US House Races/North Carolina

Report by Bruce Driver from Indivisible North Boulder

North Carolina District 02:
Candidates are George Holding (incumbent R) and Linda Coleman (D).

Holding, a lawyer, is a first-term incumbent in this district. He was a U.S. Attorney from 2006-2011 and, in that job, focused on child pornography and white-collar crimes. He appears to be a standard-brand Republican: too many unfunded federal mandates; federal government is blocking the production of domestic energy; taxes hurt the family; we need a balanced-budget amendment; “the Lord blessed the founding fathers,” etc. He voted for the “Pain-Capable” Abortion bill, for the AHCA and for the tax bill.

Linda Coleman is an African-American who served three terms in the State House and then was appointed Director of the Office of State Personnel in 2009. She has run twice for Lieutenant-Governor and lost. Her issues include: education; healthcare, especially for rural areas; a minimum wage of $15/hr; paid family leave; campaign finance reform; training for new jobs; and gun-policy reform (including a ban on assault weapons). She looks to me to be a standard progressive Democrat and well worth supporting. Holding had $283,000 in cash on hand as of mid-April and Coleman only $63,000.

Description of the district: District 2 is located in central and eastern North Carolina. It is said to be 63% urban and 37% rural, 66% white, 16% black and 11% Hispanic. It is just to the east of the research triangle district (most of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill), District 4, in the hands of the Ds. From 1997 to 2011, a D held District 02, the boundaries of which were changed by redistricting after the 2010 state elections. From 2011, Rs have held it. Holding won by 13% in 2016, after he switched from representing District 13 from 2013-2017. Cook says that this district is 7% more Republican than the U.S. average. Cook also says that this district is “likely Republican.” Geographically, the district is mostly rural but with many small to medium-sized towns and cities.

Summary: This district looks to me to be a tough one for Linda Coleman, but unlike many districts in NC, it is not “solid Republican,” perhaps because it was held by a D for many recent years and Holding was just elected in this district in 2016.

North Carolina District 09:
Candidates are Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready. There is no incumbent running because Harris beat the incumbent Bob Pittenger in the primary.

Harris is a Baptist pastor and a strong social conservative. He has a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He says that he will join the right-wing Freedom Caucus when he reaches the House. He strongly supports Trump, wants to build The Wall and reduce federal spending. He is a founding member of Vote For Marriage, which succeeded in passing a referendum defining marriage as between a woman and a man. He is your standard hard-right, religiously-motivated R.

Dan McCready, from Charlotte, is a 34-year old Marine, with service in Iraq, and a solar entrepreneur whose company has built solar farms across NC. He says his solar business has employed hundreds of people. He is a Harvard Business School grad. and worked at McKinsey and Co. He has also created a website that sells handcrafted American goods. His priorities include political reform, healthcare/standing up to big Pharma and jobs. McCready has raised over $1.2 million for the campaign, Harris less than one-tenth that!

Description of district: The district ranges from south Charlotte in the West to 150 miles to the East along the border with South Carolina. It contains smaller cities such as Gastonia, Mount Holly and Fayetteville. It is said to be two-thirds urban and is 20% African-American. It has elected Republicans to the House since 1963. Cook says this district is 8% more Republican than the nation on average and it rates the race as “leaning R.” Trump carried this district with 54% of the vote. However, the district is changing, becoming economically more diverse. Harris is a divisive candidate who will appeal mainly to evangelicals but less so to other voters.

Summary: This district is ripe for a switch. McCready is a very attractive candidate. Harris narrowly survived a bitter primary against the incumbent, and wounds may not heal.

North Carolina District 13:
Candidates are Ted Budd (incumbent R) and Kathy Manning (D).

Budd is in his first term in this newly-created district. He has an MBA from Wake Forest and owns a farm and a gun store. He is a member of the Freedom Caucus in the House, supported the tax bill, seeks repeal of Obamacare and supports Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuke deal. He believes that the federal government is choking off economic development. As a home-schooler of his kids, he wants the get the feds out of education. He is supported by the odious Club for Growth. In my view he is a standard-brand Republican in the era of Trump.

Manning is a retired immigration lawyer, with a degree from Harvard and law degree from Michigan. She is also a long-time civic volunteer and philanthropist in the Greensboro area, having moved there a few decades ago. She calls herself a “business-oriented moderate.” She has been Chair of the Jewish Federation of North America. Her priorities include jobs/economy, healthcare, education, “country over party” and the environment. She is a strong candidate in a tough district. Chosen in 2017 to be supported by the DCCC, as of mid-April she had $1.3 million in cash. Budd had $878,000.

Description of district: This new district is in west-central NC and ranges from the northern suburbs of Charlotte in the south to Greensboro in the north. It is said to be 73% urban and 70% white, 20% black, 8% Hispanic and 4% Asian. Obama won a somewhat differently-configured district easily in 2008, but Romney won just as easily in 2012. Trump won the district by 9 points in 2016. Budd won his 2016 race with 56% of the vote. The Cook Political Report says this district is 6% more Republican than the Nation on average. Cook rates this race as “lean Republican.” The district was represented by a Democrat for a decade until George Holding, now running in District 02, won in 2012.

Summary: This race pits two different kinds of North Carolinians. While they both have personal wealth, he is a farmer and she is from the city. They will both have enough resources to compete against each other. She will need to show that, while a transplant, she relates better to where the district is going. She can win, but it will be a hard fight.