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Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:22

Parties tight-fisted when it comes to WNC race for Congress

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The Republican National Congressional Committee won’t be putting any money behind Mark Meadows, the Republican candidate for the 11th U.S. Congressional District.

RNCC leaders said this race is a shoo-in given the conservative-leaning district, so they will marshal their financial resources for other races in their quest to win the majority on Capitol Hill.

Likewise, however, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not given money to bolster the campaign of Hayden Rogers, the Democratic candidate from Robbinsville. The DCCC has offered verbal and tactical support, according to Rogers’ campaign. But so far, the Democratic leadership has not committed money specifically to Rogers’ efforts.

Meadows and Rogers are vying for the seat currently occupied by retiring U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Blue Dog Democrat.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, chair of the RNCC, and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, the deputy chairman, visited Waynesville to take part in a fund-raising breakfast for Meadows, a conservative Republican from Cashiers.

The pair offered their verbal support for Meadows but plainly stated that the purpose of their visit was not to infuse Meadows campaign with RNCC dollars. The reason being that the RNCC doesn’t believe the race is as competitive as others in North Carolina.

“Mark is going to win,” Sessions said. 

However, the district is not a surething for either candidate. Even though the district leans right, the current seat holder, a Democrat, beat out the Republican challenger last election by 20,000 votes.

Despite the confidence of the Republican National Congressional Committee in Meadows, Democrats have hardly conceded the district. The DCCC has listed contest between Meadows and Roger as a “Red to Blue” race, indicating it as hotly contested. The organization’s website stated that campaigns on the “Red to Blue” list are offered financial, communications, grassroots, and strategic support. 

While a Democratic currently holds the seat, it could be a tougher row to hoe this election given the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly redrew the congressional district lines. Only 36 percent of voters in the district are registered Democrats, compared to 43 percent prior to the redistricting.

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