Under the Dome

US Rep. David Rouzer gets last-minute challengers

Rep. David Rouzer at a town hall meeting at Johnston Community College.
Rep. David Rouzer at a town hall meeting at Johnston Community College.

For much of the election filing period – and the months leading up to it – Congressman David Rouzer of Johnston County escaped any opposition.

Rouzer’s fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers of Dunn, has had multiple primary challengers, one of whom even brought a gun to her first attack ad. GOP challengers to U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of Farmville has also been active for months.

But on the final day of the filing period, Rouzer got both a Democratic and a Republican challenger seeking to represent his district, which spans from Johnston County to Wilmington.

Mark Otto, a former 2nd District Republican Party chairman who lives in the Cleveland community, said he’s campaigned for Rouzer in the past but was upset his representative voted for a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill recently.

“I feel completely betrayed,” Otto said in a news release. “Both Rouzer and Ellmers sided with the political establishment and voted to pass the atrocious omnibus spending package that funds Planned Parenthood, quadruples the number of foreign workers taking American jobs, fails to provide much-needed safeguards to vet Muslim refugees coming to our communities from known terrorist nations and adds nearly a trillion dollars to the national debt. I am taking a stand, dammit!”

Rouzer has defended his vote for the bill, saying it “not only increases defense funding to provide our military with the necessary resources to keep us safe, but it also closes dangerous loopholes within our visa system that will help prevent terrorists from entering our country.”

J. Wesley Casteen, a Wilmington attorney and accountant, filed to run for Rouzer’s seat as a Democrat. Casteen ran for the seat last year as a Libertarian.

“My party affiliation has changed, but I have not,” Casteen wrote in a Facebook post. “In speaking with representatives of the party, the Democratic tent, which is big enough to include a self-declared socialist running for president, is also big enough to include someone, who understands economic supply and demand curves, as well as knows the difference between a financial debit and credit.”