DAVIDSON – Cornelius Commissioner John Bradford hopes to bring leadership and a business mind to Raleigh if elected as N.C. House Representative for District 98.

Bradford officially launched his campaign Jan. 17 with more than 75 friends and family at the North Harbor Club, where he introduced his family, campaign steering committee and advocacy group leaders. Supporting him was former Cornelius Mayor and N.C. Senator Jeff Tarte, among other elected officials and business leaders.

Bradford had previously announced his intention to run against former Cornelius Commissioner and Mayor Lynette Rinker for the Republican primary. Each is vying for a spot on the November ballot against Democrat Natasha Marcus of Davidson.

“There is message that you take away that every person who has served with both candidates are all endorsing John,” Tarte said of Rinker and Bradford.

Rinker, who did not attend the event, said in a phone interview, “The only endorsements that mean anything to me are the endorsements from the voters of District 98.”

Bradford’s campaign team hopes his experience in business and government will set him apart. Tarte said Bradford has a proven track record from starting from “humble beginnings” and turning a startup into a multi-million dollar business as CEO of Park Avenue Properties, which he hopes to continue if elected.

Bradford added people should check the candidates’ voting records to prove he is pro business.

Rinker, a business manager at an architect firm, countered that she voted “not to make my friends’ businesses more profitable, but making equal opportunities for the vitality of all businesses for all citizens.”

If elected, Bradford hopes to keep his focus on business and offering opportunities for growth. Like Rinker, he also wants to bring more attention to education investment, including offering competitive teacher salaries. Plus, listen to the needs of all constituents.

“Being a deliberate leader means listening to both sides of every story,” he said. “It’s understanding the good, the bad, the pros and cons and making the best informed decision you can and make your vote and stand behind it.”

Candidates for N.C. Representative of District 98 will fill the spot vacated by N.C. House Speaker Thom Tillis, of Cornelius, who is running for U.S. Senate.