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Conservative small business owner Ethan Baca has filed to run for U.S. House in the 1st Congressional District, his campaign announced Thursday.
Baca is the first Republican to mount a challenge to Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, in the 2020 election cycle. He’s been campaigning for several months and spoke at the Wilson County GOP’s annual oyster roast fundraiser in October.
“Every stone and every potential blade of grassroots support has been explored,” Baca said in a campaign news release. “It was time to make it official.”
Baca’s platform will include ramping up federal support for vocational and technical education, supporting family farms and protecting constitutional freedoms, including the Second Amendment right to own and responsibly use firearms.
The 35-year-old Pender County resident owns and manages The Eco Oil Guy, a mobile oil change business. An Arizona native who describes his roots as “a close-knit, blue-collar, working-class family,” Baca attended the University of New Mexico and has launched several business ventures. He and wife Denise Baca have two daughters, Sage and Jude, who are home-schooled.
Baca named Richard Scott, a longtime Republican leader in Halifax County and former state Senate candidate, as his campaign manager. Baca and Scott have established a district committee and county field committees for each of the 15 eastern North Carolina counties in the 1st District.
In the first week of 2020, Baca plans to meet with each group of supporters. The tour “will help us hit the ground running in the new year,” Scott said in the release.
Butterfield is serving his seventh full term in Congress and defeated 2018 Republican challenger Roger Allison, a Durham businessman, with about 70% of the vote.
The 2020 election will see tweaks to North Carolina’s congressional district maps. The 1st District absorbs a western swath of Wilson County that was formerly in the 2nd District. With the latter district shifting into Wake County, Rep. George Holding, R-Raleigh, has announced that he will not run for reelection.
The deadline for candidate filing in the 2020 elections is Dec. 20.