Under the Dome

Wake Democrat who ran twice statewide will challenge NC congressman

A Democrat who ran twice for lieutenant governor says she'll challenge U.S. Rep. George Holding in the 2nd Congressional District next year. Linda Coleman told the Insider on Monday that she's begun filing paperwork for a congressional campaign.

Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner and N.C. House legislator, lost to Republican Dan Forest in the election for lieutenant governor in 2012 and 2016. She'll face at least two other Democrats in the primary next spring: Sam Searcy, a distillery owner from Holly Springs, and Johnston County transgender veteran Wendy Ella May. The district stretches from Harnett County through Wake to Franklin and Nash counties.

Coleman said she recognizes that unseating Holding, a three-term Republican from Raleigh, will be "a heavy lift" in the district drawn to favor GOP candidates. But she says she's well suited for the challenge.

"I have already represented part of his district before" in the legislature and on the county commission, she said. "I have the name recognition from having run two statewide campaigns. Many of the people in the district have voted for me at least seven times." She said her campaign will focus on issues such as healthcare, infrastructure needs and tax reform.

Holding won re-election in 2016 with nearly 57 percent of the vote. But this election cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has included Holding on a list of Republican incumbents it aims to defeat. Coleman said she was aware of the national Democrats' commitment as she made her decision to run.

"With the right kind of resources and support from all different groups, it's winnable," she said.

Coleman has filed paperwork for her campaign with the N.C. State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, but she hasn't yet completed filings with the Federal Elections Commission. In addition to the two other Democratic candidates and Holding, the FEC has received filing documents from one unaffiliated candidate: Timmy Strickland, a perennial candidate for town council in Selma who received 25 votes in the small Johnston County town's last election.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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