ALBEMARLE — With 60% of the vote, over Democratic incumbent Rep. Scott Brewer’s 40%, Republican Richmond County Commissioner Ben Moss sailed to an easy victory in the N.C. House District 66 race. The district contains all of Richmond and Montgomery counties as well as northeastern Stanly County, including Badin and parts of Albemarle. In Stanly, Moss received 2,890 votes to Brewer’s 1,569.
“I try to stay humble about it,” Moss told SCJ when asked about the large victory. “My goal was to win, but it’s also nice to win by a margin where you don’t have to worry about the recounts. I was very happy with the results I got from Stanly County, and I’m really eager to prove to them that, yes, I’m from Richmond County, but I want to represent Montgomery and Stanly just as hard as I represent Richmond.”
HD-66 has been trending Republican in recent years despite being traditionally Democratic. Former Rep. Ken Goodman, a Democrat who represented the district until he resigned in April of 2019, initially won the seat with 61% of the vote in 2010, then ran unopposed in 2012 and 2014. But Republicans began to gain, with Goodman only winning 51% to 47% in 2018. When Goodman resigned, Brewer was appointed to take his place, and the Republican-trending district became seen as a likely GOP pickup.
Moss has witnessed this rightward trend of the area during his political career, saying he initially had trouble being elected as a Republican to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners.
“I ran three times before I was elected to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. A lot of people would say, you have to change party affiliation before you can get elected,” Moss said. “But a lot of people in the district are now realizing their beliefs and views line up more with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. A lot of people are really seeing how these parties have changed significantly throughout the years.”
Moss was raised in Rockingham and followed his father’s footsteps as a “railroader,” working for CSX Transportation as an engineer, conductor and trainmaster. He and his wife Amber have two children and continue to live in Rockingham. They are active members of the Church of God of Prophecy.
Moss has also spent almost a decade on the Richmond County Board of Commissioners and says his experience there will help him in state politics.
“I’m used to the local government level,” Moss said. “I’m sure it’s a totally different ballgame on the state level. But politics is politics. You’re going to have to try to find a way to meet your goals and make sure you can get things for the people in the district.”
Moss said one of his main goals in Raleigh will be to “make sure the rural areas get the piece of the pie they’re entitled to. I’m really excited to get in there and make sure the rural districts’ voices are heard.”
In addition to this broader goal, Moss said, “But my main goal is to try to better the district. And to me, that’s things like securing funding for the district, and I’m a big advocate for education. I’m a really big advocate for trade schools and community colleges.”
In Stanly County, Moss said he was very grateful to Rep. Wayne Sasser, a Republican who represents the rest of the county in the state House, saying he “has a lot of respect” for him and could tell everybody he met around the county did as well.
“I made contact with Wayne and started to visit places in Stanly County, making contacts with certain people, and just seeing people in Stanly County,” Moss said. “I just tried to talk to as many people as I could because they didn’t know me, and I wanted them to get a chance to know me.”
Moss is also leaning on Sasser for advice on adjusting to General Assembly life in Raleigh, calling Sasser a “seasoned” member. He has also talked to the speaker of the N.C. House, Rep. Tim Moore of King’s Mountain, to get prepared for his role.
“I’ve got two years to prove myself,” Moss said. “My main goal is to do my job that I was elected to do; and if I do that, I think I will get the support of some people that I didn’t get this past election.”
Brewer conceded the race and made the following comment on his Facebook: “Thank you to all the people who supported our campaign, especially to all of our volunteers who dedicated hundreds of hours. I can’t thank you all enough. I wish Representative Elect Moss the best in serving our state. It has been an honor serving our citizens that I will always treasure.”