U.S. Rep. George Holding doesn’t plan to hold a town hall meeting with constituents during Congress’ August recess.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wants to make sure voters in North Carolina’s 2nd District know that.
The DCCC on Wednesday began an August-long ad campaign against Holding — who represents large parts of Wake, Johnston, Franklin, Harnett, Nash, Wilson and Wayne counties — and 24 of his fellow Republicans for their failure to hold town halls.
The ads will appear on Google during searches for Holding and assorted related search terms. Searches originating from Holding’s district will see the ads. The ads include a link to a website with a counting clock. In Holding’s case, the clock claims Holding has not held a town hall in 1,650 days.
Last week, Holding’s office confirmed that he did not have any town hall events scheduled for the August recess. In March, Holding said town halls have become “opportunities to protest.”
“I don’t think it’s proper to treat these as what folks would think of as a genuine town hall,” Holding said, adding that many of the angry crowds at Republican events were “planned out by liberal activists.”
Holding spokesman William Glenn said the congressman has held telephone town hall and Facebook events in the past to reach a larger audience.
“If someone wants to know where George stands on an issue, or needs help sorting out a problem with a federal agency like the Social Security Administration, it’s easy to contact him: Call his office, email him, visit his website, send a message on social media. A constituent or group can also call and ask to meet with him in person. That happens all the time. Unfortunately, sometimes, a meeting will turn out to be a political stunt. We try to avoid those,” Glenn said.
Earlier this month, a Democratic-aligned group invited holding to a town hall, which he did not attend. Indivisible Triangle Daily Call to Action held the event in Coats and used an empty chair “with a portrait of Holding asleep on the Congressional floor” as a stand-in for the representative.
“A Democratic group working to defeat George held a political rally in the district last week and called it a town hall – then he was attacked for not attending,” Glenn said. “But Democratic rallies aren’t town halls.”
“Congressman Holding’s vote to rip away healthcare from North Carolina families shows he’s heartless, his refusal to hold a town hall and answer for the Washington-Republican agenda he’s supporting shows he’s a coward,” said Cole Leiter, regional press secretary for the DCCC.
“Holding’s constituents are doing everything they can to keep him accountable and our latest digital ad campaign shows that we’ll stand with them and keep George Holding accountable for his votes.”
Holding earned 56.7 percent of the vote in the 2016 election, defeating Democratic candidate John McNeil. Holding was first elected in 2012 in District 13. He won re-election in that district in 2014, but ran in the redrawn 2nd District in 2016. He beat incumbent Republican Renee Elmers in last year’s primary.
Brian Murphy: 202.383.6089; @MurphinDC