Four Republican candidates are vying Tuesday in the primary to challenge U.S. Rep. David Price, the Democrat who has represented North Carolina's 4th Congressional District for 22 of the past 24 years.
David Burnett is businessman from Cary who owns a roofing company. He has made reduction of the federal budget deficit the primary focus of his campaign.
George Hutchins is a Gulf War veteran and self-described tea party candidate who has called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama. Hutchins of Raleigh is also vocal about purging the GOP of those he considers not conservative enough.
Dr. B.J. Lawson is a physician and software entrepreneur from Apex who faced Price in the 2008 general election, losing to the incumbent by 27 percentage points in a left-leaning district that incudes Durham and Chapel Hill. Lawson campaigns on changing health care reforms and making additional tax cuts to stimulate the economy.
Frank Roche is a former Wall Street executive who lives in Apex. With a background in economics, Roche is campaigning on the repeal of Obama stimulus programs and opposition to regulation of the financial sector.
Burnett, 52, is a graduate of Raleigh's Millbrook High School who has been married to his teenage sweetheart for more than 30 years. He worries that the skyrocketing federal debt will leave his four grandchildren a bankrupt nation.
"My main thing is stopping the spending train," Burnett said. "The deficit spending is a big deal. That's what got me into this race."
Burnett said he would like to enact a 25 percent across-the-board cut in federal spending, except for Social Security and payments on the national debt. He said he would end all federal spending for social programs such as Medicaid and food assistance.
Burnett also said he would like to outlaw abortion in all circumstances except for cases in which the life of the mother is in danger.
"I think rape and incest are not excuses for being able to have an abortion," he said.
Burnett's campaign raised $5,495 through Monday, including a $4,995 loan from the candidate.
Hutchins, 48, served in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps and often wears his VFW hat and military pins to public appearances.
Hutchins said he identifies with the tea party movement and said the GOP needs to get rid of those he derides as"RINOs" (Republicans in name only) and "fence riders." He says that includes some of his fellow Republican congressional candidates who come to tea party events but who are not "real conservatives."
Hutchins said the GOP must "win the culture war" and that gays and lesbians should keep their sex lives secret and should not be allowed to marry.
Asked for a domestic policy initiative he supported, Hutchins suggested emptying urban homeless shelters and sending the inhabitants to work on rural farms.
"You'd be killing two birds with one stone," Hutchins said. "Employ the homeless people and destroy the incentive for illegal aliens to come to this country."
The Federal Elections Commission does not have campaign finance reports on file for Hutchins.
Lawson, 36, is a Duke University graduate who stopped practicing medicine as a medical school resident to pursue the creation of his medical software business. Though he failed to unseat Price in 2008, Lawson said he is running again because the nation's problems have only become more serious in the last two years.
"I'm really concerned about the direction the country is going and the economic opportunities my children are going to have," Lawson said. "It's clear that more and more of the American people are realizing we can't keep electing the same incumbents and expect different results."
Lawson said he is in favor of reforming health care to "empower patients and providers, instead of health insurance companies," but that he is opposed to the law signed by Obama last month.
Lawson said he sees little difference between the economic policies of the current administration and those enacted by President George W. Bush.
"It's corporatism, the marriage between big government and big business," Lawson said. "Both parties have been guilty of that over my lifetime. No matter who is in power, all the federal government does is grow. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue, it is a liberty vs. tyranny issue."
Lawson also opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he said were mistakes that have endangered national security and deepened the national debt.
He reported raising $71,013.
Roche, 47, is a Rhode Island native who worked for large international banks as a currency trader. He was in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, which he said reinforced his views that national security must be strengthened. He wants to break up the Department of Homeland Security, which he said is ineffective.
Roche said that much of the legislation favored by congressional Democrats - such as Wall Street reform, health care reform, cap and trade regulation and immigration reform - offer a grave threat to the nation.
"We don't need more regulation, we just need to apply the regulations already there," Roche said. "It's important to realize the financial crisis we just came through was not started by the banking sector. It was started by the Congress and the federal government effort to advance home ownership across the country."
Roche has out-raised his opponents, reporting $102,014 in receipts that include a $29,000 loan from the candidate.
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