A seven-year Marine veteran has been tapped by the Democratic Party to run against Republican Deanna Ballard for the 45th NC Senate District seat in November.
Wes Luther, 29, announced over the weekend his intention to seek the seat as the Democratic nominee, after being chosen for the race by the district’s Democratic Party.
He takes the place of former nominee Brandon Anderson, who withdrew from the race in June, but waited until July 24 to publicly announce the decision to drop out. At that time, he said he was too busy with his ministry Christ the Liberator, which is oriented toward the LGBTQ community, to focus on the race.
The State Senate District Executive Committee, which is made of up of two representatives from each county represented in the district — including Surry County — met last week to make its final selection for a replacement, choosing Luther to carry the party’s banner.
He will square off against Ballard, of Blowing Rock. Ballard already fought off another incumbent for the nomination — Shirley Randleman — after the two GOP senators found themselves in the same district after the General Assembly redrew district boundaries earlier this year.
Luther said the committee informed him Friday of its desire for him to assume the Democratic nomination.
“They were very excited, they said I had a really good opportunity…I was very happy to accept it,” Luther said. “I think we can bring some great change, and some good opportunity for North Carolinians.”
This is Luther’s first foray into politics, though he has thought about it for a while. He said he contemplated running against U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx in her last re-election bid, but ultimately opted not to because of increasing school-related commitments at the time.
He said it was the discussions he had then with the district Democratic Party officials which led them to coming back to him this year.
Luther served in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years, eventually moving up to the position of sergeant. He said he served one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2011, as well as being stationed in several other assignments in the Middle East, including time in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and in Kuwait.
He is attending Appalachian State University, majoring in sustainable technology.
“I’m honored to be asked to run. I see this as yet another opportunity to serve my country and the people of North Carolina,” he said. “My priorities are public education and sustainable businesses for a clean future for North Carolina. The current legislature in Raleigh has been funneling our tax dollars to private schools, and encouraging industries that pollute our air and water. This is against everything North Carolinians stand for.”
He is in the midst of setting up his campaign staff.
The 45th senate district includes the Surry County precincts Dobson 1, 2, 3, Stewarts Creek 1, 2, Mount Airy 8, Rockford, Eldora, Siloam, Elkin 1, 2, 3, Bryan, Franklin, and Marsh as well as all or parts of Alleghany, Ashe, Iredell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.