RALEIGH, NC (AP) - Republicans see North Carolina's 7th Congressional District as a prime opportunity to extend their party's majority in the US House by unseating veteran lawmaker Mike McIntyre, among the most conservative Democrats in Washington.
McIntyre has represented a district in the state's southeastern corner for 15 years. District voters backed Republicans John McCain for president in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2004.
But the state's Republican-controlled legislature last year cut out heavily Democratic precincts in central Wilmington and in McIntyre's hometown of Lumberton, making the conservative-leaning district potentially even more advantageous for the GOP.
Now three Republicans - state Sen. David Rouzer, author and ex-Marine Ilario Pantano and perennial candidate Randy Crow - will square off in the May 8 primary for the right to challenge McIntyre, who is running unopposed.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)