Hanig: No plans to respond to Boswell

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Commissioner Bobby Hanig

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CURRITUCK — The chairman of the Currituck Board of Commissioners says he plans to follow the “11th Commandant” when it comes to responding to criticisms by his Republican opponent in the May GOP primary for the state House seat in newly drawn District 6.  

Bobby Hanig said he’s following Ronald Reagan’s dictum, first used by the U.S. president in his 1966 campaign for California governor, that “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican,” in his primary race against state Rep. Beverly Boswell, R-Dare.

“My record will outshine any negativity that comes at me. I will defend myself when needed, but yes, I will run a positive campaign,” Hanig said during a recent phone interview.

Hanig was responding to a statement from Boswell’s re-election campaign last month questioning his decision to challenge Boswell for the House District 6 seat. Boswell currently represents Dare, Hyde, Washington and a part of Beaufort County. Because of redistricting, however, District 6 now includes Dare, Hyde, Currituck and Pamlico counties.

Boswell's re-election campaign statement, dated Feb. 20, was issued through Luke Stancil, who leads Lookout Strategies, a Raleigh-based business and political communications firm.

In the statement, Boswell said she couldn’t figure out why Hanig is running for the District 6 seat, claiming everything Hanig said he hoped to do if he’s elected are things she and state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, are already doing. Boswell said that includes cutting taxes even more than Republican lawmakers already have and eliminating “liberal regulations” implemented by Democrats in the past.

“No one, at least no one who believes in conservative values, can attack the pro-taxpayer, pro-jobs record Bill Cook and I have built over the last two years,” Boswell said. “And neither can Mr. Hanig.

“He (Hanig) babbles in his press release about ‘effectiveness’ but no one has been more effective than I have in standing up to leftist extremists and their dangerous and radical agenda,” Boswell said.

Boswell was referring to a statement Hanig made about his reasons for running for the District 6 seat when he filed. In the statement, Hanig said he had been encouraged to run and if elected, planned to be a “conservative voice in the General Assembly” as he had been on the Currituck Board of Commissioners. Hanig also his focus would be on working with other conservatives to reduce what he sees as wasteful government spending, cut red tape hurting local businesses, and lower taxes and create jobs in the region.

Boswell’s initial reaction to Hanig’s candidacy seemed welcoming.

“This is a political campaign and whomever feels the calling into public service is welcome to file,” she said in an emailed response when asked about Hanig getting into the race.

But her stance had apparently changed a day later.

“His press release was nothing more than amorphous vague double-talk saying nothing controversial,” Boswell said in the Feb. 20 statement issued by Stancil. “And that shows he’s afraid to take a stand for what we believe. And Mr. Hanig appears to believe in nothing but getting another title.”  

The latter was an apparent reference to the fact Hanig, who was elected to the Currituck Board of Commissioners in November 2016, is in the second year of his four-year term.  

Boswell’s press release went on state that she plans to “win the primary by a big margin” and even carry Currituck.

In a subsequent March 9 press release, also issued by Stancil, Boswell also claimed Hanig “sounds like” 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in Hanig’s opposition to the Trump administration's proposal to expand offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

During a Currituck commissioners meeting on March 5, Hanig joined a majority of his board in declaring the county's opposition to oil and gas exploration and drilling off the North Carolina coast. Hanig said he wasn’t going to take a chance on someone in Currituck, which relies heavily on the hospitality business, being unemployed just to help someone else gain financially from drilling for oil offshore.

Boswell’s statement appeared to downplay the impact of the hospitality jobs Hanig said he wanted to defend.

“I reject scare tactics from radical environmental extremist types who look down on real people who want and need good-paying year-round jobs, not the seasonal tourist jobs many of whom go to people from other countries,” Boswell said in the prepared statement. “It’s sad that they intimidate Mr. Hanig. They don’t intimidate me.”

Although Boswell accuses Hanig of running simply to obtain “another title,” she also ran for her current legislative seat in the middle of a four-year term on the Dare Board of Commissioners.

After an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Kill Devil Hills Board of Commissioners in 2013, Boswell won election the next year to a seat on the Dare commission. She then ran in 2016 for the House District 6 seat, winning both the Republican primary and the general election.  

Hanig said while he disagrees with Boswell’s press release, he is not going to comment on its content.

“I'm not going to go back and forth” with her, he said.

Hanig said he doesn't believe people who live in District 6 care about Boswell’s press release. He believes the concerns of district residents are more focused on economics and pocketbook issues.

“They (district residents) are 100 percent more concerned about how to put food on the table and keep their taxes low,” Hanig said.

Hanig said he's planning to run on what he said he believes is a proven background. Besides his service in the U.S. Army as a tank mechanic, he also founded a pool cleaning and maintenance business in 2001 and co-founded Brindley Beach Vacations in 2004. He sold his interest in the latter a few years ago.

Boswell is employed in Dare County as a medical assistant phlebotomist. 

The winner of the Boswell-Haning primary will face Democrat Tess Judge in the fall general election.