Jim Duncan, the chairman of the GOP Chatham County Republican Party, has decided not to challenge 2nd District Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers next May.
Duncan put out statement Friday morning saying he had explored a congressional bid for several weeks and had been encouraged, but decided not to enter the race.
“In the final estimation, it became clear to me and my family that I can have a greater — and more lasting — impact by continuing my work fighting for a better North Carolina and the future of our children outside the halls of Congress,” he said.
His decision removes a major threat from the right to Ellmers. Duncan had announced his exploratory bid at a time when there was considerable tea party pressure on Ellmers to back a shut down of the government in an effort to defund the new health care insurance law.
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Ellmers has long been an opponent of the law, but was initially opposed to the using the threat of a government shut down as a tactic. She later changed her position and voted with most of the Republican caucus this week. Two days later, Duncan announced he would not challenge Ellmers.
Duncan was potentially a serious challenger to Ellmers. He is co-founder of the grassroots organization, The Coalition for American Principles, and as a successful businessman, would have been able to partially finance his own campaign.
Duncan said he would announce some other projects in the coming weeks to advance conservative solutions.
Ellmers is still likely to get GOP primary opposition. Frank Roche, a Cary investor and radio talk show host, is now exploring entering the primary.