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October 21, 2014

Posts in "N.C.-6"

July 20, 2014

Megachurches Prove Mega-Influential in GOP Primaries

Megachurches Prove Mega Influential in GOP Primaries

Collins, left, is a Georgia Republican and former senior pastor at his church. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The influence of religious conservatives might be waning nationwide, but the movement only stands to grow in Congress.

Already this year, three candidates with close ties to massive churches won decisive Republican primaries. A fourth — Pastor Jody Hice — could win a Tuesday GOP primary runoff in Georgia and come to Congress in November.

Their victories come as public opinion has shifted dramatically on some social issues, notably same-sex marriage, denounced by most religious conservatives. The rise of the tea party and libertarian factions in the Republican Party has also diluted the influence of social conservative activists in the GOP.

But in the case of these faith-figures-turned-pols, the candidates’ close relationships to their churches played a factor — perhaps the deciding one — in their victories.

“People generally like their pastor, and in politics it’s always good to be liked by voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon.

Full story

July 15, 2014

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

North Carolina Runoff Results: Phil Berger Jr. Loses Nod (Video)

Coble endorsed Berger to succeed him in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Baptist Pastor Mark Walker defeated Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. Tuesday to win the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s open 6th District.

Walker garnered 57 percent to Berger’s 43 percent, with 59 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

The 6th District is open this cycle because GOP Rep. Howard Coble is retiring.

Full story

Voters to Pick GOP Nominees in Alabama, North Carolina Runoffs

Voters in Alabama and North Carolina head to the polls Tuesday to choose the Republican nominees in two deeply conservative House districts.

In Alabama’s 6th District, GOP voters have a choice between conservative activist Gary Palmer and state Rep. Paul DeMarco. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., announced his retirement last fall, creating this open-seat race.

Full story

July 9, 2014

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

Howard Coble Wields Influence in North Carolina Race

Coble has endorsed a candidate to replace him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Outgoing Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., has become a fixture in the GOP runoff to determine his successor in the 6th District.

Coble, 83, announced in November he would not seek another term in his Greensboro-based district. Nine Republicans vied to succeed him in a May primary, and the race culminates in a GOP runoff between Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker on July 15.

Initially, the 15-term Republican refused to take sides in the race, but he endorsed Berger after the primary. Since then, he’s become a frequent presence in the contest, appearing at Berger’s campaign events and fundraisers, making robocalls to voters on behalf of his campaign and riding in the July Fourth parade alongside the front-runner.

Coble told CQ Roll Call that he decided to endorse a potential successor after getting numerous inquiries from the press and candidates about whom he supported. Full story

May 15, 2014

Howard Coble Endorses Successor in North Carolina

Howard Coble Endorses Successor in North Carolina

Coble has endorsed a candidate to replace him. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Retiring North Carolina Rep. Howard Coble has endorsed Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. as his successor, touting the candidate’s experience and conservative credentials.

In last week’s primary, Berger and Baptist Pastor Mark Walker advanced to a July 15 runoff from a nine-candidate GOP field running to replace the longtime Republican lawmaker in the 6th District.

“It’s clear to me that Phil Berger is the right conservative for the job,” Coble, 83, said in a statement. “He has the experience, knowledge and determination to hit the ground running in Washington.” Full story

May 6, 2014

House Race Results in North Carolina (Updated)

House Race Results in North Carolina (Updated)

Jones won despite outside group's significant investment in his challenger. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:17 p.m. | Longtime Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., defeated his GOP challenger Tuesday night, declaring victory in the toughest primary since he came to Congress 20 years ago.

Jones defeated Taylor Griffin, a former aide to President George W. Bush, 52 percent to 45 percent, with 66 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Outside groups spent more than $1 million to paint Jones as “liberal” and boost Griffin’s candidacy in the 3rd District. But Republican operatives in North Carolina said Jones’ deep ties to the Tar Heel State were too much for Griffin to overcome.

Jones will keep his seat this November in all likelihood. North Carolina’s 3rd District is rated a Safe Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Full story

6 Things to Watch in Tuesday’s Primaries

6 Things to Watch in Tuesdays Primaries

Tillis and his wife Susan knock on doors in an upscale Huntersville, N.C., neighborhood north of Charlotte, the evening before the primary election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Primary voters head to the polls Tuesday in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, marking the first contests in a long series of contentious Republican battles over the next month.

In North Carolina, state Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon, and Pastor Mark Harris are vying for the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., in a marquee race that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Further down the ballot, an American Idol runner-up hopes he’ll have better luck in a Tar Heel State House race and longtime Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., will try to avoid becoming the first incumbent to lose a primary this cycle. In Ohio, a spirited challenger — perhaps best known for parodying a Cialis commercial in his bid — will attempt to unseat Speaker John A. Boehner.

In North Carolina, the contests could drag out for months. Primaries for Senate, the 6th and 12th Districts might continue to a runoff on July 15 if no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote.

Here are six things to watch in those races and others on Tuesday: Full story

April 28, 2014

Internal Poll: N.C. Republican Close to Avoiding Runoff

Rockingham District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. is just a few points shy of avoiding a runoff in a competitive GOP primary for an open House seat in North Carolina, according to an internal poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

According to the poll, Berger led the GOP field with 36 percent in the 6th District. A candidate must get 40 percent of the vote in the May 6 primary to avoid a runoff in the Tar Heel State.

Full story

April 17, 2014

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open-Seat Race

Runoff Likely in Crowded N.C. Open Seat Race

Coble will leave Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Republican nominee in the crowded race to replace retiring GOP Rep. Howard Coble likely won’t be known until mid-summer.

Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., the son and namesake of one of North Carolina’s most powerful Republican officials, has a firm grip on the front-runner position. But GOP operatives in the Tar Heel State said Berger, whose father Phil Berger Sr. is president pro tem of the state Senate, is unlikely to surpass the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff in the May 6 primary.

“I believe [Berger Jr.] has a name ID advantage just because of who his dad is,” said Matt Bales, a researcher with the non-partisan FreeEnterprise Foundation in North Carolina.

The primary has become a race for second place, and many North Carolina operatives said the rest of the nine-candidate GOP field is largely unknown, unwieldy and hard to assess.

Full story

December 12, 2013

GOP Field for North Carolina House Seat Continues to Grow

Former banker Bruce VonCannon announced Wednesday that he will seek the GOP nomination for North Carolina’s 6th District, becoming the sixth Republican to enter the crowded race.

VonCannon joins Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., Greensboro City Council member Zack Matheny, Baptist pastors Dan Collison and Bradley Walker, and navy veteran Don Webb in the contest. All six are looking to replace Rep. Howard Coble, the 15-term Republican who announced his retirement this fall.

Local GOP operatives say Berger is the front-runner in the race. As the son of the state Senate president pro tem, Berger boasts connections and the name identification to run a smooth campaign.

Full story

November 18, 2013

Phil Berger Jr. to Announce Congressional Bid in North Carolina

Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., a Republican, will announce Wednesday that he will run for the open-seat contest in North Carolina’s 6th District, according to a source close to Berger’s campaign.

Berger will make the announcement at a local charter school, becoming the fourth Republican to enter the race to replace Rep. Howard Coble, the longtime Republican who announced his retirement earlier this month. Other Republicans also running for the seat include Baptist pastors Dan Collison and Bradley Walker, and veteran Don Webb.

Full story

November 7, 2013

Howard Coble Announces Retirement

Howard Coble Announces Retirement

Coble will leave Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., announced Thursday he will retire at the end of his term, creating an opening in his strong Republican district for the first time in 30 years.

Coble, who was first elected to North Carolina’s 6th District in 1985, cited his failing health as the reason why he will step down. Earlier this year, the 82-year-old was rushed to George Washington University Hospital from the Capitol to undergo emergency hernia surgery.

Coble cited back pain and skin cancer as the main reasons for his retirement, saying his health would prohibit him from the long hours needed to campaign. But he stressed, “Mentally and emotionally I am stable and reliable,” to the audience watching his announcement in Greensboro, N.C.

Full story

November 6, 2013

Coble to Announce ‘Future Political Plans’ on Thursday

Coble to Announce Future Political Plans on Thursday

Coble has served 15 terms in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Longtime Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., will announce his future political plans at a news conference Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., according to an announcement from the congressman’s office.

Coble’s office declined to give any more details on the announcement — the 15-term Republican has long been the target of retirement speculation.

Coble, 82, has struggled with his health. Earlier this year, he was rushed to George Washington University Hospital from the Capitol to undergo emergency hernia surgery.

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 4:24 p.m.
House 2014, N.C.-6

August 12, 2013

Howard Coble Opponents Line Up in North Carolina #NC06

Howard Coble Opponents Line Up in North Carolina #NC06

Coble has a new challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Laura Fjeld, a former vice president and general counsel for the University of North Carolina system, announced Monday that she will challenge longtime Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C.

“I have great optimism about our future in North Carolina, but partisan politics are toxic,” said Fjeld, a Democrat, in a statement to the News Observer. ”I haven’t created the problems in Washington D.C. — but I will be part of the solution.”

Full story

By Emily Cahn Posted at 4:23 p.m.
House 2014, N.C.-6

March 28, 2012

Anti-Incumbent Super PAC Adds Jones, Moran to Target List

Anti Incumbent Super PAC Adds Jones, Moran to Target List

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. is one of two Members that an anti-incumbent super PAC has decided to target. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:39 p.m. | The Campaign for Primary Accountability plans to launch spending crusades against Reps. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) as part of the super PAC’s growing list of targeted races.

The deep-pocketed super PAC also announced a “Watch List” of more than two dozen veteran Members whom it plans to evaluate and potentially target during the height of primary season during the next three months. Full story

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