The senior associate justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court served as the keynote speaker for Monday’s Surry County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner. And his message was simple: This is a crucial election and Republican candidates need support.
The annual dinner is the party’s major fund-raising event of the year, and was attended by hundreds of county conservatives as well as numerous GOP candidates vying for local and state seats.
During his speech, Justice Mark Martin told the crowd that conservative candidates need all the help they can get.
He said those in attendance represent the best chance to elect conservative candidates.
“We have in this room tonight a group of what I like to call servant citizens,” he said. “Those people who are service capable, and we need your help.”
Martin has served on the supreme court since 1999 and is running for chief justice following the recent retirement of Sarah Parker. He also chairs the judicial division of the American Bar Association.
During the dinner, Martin told the more than 200 in attendance that democracy was “a great experiment.”
“What the founders were trying to achieve was a society where everyone is equal in the eyes of the law and no one is above the law,” he said. “Moving forward, many men and women have given their lives to preserve that freedom. But freedom isn’t free and the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
In order to maintain the freedom for future generations, Martin said citizens must be engaged in the political process.
“I’m here tonight to issue a challenge to you, this year we elect four out of seven members of the North Carolina Supreme Court and I’m no mathematician but to me that’s a majority,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
With justices serving eight-year terms, Martin said the immediate future of North Carolina is at stake.
“What complaint can we make as North Carolinians if we don’t turn off the television long enough to tell our friends and neighbors about the candidate they support?” He asked. “I want to challenge all of us in this room to spread the word about every race on the ballot.
“Because the reality is 80 percent of North Carolinians are undecided, and whoever shares their message with those undecideds will win this election,” Martin said.
The event was held at Cross Creek Country Club and featured dinner and a drawdown ticket raffle with the winner receiving $10,000.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.