Two to watch in 2014: Crisco in NC-02, White in NC-07

vote124Former state senator David Rouzer (R-Johnston) probably had the biggest smile of all on his face upon hearing of Mike McIntyre’s retirement.  Rouzer lost a very close election to McIntyre in 2012 in a specially-configured majority-Republican district.

We were all expecting a sequel to 2012 in the 7th — until McIntyre dropped his bombshell on Wednesday.  McIntyre was clearly the Democrats’ best hope for holding this seat, which had been Democrat since — oh — Reconstruction.   Yesterday’s news would seem to clear the path for Rouzer — a former lobbyist and congressional staffer — to return to DC.

But New Hanover County commissioner Woody White may have something to say about it.  I first met White in 1996 — while I was a member of the drive-by media covering the 7th district race, and he was an aide to a GOP candidate in that race.  White is a pretty sharp, politically-astute guy.  He’s been part of a successful law practice in Wilmington for some time. (He was a long-time law partner with Patrick Ballantine — the former state Senate Republican leader and 2000 gubernatorial nominee.) 

White was appointed to fill the remainder of Ballantine’s Senate term, when he resigned to run for governor.  He now serves on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners.  White has developed an extensive network of political contacts in Raleigh, as well as in the coastal counties of the 7th district — thanks to his relationship with Ballantine, and his service in the state Senate and on the county board.

He’s been pretty active in the Wilmington community,  is in thick with the local Republican establishment, and can likely count on the old Ballantine political network.  White is a native of Bladen County — on the far western end of the district — where he still has friends and family.

It appears former NCGOP chairman Tom Fetzer is on board with the White campaign.  And media reports indicate a rosy fundraising picture for White.

Closer to Ground Zero for us is the 2nd congressional district.  Folks on the ground are telling me how surprised they are at how well-received news of Democrat Keith Crisco’s entry into the congressional race is being received.  The 2nd is a pretty conservative jurisdiction.  Crisco is best-known for his service as Bev Perdue’s commerce secretary, but around here is respected for the business — Asheboro Elastics — that he founded and grew in Randolph County.  Crisco is a native of Randolph County — one of the district’s largest pockets of votes — and has helped put a lot of local people to work.  (Ellmers lost Randolph in the 2012 GOP primary to a low-budget, lesser-known candidate from Cumberland County.)  My sources tell me his “Main Street businessman” rhetoric is playing well on, um, Main Street.   

Crisco may have a high level of personal likeability.  He may be able to put his hands on enough money to run a competitive race.  But, in the end, it will come down to how successful he can be in getting the folks in this very conservative district to mark a name on their ballot that has a D next to it.

5 comments for “Two to watch in 2014: Crisco in NC-02, White in NC-07

  1. Raphael
    January 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Woody White and David Rouzer are establishment Republicans but in different ways. Rouzer is of the beltway establishment, a former K Street lobbyist. Woody White was initially the state GOP establishment’s annointed candidate in 2009 for state GOP chairman, but early in the campaign, he bailed out and Tom Fetzer was installed as the replacement establishment candidate. As chairman, Fetzer blatantly violated the state GOP plan of organization by his public endorsement of the runner up in the 8th district Congressional primary runoff against the frontrunner. The frontrunner was a Tea Partier, and the runner up had the establishment support from DC.

    One would hope we get another strong candidate without any establishment ties who will be a dependable conservative, but if I had to chose between a DC establishment Republican with K Street ties and someone with ties to the NCGOP establishment, I would have to go with the latter. With Boehner, Cantor, and McConnell at war with conservatives, the DC establishment is the bigger evil.

    As to Crisco (what a name to have when one’s prospective primary opponent is an admitted homosexual), if he gets the nomination against Roche, it will depend on how well Roche raises money for a general election. If he gets the nomination and Ellmers is still the GOP nominee, it will depend on how much she continues to alienate the GOP base so that they stay home. If Ellmers wins the nomination and supports amnesty for illegal aliens, I would bet on Crisco.

    • Kathy
      January 11, 2014 at 2:39 am

      I completely agree with you on Ellmers. She DOES support amnesty/legalization – she has stated this multiple times in different ways. Her staff is mean and nasty in discussing the issue. And, she refuses to meet with constituents on the issue. She only meets with Chamber of Commerce and businesses who like illegal and cheap labor.

      Thus far, she has pretty much given a cold shoulder to the 92 million Americans who’ve left the workforce, the 50% young black youths who are unemployed, and the high unemployment rate among college graduates.

      If she decides granting amnesty/legalization to 20 million illegal aliens and tripling legal immigration and foreign guest workers is the higher priority than Americans, I believe people will withhold their vote.

  2. NCCOT
    January 10, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Just a comment regarding McIntyre’s “retirement”. This news is a victory for all of the conservative grassroots activists in NC07 who have worked hard the last couple years to hold Mike accountable for his voting record. He and his staffers hated it, since the meme they tried to put out there was that he was a Conservative. His record and lack of leadership after all those years told another story. He is entrenched in the District, and even R’s sitting at least one GOP Exec Comm table supported him. This is one of several reasons Rouzer lost in 2012. Who will all those good ” Republicans for McIntyre” support this go around?
    It’s #2014 & NC07 just got very interesting.

  3. Cape Fear Reagan Fan
    January 31, 2014 at 2:33 am

    I live in D-7 and I don’t much care for either White or Rouzer, but White is Married and has a family and is not a DC insider like Rouzer is that’s why I’m voting for White.

    Rouzer is 43, never been married, no kids and is PRO-AMNESTY!!!!, and is a BIG DC INSIDER TYPE!!!!

    • Raphael
      January 31, 2014 at 4:22 am

      Being pro-amnesty and a K Street lobbyist, Rouzer is clearly the greater evil. 43 and not married? Is he a friend of Fetzer by any chance? Or maybe Lindsay Graham?

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