths to the job. Bradshaw says his political experience will help him work with a likely Republican majority.

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“Now, we can have an election, but then we have to govern,” Bradshaw said, “and we ought to govern together and have discussion. And I think this super-majority they have downtown, we're not allowing discussion because they can just push it right through.”

Alexander hasn't held office before. He says his experience as a small-business owner will help him find ways to cut state spending.

“Try to save the taxpayers some money because they get taxed from the state, the federal government, property tax, sales tax, blah, blah, blah. There's too many of them, and you know, we just need to make sure we're efficient with those dollars,” Alexander said.

Both candidates have done a lot of civic volunteering, often working together on the same boards. No matter what happens Nov. 4, they both say that won't change.

“I have to say Tom and I are running for the same seat – rather than saying against each other,” Alexander said.

“Johnny says we've been friends before and we'll be friends now and we'll be friends afterwards, and if he wins, I'd like to be a resource for him. I would hope he would be a resource to me,” Bradshaw said.

The last day to vote early is Saturday. Election Day is Nov. 4. Voters don't need photo identification to vote this year, but poll workers will ask if you have one.


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  • busyb97 Oct 27, 2014

    I saw an interview on one of the weekend morning shows (I was in Charlotte at the time..so maybe from around there?) with two brothers from NC somewhere who were running for the same political seat for different parties.

  • peterk1970 Oct 27, 2014

    I just checked my district, and neither are in my area. But, I get the feeling that no matter who wins, Raleigh would be well served.
    If there were only more races like this one.

  • ncprr1 Oct 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    True...At least these two guys were educated before liberals took over the public schools and universities and re-wrote history to better fit their twisted agenda.

  • btneast Oct 27, 2014

    They are both entirely too old to be running. Their ideas and positions are as dated as are they Older people have something no amount of money will buy a young person, and that's wisdom. An older, more wise person, can be receptive to new ideas.....but as receptive as they may want to be, wisdom is only gained through time and experience.

  • T-Man Oct 27, 2014

    View quoted thread

    So, you will be voting for Clay Aiken then?