We’ve got four potentials out there on the GOP side, and it appears that a New Bern restauranteur and minor-league baseball team owner may make it a quintet. Buddy Bengel, owner of Bengel Hospitality and The Morehead City Marlins, is reported to be feeling out various key political players in his neck of the woods about a 2020 run for lieutenant governor.
Bengel was quite active in post-hurricane relief efforts in his home region. He also appears to be a must-see person for GOP politicians — like Dan Forest, Richard Burr, and Thom Tillis — campaigning in his neck of the woods.
Bengel also serves as a member of the NC Education Lottery Commission.
The other folks being mentioned as potential candidates are: former congresswoman Renee Ellmers, former Mecklenburg County commissioner Jim Puckett, attorney and newspaper publisher Neal Robbins, and state Rep. Mark Brody.