Under the Dome

Vodka distillery owner switches races, says NC Democrats can ‘take the majority’

Sam Searcy
Sam Searcy Courtesy of Sam Searcy

Democrat Sam Searcy, who’s been running for Congress in the 2nd District, is dropping out of the race and plans to run instead for state Senate against incumbent Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer.

Searcy, a vodka distillery owner who lives in Holly Springs, announced his change of plans Monday.

“I’m really excited about the governor’s Break the Majority initiative” to elect more Democrats to the legislature, Searcy told the N.C. Insider. “I think we have an opportunity not only to break the supermajority but take the majority.”

Searcy launched his U.S. House campaign in July, and by the end of September he’d raised $550,000, more than incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. George Holding raised during that period. Searcy wouldn't say what will happen to the money he’s already raised – federal campaign accounts can't legally transfer money directly to state campaigns – but he said he expects to list $500,000 in his initial finance report for the Senate campaign.

Asked if the crowded Democratic primary field in the Congressional race was a factor in his decision, he said he's focused on “working to end the dysfunction in the North Carolina state legislature.”

Searcy’s departure leaves businessman Ken Romley, former legislator and lieutenant governor candidate Linda Coleman, and transgender veteran Wendy Ella May in the 2nd District Democratic primary.

Senate District 17, in southern Wake County, will be a close race under the redistricting maps approved in August. The newly drawn district voted 49 percent for Republican Pat McCrory in last year’s governor's race and 48.6 percent for Democrat Roy Cooper.

Searcy said his Senate campaign will focus on education funding, healthcare access and economic issues.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter