Rep Jon Hardister loses bid for State Labor Commissioner

In a disappointing development for MAID legislation in NC, Rep Jon Hardister (R-59), the House Majority Whip from Greensboro, lost in a 4-way race to 38-year old challenger Luke Farley, who had no previous elective experience.  Hardister had been a long-time supporter of MAID legislation, sponsoring bills in 2019 and 2021, one of the few Republicans in the country to publicly do so.  In the March 5 primary Farley won 36.9% of the vote, while Hardister came in second with 28%.  Hardister prevailed in 11 counties out of the 100 in NC, including his home base of Guilford County where he romped with 61%; he also won in the counties immediately surrounding Guilford, suggesting that the more voters were familiar with his record, the more he prevailed.

It was a primary where electoral and government experience seemed to be a hindrance, as five incumbent State Representatives who were challenged lost, and the incumbent Superintendant of Education was also defeated in an upset to a woman who had never sent her children to public schools.  The theme of the night was that those holding office were succesfully targeted with the current epithet of death of  being a RINO (Republican in Name Only).

Farley attacked Hardister for, among other unpardonable sins, his support of MAID in the past.  Farley noted that Hardister's support ran against the 2016 GOP platform which is opposed to "physician assisted suicide" : "We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from individuals with disabilities, newborns, the elderly, or the infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.

It is of course impossible to know whether Hardister's support for MAID was decisive in his defeat, as he was attacked equally for having supported Medicaid expansion and medical Marijuana.  Equally, on a night when several other incumbent State Representatives were challengd from their right, the more likely impetus was a Trumpian wave of rejecting anyone who seemed to have displayed prior electoral or government success.

In any event, Hardister's defeat is indeed a bitter pill for efforts to advance MAID legislation in NC.  He represented the libertarian wing of the GOP which derides government interference in a competent, terminally-ill person's right to write their own end of life narrative.  It would seem partisans of Big Brother knows best remain at the helm in the GOP.