U.S. Rep. David Price has won his past two elections with about 75 percent of votes, and his newly redrawn 4th District continues to favor Democrats strongly.
But those odds aren’t stopping Sue Googe and Teiji Kimball, who will face off in the June 7 Republican primary for a shot at the 14-term congressman from Chapel Hill.
The previously serpentine 4th District now consists of Orange County, most of Cary and Raleigh, and a strip of southern Durham County.
Both Googe and Kimball are political newcomers with unique backgrounds: Googe is a software engineer who emigrated from China in her 20s, while Kimball is a Durham minister and entrepreneur.
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Googe and Kimball agree on many issues. Both say they can beat Price by highlighting what they see as a broken government in Washington, D.C., and focusing on constitutional principles.
Googe said her experience growing up poor in communist China has given her an appreciation for small government.
“We had to use vouchers to buy fabric to make clothes,” Googe said. “The government controlled everything. ... I have a special appreciation for personal liberties in America.”
Googe – whose campaign photo features her holding an assault rifle in one hand and a handgun in the other – says those personal liberties are “under attack,” and that’s inspired her to enter politics.
Kimball says he can win the left-leaning district because partisan politics is “killing the system,” and he’s frustrated with gridlock in Congress.
“I’m willing to bet dollars for doughnuts that most people are centrist,” he said. “The only voices that we hear are the ones that are on the extremes. We really need to ensure that the majority of people’s voices are heard.”
Kimball’s campaign had a tragic setback in February when his campaign manager, Giovanni Gambino, was shot to death along with a couple at his Gaston County home. Gambino’s wife is charged with the crime.
“That was an awful tragedy and it took us back in many different ways,” Kimball said. “We took a hard hit, but we also realized that this campaign is not in our hands, it’s in God’s hands.”
As a veteran, Kimball says he’d like to work on improving the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It really ends up being more of a government bureaucracy issue, not a congressional issue,” he said.
Googe differs from many in her party on foreign policy. She thinks the U.S. should scale back its military involvement overseas, and she thinks all wars should require congressional approval.
“As an American congressperson, I want to protect American people, and that’s it,” she said. “I’m going to reduce a lot of America’s international burdens.”
Googe also opposes trade deals, saying that in many cases, the U.S. “got screwed.”
Price does not face any opposition in the Democratic primary.
Professional experience: Real estate investor, former software engineer for companies including Duke Energy, Highwoods Properties, ChannelAdvisor and Itron.
Political resume: She has not held elected office.
Professional experience: Minister at St. James Baptist Church in Durham, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer for several companies, former U.S. Army Reserves sergeant.
Political resume: He has not held elected office but served on the Durham County Planning Commission from 2010-2013.
Family: Divorced with four kids
Republican 4th District candidates on the issues
Both candidates want to eliminate federal education mandates and give local and state governments more authority over public schools.
Kimball: Wants “to decentralize control out of DC and move the whole process of education choice to the states.”
Googe: “China also used something similar to Common Core. Every school used the same textbook. That kind of education, it promotes robots.”
The candidates also agree on the need to cut spending.
Googe: “Everybody wants to cut someone else’s budget. This is the culture of doing business in Washington. I think we need a new way of thinking.”
Kimball: “There is so much waste in government budgeting. We keep on adding programs but we never cut programs. We really need to go back to what I call zero-based budgeting.”