U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre, a Democrat from Lumberton, North Carolina, is stepping down after his term expires.
In a prepared statement, McIntyre said that after serving nine terms representing North Carolina's 7th Congressional District, he and his family “are ready for a new chapter” and are “excited about new opportunities to continue helping” the state.
In the race for the 7th Congressional District, which includes a large part of the Cape Fear region, two Republican candidates will battle it out in the primary: David Rouzer of Johnston County who lost to McIntyre last year by just 655 votes, and the current Chairman of the New Hanover County Commission, Woody White.
White says he and his wife made the decision to seek the office just a few weeks ago and had planned to wait until next week to make a formal announcement.
“I did file, officially, my statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission on January 3rd, and we’ve been actively fundraising and going around the district campaigning since then. But it’s not going to change our strategy. We are working hard. We’re committed to winning this, and it’ll be the first time in 40 years a member of Congress is from Wilmington, the largest city and the largest county in the 7th District.”
The only Democratic candidate announced so far happens to be White’s colleague and fellow County Commissioner, Jonathan Barfield.
Just after announcing his candidacy last year, Barfield says he heard from constituents who are ready for a candidate not as far right politically as the Blue Dog Democrat Mike McIntyre.
“You know, I’ve heard from so many people throughout the district that they’re looking for someone that will be a true Democrat running for the seat that will represent some of the ideals and values of the Democratic Party. You know, being the only Democrat on an all-Republican Board of Commissioners, you’ve got to find ways to work with others to accomplish your goals and, at the same time, stay true to who you are.”
McIntyre has historically enjoyed broad bi-partisan support in his home state, but the contest in 2012 was the closest he had come to losing the seat.
This year, the race would likely be even more difficult for McIntyre, says Jim Morgan, Chair of the 7th District Democratic Party.
“We recognize that Mike McIntyre would have been a formidable candidate for our party. So with his having decided not to run again, the challenge is to put forward a campaign that will benefit not only Democrats, but also Eastern North Carolinians, the state, and the nation at large.”
The filing period for candidates closes at the end of February.