Under the Dome

Holding’s Democratic challengers plan to follow him to new 2nd District

Congressman George Holding looks on during a Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing on breaking the Iran, North Korea, and Syria nexus at the Rayburn building April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Congressman George Holding looks on during a Foreign Affairs Joint Subcommittee hearing on breaking the Iran, North Korea, and Syria nexus at the Rayburn building April 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. MCT

With U.S. Rep. George Holding’s 13th District moved halfway across the state under new congressional maps, the Raleigh Republican says he’ll instead run in the 2nd District against fellow incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers.

The two Democrats currently running in the 13th say they’ll make the same switch – although they, like Holding, don’t actually live in the new 2nd District.

Ron Sanyal and John McNeil were set to face off in the March 15 primary, with the winner taking on Holding in November in the GOP-leaning 13th District. Both said Monday that they’re not interested in running in the new 13th, which spans from Greensboro to Statesville.

“This is my home, where I do my community work,” Sanyal said. “I want to serve my neighbors.”

Sanyal and McNeil both said they’ve already been campaigning in counties that will move from the 13th to the 2nd under the new map. “We’ve been working that area since the campaign began,” McNeil said.

Holding, Sanyal and McNeil all live in the redrawn 4th District, which is represented by Rep. David Price, a Democrat. Candidates for Congress don’t legally have to live in the district they represent, and none wanted to take on Price.

“That would not be fair to run against David Price,” Sanyal said. “I respect him, people respect him.”

As well-funded incumbents, the primary battle between Ellmers and Holding will likely be intense. McNeil says that could help the Democratic nominee.

“The reality is people are going to get sick and tired of those attacks and decide they’re going to want someone with a more positive message,” he said.

Only one Democrat had filed to run against Ellmers in the current 2nd District: Adam Coker, who lives in Boone – well outside both versions of the district. His campaign said he’s still weighing options.

“We’re currently re-evaluating our strategies given recent developments and the evolution of the literal political landscape,” spokesman James Fulbright said.

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