Former Aberdeen Mayor Frank McNeill Jr. announced Monday morning that he is running for U.S. House.

The Aberdeen Democrat vowed in a news release to bring “values of decency, kindness, and hard work to Washington” in representing the 8th Congressional District, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, a Concord Republican.

McNeill is a third generation owner of his family’s business, McNeill Oil and Propane in Aberdeen. He served three terms on the Aberdeen Town Board and two as mayor. He later served on the nonpartisan Moore County Board of Education.

“I have lived, worked, and served my community all my life,” said McNeill, who is an Aberdeen native. “I feel it’s time that Washington should do the same, instead of catering to special interests. I have always been an advocate for my community and will bring North Carolina values to Washington.

“As the next representative, I will fight every day to ensure working families have affordable and accessible healthcare, high quality public schools, and clean air and clean water. Finally, I will fight for our military, so we can protect our country’s shores, and support both our men and women in uniform, and support our veterans.”

McNeill is the second Democrat to announce a bid for Congress in hopes of defeating Hudson.

“My opponent, Richard Hudson, has served only the agenda of Speaker Paul Ryan and special interests in Washington, who are lining their pockets at the expense of ordinary working families here in my district,” says McNeill. “He has voted for a Washington tax bill that hurts our neighbors, voted to take healthcare away from folks who cannot afford it, and failed to hold our President accountable to his promises to our families.

“If elected, I will bring our North Carolina values of decency, kindness, and hard work and make Washington work for voters, not special interests.”

Scott Huffman, the founder of Invisible Charlotte, has also announced that he is running for the seat as well, according to a story in The Charlotte Observer. He reporting raising $1,900 between Dec. 11 and 31, according to the latest campaign report on file with the Federal Elections Commission.

Hudson, meanwhile, raised slightly more than $1 million in 2017 and had $660,000 on hand as of Dec. 31.

The 8th Congressional District stretches from Fayetteville to Concord on the doorstep of Charlotte. The district includes all of Moore, Hoke, Montgomery, Stanly and Cabarrus counties and part of Cumberland and Rowan counties.

Hudson won re-election to a third term in 2016 winning 58.8 percent of the vote in defeating Democrat Thomas Mills, who lives in Carrboro, which is not in the district. Hudson grew up in Charlotte. He worked for four congressmen, including Rep. Rep. Robin Hayes, before launching his first campaign in 2012. His wife, Renee Hudson, is chief of staff for Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump.

“It’s up to the Democrats to eventually choose their nominee,” Hudson spokeswoman Tatum Gibson said in statement to The Pilot. “In the meantime, Congressman Hudson will continue to focus on bringing jobs to the district, rebuilding our military and taking care of our veterans.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (SCCC) put the 8th District on its original list of targeted seats for 2018. It is one of four districts in the state that the DCCC has targeted. The Cook Political Report considers the 8th district a “solid” Republican seat, the safest ranking it has.

McNeill is a graduate of Appalachian State University. He is president of McNeill Oil & Propane in Aberdeen and has an office in Raeford. The company was founded by his grandfather and now has about 35 employees.

He is the president of the Aberdeen Lion’s Club and is active in the Moore County Boy Scouts. He and his wife, Susan, have three daughters and three grandsons.

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or dsinclair@thepilot.com

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