Staff and wire report
CHARLOTTE — Rep. Mike McIntyre was quick to thank constituents for a narrow victory on Tuesday, but some believe he spoke too soon, and the race for District 7 is headed for a recount.
The veteran congressman, facing GOP challenger David Rouzer, had a 572-vote lead early today with 100 percent of the district’s precincts reporting unofficial returns. McIntyre secured Robeson with a majority vote of nearly 71 percent — winning by at least 100 votes in the five county precincts that lie in his district and by 629 in one-stop voting. But redistricting left only sliver of District 7 in Robeson County, which will now be most represented by a Republican for the first time ever.
“In spite of being the underdog by the way district lines were viciously drawn to predetermine the winner, we had friends — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — who said the race should be about the people’s choice and not based on district lines — drawn to predetermine the winner — or outside interests,” McIntyre told The Robesonian late Tuesday night.
A member of his party’s conservative Blue Dog caucus, McIntyre, 56, was trying to win a ninth term against Rouzer, 40, a two-term state senator.
In another high-profile and bitterly contested race, Republican Richard Hudson beat incumbent U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell in the 8th District, which encompasses almost all of Robeson County. Voters in Robeson overwhelmingly supported Kissell at 69 percent, but he was only able to secure 45 percent of the district-wide vote.
Hudson had been on the attack for months, trying to tie Kissell to President Barack Obama. Hudson said Kissell supported the administration’s policies, contributing to a weak economic recovery. But Kissell disagreed, saying he had bucked the White House on a number of issues. Kissell didn’t even attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this summer — even though a small part of his district is in the city.
But on Tuesday night, Kissell, 61, a former textile worker and high school history teacher, called Hudson to concede defeat.
“I have been absolutely blessed to have the support of my family, friends and supporters from across this wonderful district,” Kissell said. “Things didn’t work out as we had hoped, but as I told Richard earlier on the phone, he’ll be representing some of the best people in the world. I’ll be working with Richard to make sure we have a seamless transition.”
For his part, Hudson thanked his supporters and told them he would work hard to turn around the economy.
“I am very grateful for the thousands of people who voted for me tonight. This is not just a victory for me or for one party — this is a victory for the people of North Carolina’s 8th District,” Hudson said.
“Tonight’s results demonstrated that the voters are ready for new, conservative leadership in North Carolina. They are ready for lower spending and fiscal responsibility; they are ready for more, good-paying jobs; and they are ready to take our country back for the principles and values that have held us together,” he said.
Kissell was seeking his third two-year term. He was first elected in 2008, unseating Republican Robin Hayes, the grandson of textile magnate Charles Cannon. Kissell failed in his first bid to defeat Hayes in 2006.
Heading into the election, Republicans held six of the state’s 13 congressional seats. But with new political maps drawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature last year, the GOP was poised to pick up a few new ones.
In the 13th District, former U.S. Attorney George Holding, a Republican, won the congressional seat, flipping it from the Democrats.
Holding defeated 66-year-old Democratic state government worker Charles Malone.
Holding, 44, who was known for his work in getting an indictment against former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, said he decided to run for office for the first time because he believed this year’s election is crucial to turn the country around before it is too late.
The 13th District also was substantially redrawn by Republican lawmakers. Democrat U.S. Rep. Brad Miller decided not to run again after five terms.
In the 11th District, Republican real estate developer Mark Meadows won the open seat over Democrat Hayden Rogers.
Rogers served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, who decided not to run for a fifth term after Republican lawmakers redrew the district to bring in more likely GOP voters.
Meadows, 53, promised to work for a repeal of health care legislation championed by President Barack Obama. He also promised to protect Medicaid and Social Security.
In the 9th Congressional District, voters sent former state senator Robert Pittenger to the U.S. House.
The 64-year-old Republican won the 9th Congressional District seat left open when Republican Sue Myrick stepped down after nine terms.
Pittenger defeated 52-year-old Democratic Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts.
The race was one of the most bitter in the state, with Pittenger saying his opponent supported big government and Roberts saying Pittenger’s views were too radical for a district that wanted someone to work across the aisle.
North Carolina voters also returned several incumbents to office including:
In the 6th District, Republican U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, North Carolina’s longest serving congressman, was elected to a 15th term. In the 12th District, Democrat U.S. Rep. Mel Watts is heading back to the U.S. House for an 11th term. In the 10th District, Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry won a fifth term. In the 1st District, Democratic U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield also won a fifth term. In the 3rd District, Republican U.S. Rep. Walter Jones won a 10th term. In the 2nd District, Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers won her first re-election. In the 5th District, Republican U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx won a fifth term. In the 4th District, U.S. Rep. David Price won for a 12th time.