This is the second in a series of profiles on the 2014 U.S. Senate Candidates on View from the Hill.
For Heather Grant, former member of the Army Nurse Corps and a nurse practitioner, her candidacy is an opportunity for her to build a foundation for future citizen legislators.
“It doesn’t really matter what I do, because the next person behind me can undo it all. We have to start thinking about our future, not just the next election,” she said in an interview.
Grant is running for the Republican nomination to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan. Her lack of political experience has not kept her from having relatively high poll numbers among the other GOP candidates.
Grant is tied with Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon in the polls at 13 percent of the vote, the closest runner-ups to N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis with 20 percent of the vote, according to Public Policy Polling.
“I think it's getting out and speaking to more people,” Grant said of her relative success in the polls. “Being able to have more people actually see me in person, hear me speak, and them talking to friends and family.”
Grant’s proposed future involves interpretations of current policy that fit the bill of a constitutional conservative.
“There's nothing in our constitution that states the federal government should be regulating our health insurance,” she said. “It actually falls to a state level.”
Although she said there have been issues with America’s health care system, especially regarding being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, she said the Affordable Care Act only makes problems worse.
She has not read Sen. Richard Burr’s Patient CARE Act, an alternative plan to the Affordable Care Act, but said the ACA should be repealed and the new focus should be on the increased interstate commerce.
Grant said the constitutional rights for American citizens are being threatened — including the second amendment right to bear arms.
“Our constitution clearly states that we have the right to keep and bear arms, and now we are trying to regulate that,” Grant said. “Not just on people who have committed violent crimes or federal crimes.”
While immigration is still a hotly contested issue both statewide and nationally, Grant said she opposes granting in-state tuition to students who had immigrated to the United States and don't have documentation.
“Whether the children knew that that's what was happening or not, when they brought them over they had actually committed a crime,” Grant said. “When you do something that is wrong, the consequence should never be a bonus.”
Grant will find it difficult to distinguish herself in a sea of five other far-right candidates, some of whom already have political experience.
And even though Grant is high up in the polls relative to her opponents, male candidates Greg Brannon (tied with Grant and also a constitutional conservative) and Ted Alexander (at 10 percent of the vote) have received more media attention.
According to various political analysts, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to whether state and national Republicans will lean toward the right or center of the ideological spectrum, so it isn’t clear if right-wing Republicans will be favored in the coming election.
But one thing is clear.
For all of the analysis on candidates' location on the political spectrum and their stance on the issues, nothing compares to the campaign finances necessary to win the election. And neither Grant nor Brannon nor Alexander have the funds to compete with Tillis.
Read the other Senate profiles by clicking on the buttons below! And be sure to check out the voter's guide for information on Orange County candidates. Early voting ends May 3, and the primary election is May 6.
View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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