WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — This fall someone new will win the 7th District seat in the US House of Representatives representing much of southeastern North Carolina.
When Mike McIntyre decided not to run again, it opened the door.
Two fellow Democrats are running, including Walter Martin, a town commissioner in Princeton in Johnston County. Though he seeks the Democratic nomination, he wants to appeal to voters of all parties.
“This political rhetoric really needs to stop,” Martin said. “We need to return to the time whenever ideas mattered, not party affiliation.”
New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield is the other Democrat running. He says he has the experience and leadership southeastern North Carolina needs in Washington.
“Everything I’ve in life has prepared me for this moment,” Barfield said. “From being the Board of Realtors president here in 2007 and learning about politics from that standpoint. When I first got elected, when I first became president, I started having breakfasts with our local elected officials from the state as well as local level to understand their issues, and again going to DC back and forth for as long as I have, I’m well equipped. I’ve taken so many leadership courses, I’m a student of leadership.”
On the Republican side, there are three candidates on the ballot for the May 6 primary.
Former state senator David Rouzer of Johnston County hopes the second time is the charm. He lost to the eight-term incumbent McIntyre by fewer than 700 votes two years ago. He says that experience has helped him as he tries to fend off two challengers in the GOP primary.
“When you come that close, there are a lot of things you take a look at,” Rouzer said. “You learn a lot, and I worked very hard in 2013 campaigning all over the district, because you always do your best campaigning in the off year, and worked hard to raise the money we needed to raise to prepare for a very strong battle with Congressman McIntyre and put together the very best team that I could find in the country to run this campaign.”
Chris Andrade says he is not like the other candidates. The veteran from Fayetteville calls himself “a citizen candidate.” He’s largely paying his own way on the campaign trail. Andrade says his three decades of service in the Marine Corps and Army is the sort of leadership Washington needs.
“It’s not about us. It’s not about us in the Congress. It’s not about our gain. It’s about their gain,” Andrade said of his potential constituents. “We’re supposed to be there for them. Just like I was there for my soldiers. And I don’t want to say that the people in the 7th District are gonna be my soldiers, but it’s the same mentality, and I’m gonna represent all of them fairly.”
Woody White is not quite half way through his first term on the New Hanover County Commission, but he has his sights set on a higher calling as he runs for Congress. He says it’s time for a change from business is usual inside the Capital Beltway.
“We need new leadership in Washington. Both parties are failing us right now,” said White, who says he believes even the current Republican leadership in Congress needs to go. “I agree. I think what this country needs is to be put back on the right direction, and that includes our party as well as it does the Democratic Party. Things aren’t working.”