Former U.S. attorney to run for Congress

Staff writerJuly 13, 2011 

— Former U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding, who made his reputation pursuing high-profile Democrats in public corruption cases, said Wednesday he plans to run for Congress next year.

Holding, 43, and a Republican, said he will run for the 13th district seat now held by Democrat Brad Miller.

“I'm committed to run for Congress,” Holding said.

“Our nation faces its greatest problems ever and the only way to solve them is to stop sending politicians to Washington and start sending public servants to Washington,” Holding said.

Holding is likely to face a crowded field for the Republican nomination. The GOP-controlled legislature is considering a redistricting plan that would reshape the district that stretches from Raleigh up along the Virginia border to Surry County changing it from a Democratic-leaning district to a Republican-leaning district.

Two Republicans have already announced their intention to run – Forsyth County GOP Chairman Nathan Tabor and former Winston-Salem City Councilman Vernon Robinson.

District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., the son of the state Senate majority leader, is also considering running.

But none of the Republican candidates have the visibility of Holding, who recently stepped down July 8th after five years as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

A former aide to Sen. Jesse Helms, Holding's office lead the prosecution or investigation of former Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards among others.

A group of Republicans this week sent out a mailing urging recipients to sign a “pledge of support” to encourage Holding to run.

Among those signing the letter were Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, former House Majority Leader Leo Daughtry; former state Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake Jr., and Raleigh businessman Cliff Benson Jr.

Holding is a millionaire who could help self-finance his campaign. His family owns First Citizens Bank. His father and grandfather were both chairmen.

But he lives just outside the boundaries of the 13th district – Holding estimated about 1,000 feet.

He may also open himself up to critics, that he was pursuing big-name Democrats to further his political career.

Absolutely not, Holding replied.

“Everything I did as U.S. Attorney was in interests of justice,” Holding said. “It was great preparation to continue that public service.”

He said he admired former federal prosecutors who have entered elective politics, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“I will give honest answers and an honest assessment of the problems,” Holding said.

He said the only consultant he is working with so far is his brother Robert Holding, a veteran of many campaigns going back to Helms..

Staff writer Andy Curliss contributed to this story.

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