Republican Larry Holmquist can still remember the day and time he decided he’d run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.
It was Sept. 27, 2013. At about 2 p.m.
He was driving from his Greensboro home to Florida, where an aunt had died. And he happened to be listening to the radio.
“The news came across that the Senate had voted to fully fund Obamacare,” he recalled in a recent interview. “And I said: ‘That’s it!’ Everybody has their breaking point.”
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He decided then and there that he would challenge Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., for the GOP nomination for Senate this year.
Holmquist blamed Burr because North Carolina’s senior senator was one of 25 Republicans in the upper chamber who voted to end a filibuster led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. The vote to end debate cleared the way for a budget resolution that avoided a government shutdown.
Cruz and other hard-core conservatives also argued that the cloture vote also effectively preserved funding for the Affordable Care Act. In a subsequent vote, though, Burr and all the other Senate Republicans voted to go along with House language to end funding of Obamacare. But Senate Democrats, then in the majority, prevailed in their vote to strip out the language.
Holmquist wants to be the kind of senator who would have stood with Cruz, whose filibuster strategy was publicly criticized as hollow and hypocritical by Burr.
“I’m anything but a big name in North Carolina politics, but I was not going to let Richard Burr go unchallenged,” said Holmquist, 61, who formerly owned a small advertising company.
By the filing deadline, Holmquist and two others had launched candidacies to challenge Burr.
Holmquist said he has support from tea party conservatives in the state, and plans to base his low-budget but fervent campaign on pledges to do more to fight terrorism, lower taxes to spur the economy and stand up to Democrats promoting a liberal agenda.
“I feel very good about my chances on March 15,” Holmquist said. “There are people all over the state who are disappointed, even disgusted, by the job Mr. Burr is doing. I don’t care how much (campaign) money he has. They’re not going to vote for him.”
Education: B.A., Drake University, 1976
Professional experience: Owned a small advertising company, with “Money Mailer,” 1999-2001. Volunteers with the Salvation Army and the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center.
Political resume: Was campaign manager in 2014 for Jeff Phillips, an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary for North Carolina’s 6th congressional district seat.
Family: Wife Cindy.