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Did House Republican Leader Rep. John Bell let slip long-time House member’s retirement plans?

by Hannah Hogewood

Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), who’s been a bellwether before on changes to House Republican’s electoral plans, may have let more secrets slip from the witness stand on Wednesday. 

Bell was questioned during the eighth day of testimony in the Common Cause v Lewisgerrymandering trial and said Rep. David Lewis’s (R-Harnett) traditionally strong Republican district might get more competitive in 2020. When pressed, Bell refused to confirm or deny Lewis’s electoral plans.

Lauren Horsch of the NC Insider tweeted that Lewis had no plans to retire at the moment, but Lewis has been known to "obfuscate." 

Lewis is the chair of the House Rules Committee and is in the powerful position of controlling which bills make it to the House floor for a vote and when. He’s been a member of the NC House since 2002 and chaired the committee that led to the now-infamous gerrymandered Congressional maps. His retirement from the NC House would be big news. 

Retirement from the NC House would not be the first major career change for Lewis this year. Until December of 2018, Lewis worked for Sentinel Risk Advisors, an insurance firm that also employs Bell. Sentinel is managed by Jim Holmes, a House-appointed member of the UNC Board of Governors.