Renee Ellmers’s Moore County problem

The Second Congressional District’s incumbent representative seems to be doing her best to ruin the gift horse delivered to her during redistricting.  The “honorables” on Jones Street handed  Renee Ellmers a highly-conservative district on a silver platter at the end of the redistricting process. It would take some serious bumbling for a conservative Republican to screw things up.  But Miss Harnett County is trying her darnedest to do just that.

During the May primary primary, Renee didn’t even bother to put up signs or campaign in Moore County.  She told off a delegation of local Tea Partiers who tried to meet with her and talk issues.  Ellmers ended up winning renomination with 56 percent of the vote district-wide — against three little-known opponents.   She lost Randolph County, and lost roughly 40 percent of Moore’s GOP vote.

Since the primary — with the exception of a couple of George Little parties —  Renee has avoided the county like the plague.  (Quite a contrast from Howard Coble, who practically moved in down here.)

We reported on her getting lost on the way to speak at a recent Moore County Home Builders meeting.  The event was being held at a location fronting an obscure little road known as U.S. 1. 

Our local paper — which I quite often don’t see eye to eye with — appears to be figuring Renee out.  The paper’s management — staunch Democrats — regularly endorse establishment candidates.  (Howard Coble got their endorsement every two years.) Here’s how Renee’s attempt to get The Pilot’s endorsement went:

T he crazy-quilt 2nd Congressional District was carved out, through the miracle of partisan redistricting in Raleigh, with the intent of making it extra hard for anyone to beat the Republican incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers.

Therefore, her Democratic opponent, Steve Wilkins, faces an uphill battle in his effort to unseat her. But we at The Pilot will be cheering him on all the way. We enthusiastically endorse his candidacy.

[…] It seems clear that Ellmers takes Moore County and its Republican majority for granted. Wilkins, who has worn out a lot of shoe leather in this campaign, has been outspokenly critical of what he describes as Ellmers’ failure to spend much time getting out into the newly formed 2nd District to attend functions and learn about its needs. “People say they haven’t seen her since she was elected,” he says. “I’ve heard it all over the district.”She denies that. But to us at The Pilot, at least, it became obvious during our endorsement interview that she knew little about Moore County. She also became surprisingly defensive at some of our questions. Maybe the congresswoman was just having a bad day.

Still, the experience made us realize all the more how much we miss longtime Republican Congressman Howard Coble, a friend who knew the people and places in our special community intimately and represented us so effectively and cordially – until he got redistricted away.

We think Steve Wilkins holds out a far better hope than Renee Ellmers of filling those considerable shoes.

I was with Steve Bouser and the guys at The Pilot on this one until they started cheering Wilkins’s support of ObamaCare and Ellmers’s ticking off of the “far right”  (a/k/a “the people who stand by what the GOP platform actually says).

I know Steve Wilkins.  He strikes me as a person of good character who doesn’t talk out of both sides of his mouth.  I admit that I cringe when I hear him singing the praises of ObamaCare and suggesting that “far right elements” in Washington have caused this economic mess.  Though, when you compare his overall positions with those of Ellmers, you are likely to see very little — if any — difference.

Steve strikes me as the kind of guy you could actually talk some sense into.  I think he’s smart enough to know that — if he gets in — a vote for Nancy Pelosi, or in support of ObamaCare, or for raising taxes would DRAMATICALLY shorten his tenure in Washington.

I think Renee realizes she has a Moore County problem.  I understand she has invited herself to a political event on November 3rd in Pinehurst hosted by Moore County commissioner Nick Picerno — arguably the leader of grassroots conservatives in the county.

Most conservatives tend to laugh off the idea of following The Pilot’s endorsement advice.  But is it the right thing to do to go ahead and excuse Ellmers’s overall behavior and neglect of the county?

Leaving the ballot blank — in the section for the Second Congressional District — would create an undervote and send her a BIG TIME message.  (Undervotes — when incumbents get fewer votes than other incumbents on the same ballot — send off warning bells that invite primary challengers the next go-around.)

Tossing your vote to Libertarian Brian Irving — a longshot with a limited government platform — might not be such a bad idea either.