Corbin’s decision to run for the District 120 seat came just hours after Rep. Roger West, R-Marble, announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election next year. West is currently serving his eighth term as a state representative serving Clay, Cherokee, Graham and Macon counties.
“Roger West has been a friend of mine for a long time and I told him if he ever decided not to run then I would,” Corbin told a packed room at the Macon County Courthouse. “And I plan to win or I wouldn’t be filing.”
The courtroom was full of fellow Republicans who attended the press conference to show their support for Corbin, including West, Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, District Attorney Ashley Welch, Commission Vice Chairman Jim Tate and a representative from U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ office. Commissioners from other counties within the district were also present, including Graham County commissioner Connie Orr and Cherokee County commissioner Cal Stiles.
Corbin said he intended to be done with local politics when he came off the school board in 2006, but then he made a promise to Sen. Davis. Davis, who was a county commissioner at the time, told Corbin he was going to run for the Senate and if he won, he wanted Corbin to complete his two remaining years on the county board. Corbin admitted that he told his wife Beth that he didn’t think Davis would win — but he did win by less than 200 votes.
“Jim is the reason I’m a commissioner today,” Corbin joked.
Corbin completed Davis’ term and then was re-elected for a four-year term. He said he planned to sign up to run for the House seat on Dec. 1 and will continue to serve as a commissioner until the November 2016 election. If he is elected to the House, he hopes Tate, his commission vice chairman, will move into his chairman seat.
“Of course my biggest regret is that I won’t be a county commissioner anymore, but Jim (Tate) is the smartest person I know — no one is more capable of being chairman,” Corbin said.
Corbin said West had been one of the most influential legislators in Raleigh during his years of service and said he would need his support through the campaigning and even after the election.
West said he fully supported Corbin’s candidacy and would do anything he could to help him. Davis echoed West’s comments and also offered a piece of advice. He said Corbin was blessed that his family, including his wife Beth and their children Maggie and Matt, supported his decision to run for state office because of the time commitment involved.
“It’s really a sacrifice for the entire family,” Davis said.
Orr promised the support of her entire family in Graham County for Corbin’s campaign.
“One of Kevin’s strongest attributes is he always seeks divine guidance and I’ve always appreciated that,” she said.
Since the pay for a North Carolina representative is less than $14,000 a year, Corbin joked that he would definitely be keeping his day job in Franklin.
Corbin, a Macon County native, owns and operates Corbin Insurance in Franklin. He served for 16 years on the Macon County School Board as chairman and currently serves as the chairman of the Region A Council of Government, the Board of Trustees for Southwestern Community College and the Franklin Chamber of Commerce Board.
Representatives from the Macon County Republican Party were present for the announcement, but Corbin said they could not yet endorse him to be fair to any other GOP candidates who might sign up to challenge Corbin in the primary.