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Ellmers draws potential 2014 rivals

Posted October 22, 2013

Former N.C. Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco

— Second District Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has been booking a lot of time on cable TV news over the past few days, acting as a media spokeswoman for House Republicans' opposition to the Affordable Care Act.  But the second-term congresswoman's rising profile isn't dissuading potential challengers. 

One of them is former North Carolina Commerce secretary Keith Crisco, a Democrat, who said Tuesday that he's weighing a 2014 bid for Ellmers' seat.

"It's a consideration," Crisco said in a phone interview with WRAL News. "It's early, and we've got a lot of work to do."

"Some mighty nice people have encouraged me," he added, declining to name any of them.  

Crisco, a former Asheboro textile executive, was Commerce secretary under former Gov. Bev Perdue.

"My style was to work across the aisle," he said, "and I've been supported by Republicans, Democrats and independents." 

Asked why he might choose to challenge Ellmers now, Crisco alluded to the current stalemate in Congress.

"I think people are ready for someone who's willing to talk and find solutions – someone more centrist," he said. "I think that's a better working approach."

He says he expects to make a decision within the next month.

Meanwhile, a Durham Democrat has filed his paperwork for his party's nomination to challenge Ellmers next November. 

Attorney Houston Barnes announced his candidacy for the seat Tuesday via press release.

“We need a non-wavering voice in Washington that understands the needs within our communities and businesses,” Barnes said. "I’m proud of my record as an entrepreneur who works every day helping to develop and grow small businesses in our community, and in Congress, I will continue to fight for the people of North Carolina.”

Barnes, 31, has not held elected office before. He is married to Brice Barnes, a Democratic fundraiser and strategist.  

A campaign spokeswoman says Barnes currently lives outside the 2nd district in southern Durham, but owns property in the district and plans to move his family soon. 

Ellmers could yet face a Republican primary challenge for her seat as well. 

Chatham County Republican Party Chair Jim Duncan had formed an exploratory committee, but dropped his primary bid last week. However, conservative Cary talk-show host Frank Roche is still considering a challenge from the right.

Roche didn't immediately respond to inquiries about his decision.



20 Comments

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  • Sally1023 Oct 28, 2013

    PLEASE run Keith Crisco! The country needs statesmen not people like Ellmers who care absolutely nothing about our country, the "United" country. The T-party, which Ellmers is a proud member, will drag the country down, if given half a chance. The US House is proof of this. Mark Meadows another proud member of the NC t-party helped mastermind the government shut down and who wins? The world see us as disfunctional and not to be counted on and China picks up all of broken pieces.

  • theblazer Oct 25, 2013

    Yesterday CNN reported that Fortune 500 CEOs (the people who bankroll the Republican party) are meeting to look at ways to help the party eliminate Tea Party extremists. Do you think those same CEOs will be in a hurry to bring jobs to a state where the Tea Party has political control?

    It's a well known fact that the fortune 500 company CEO's give far more to democrats.
    And why do you care if the CEO's choose not to come to NC? You are "anti-big business" aren't you? All good liberals are.

  • glo Oct 25, 2013

    Did they mean "Draws down on" potential rivals? They want to watch her, with the unsecured weapons laying around her garage.

  • jscott13 Oct 23, 2013

    Ellmers has made some ridiculous comments. I will work to make sure that she is not elected.

  • Bill Brasky Oct 23, 2013

    "the purge of democrats needs to continue but it strikes me that finding any common sense repubs is virtually impossible."

    You should run. We need more Statesmen and less politicians.

  • josephlawrence43 Oct 23, 2013

    If anyone has any problem chosing between liberal/leftist/socialist Democrat and a conservative/Tea Party republican--just stop and remember your history--specifically the last 100 or more years that the Dims ran this state like it was their private club. And look at the mess they left us with. And please, because McCrory has taken some serious steps to try and fix the mess, he's had what--9 months to correct over 100 years of socialist government.

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Oct 23, 2013

    Well, let's see. We can choose between a Democrat centrist or a Tea Party fringe lunatic who voted to continue the shutdown and send our country into default.

    Easy choice. I'll be voting for someone with absolutely NO connection to the Tea Party.

    A successful civilization is one that rejects extremism from either end of the political spectrum. Failure to reject new Tea Party extremists is the reason North Carolina is in so much trouble today.

    Yesterday CNN reported that Fortune 500 CEOs (the people who bankroll the Republican party) are meeting to look at ways to help the party eliminate Tea Party extremists. Do you think those same CEOs will be in a hurry to bring jobs to a state where the Tea Party has political control?

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Oct 23, 2013

    Gee, really tough choice here. A Democrat centrist or a Tea Party fringe lunatic who voted to continue the shutdown and send our country into default.

    I'll be voting for someone with absolutely NO connection to the Tea Party. A successful civilization is one that rejects extremism from

  • DavidJonathan Oct 23, 2013

    Ellmers has angered the Tea Party by daring to show she is capable of critical thinking and independent analysis. No room for her now? And what does that say about what is left of the GOP?

  • lavenderdejectedmoon Oct 23, 2013

    Bye bye tea party!

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