Conservative wave lifted Rep. Ellmers, now it may unseat her in race against Rep. Holding

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U.S. Rep. George Holding feels no pangs of guilt over his decision to challenge 2nd District incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers, and it’s likely the right wing of his Republican Party isn’t tossing and turning about it, either.

Holding, a two-term incumbent from the 13th District, which includes part of Raleigh, finds that district moved west by the redrawing state GOP lawmakers had to perform in the wake of court rulings. In an effort to retain 10 of 13 congressional seats, Republicans packed African-American voters into a couple of districts, which diminished the voting strength of minorities in other districts. But the plan backfired, and so they had to come up with a redrawn map that affected a number of districts, including Holding’s.

No problem for him. Holding notes the newly configured 2nd District includes about 61 percent of the precincts in his old 13th. So he’s running there and will face Ellmers, of Dunn, who won the seat over veteran Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge in 2010. Ellmers had figured to face challengers. Her inclination to get along with former House Speaker John Boehner and her vote on a budget bill that avoided a government shutdown displeased her tea party supporters.

Ultraconservative Holding, a former U.S. attorney, is doubtless more to their liking. He’s also a powerful fundraiser, coming from a well-connected wealthy family.

And so Ellmers finds herself on the outs with conservatives, and given the makeup of her new district, facing a very tough challenge.