Local Politics

McIntyre faces tough re-election challenge

Posted October 25, 2010

— For 14 years, the Seventh Congressional District has been a comfortable seat for Democrats, but Congressman Mike McIntyre now faces his tightest race in years, thanks to the national Republican surge.

The race between McIntyre and Republican challenger, former Marine Ilario Pantano, hinges largely on perspective – local versus national.

"My focus has always been on not whether it's a Democratic or Republican issue, but is it the right issue for our area," McIntyre said.

The Seventh District covers the southeastern part of North Carolina, from Fayetteville to Wilmington.

"There is a concerted effort, it seems to me, in Washington led by this liberal majority that has to be challenged," Pantano said.

Along with his free-market, conservative message, Pantano brings a controversial military career to the campaign.

In 2004, he shot and killed two unarmed men in Iraq. The military charged him with murder, but the charges were eventually dropped for lack of evidence.

"I was attacked. I killed men. I defended myself. I killed terrorists," Pantano said recently.

He wrote a book about his experience and won the backing of conservative commentators and the Tea Party as he emerged as the Seventh District Republican contender.

Election 2010 logo McIntyre faces tough re-election challenge

"Washington has become the most dangerous place in the world – not Kabul or Fallujah, and I've been to both places – Washington, D.C., where bad economic policy is threatening our economy," he said. "We've got to challenge that."

McIntyre fends off criticism that he walks in lockstep with Democrats. Backed by groups like the National Rifle Association and Right to Life, he opposed the national health care reform effort and said last week that he wouldn't vote for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she seeks another term in the post.

"The speaker has only voted 89 times. I have voted over 1,500 times," he said.

After seven terms serving southeast North Carolina in Congress, McIntyre paints Pantano as an outsider.

"We know the communities and the back roads. We know the chambers of commerce and the factories and the farmers and the businesses that we've worked with," he said. "My opponent, being fairly new to the area, has not had my background in that at all."

Pantano responds by criticizing McIntyre's time in Congress. "At some point, you stop being part of the solution and start becoming part of the problem," he said.

Watch a special edition of On the Record with David Crabtree at 7 p.m. Wednesday to hear from U.S. Senate candidates Richard Burr, Elaine Marshall and Michael Beitler.


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  • boogerntcsmom Oct 26, 2010

    whatusay -- You are so right. I believe that all laws passed by Congress should apply to every American including the members of Congress. They put the britches on the same way the rest of us do therefore they should not be exempt from any law. We need to get back to the standards that this country was founded on. I am sure that our founding fathers have rolled over in their graves many times due to the fact that our society and our country have become so self-absorbed that we no longer appreciate the freedom that we have. Stealing and murdering our neighbors is taken so lightly. We are a desensitized nation. Every day we should remember 911 and be thankful that we are Americans.

  • wilmingtonNC Oct 26, 2010

    We do not currently have term limits in Congress and simply look at the approval rating for Congress-- what, about 10% ?

  • whatusay Oct 26, 2010

    usnret....sorry, but I don't agree with you. We need term limits so politicians don't become self serving. The forefathers who founded this country did not have any experience. If they did we would now be a communist country, which is what our current politicians have us on track to become. The government is taking over everything and only new members in congress can stop it. TERM LIMITS....2 terms and you are out. Make no laws that does not include every American, including congress, unions, Muslims, ect... Obama has excluded millions of Americans from "MANDANTORY IRS ENFORCED" health care...How can that be. Shouldn't a law passed by congress and signed by the president apply to "ALL" Americans???

  • North Carolina Home Oct 26, 2010

    American Conservative Union rating is 38 for Congressman McIntyre. (For comparison purposes Congressman/woman rate McHenry and Foxx at 100)

    Americans for Democratic Action rates him at 50% on a scale of 0%-100%. (For comparison purposes Congressmen Miller and Price are 100%)

    His district is more conservative than his voting record would support and not a district that would, IMO, support Pelosi for Speaker as Congressman McIntyre did.

  • usnret Oct 26, 2010

    With all of the backlash about Obama being inexperienced, why is there such a rush to rid Washington of all incumbents? We need to keep those who have done a good job and not send a bunch of inexperienced rookies who will either get nothing done or create more problems than they solve. Choose you candidates based on past performance and ability not on the recommendation of those who have a specific agenda that may not be in the best interests of the country.

  • wilmingtonNC Oct 26, 2010

    As much as I feel Mike McIntyre has done a good job for us I have these issues with him:
    1) He had once stated that he would only serve six terms or twelve years- what happened to that promise?
    2) He cast a vote for Pelosi to become Speaker of the House.
    3) His campaign's latest ad about Pantano used Pantano's words taken completely out of context.

    I feel that he has indeed been changed by Washington as his opponent claims. This, plus the poor rating of the current Congress forces me to vote for his opponent, a non-incumbent. Too many Congress members are spending their whole life in office and losing touch with the common people.

  • hcain73 Oct 26, 2010

    McIntyre hurt himself with the votes he cast. Algernon, you should be ashamed of what you wrote below. Unarmed men? He is fighting a war in Iraq. Your comment reminds me of the late Congressman of Pa(D) who just passed away. You are judging a soldier who fights for our rights daily. "Not voting for a murdered" is as disrespectful as it comes. If the courts found no evidence and dropped charges, what's your beef? I wish people were more respectful on here to our military. I dont care which political side you are on.

  • jdupree Oct 25, 2010

    Vote all Incumbants out untill they pass term limits and we Drain the Swamp!!!

  • huladick Oct 25, 2010

    luvbailey... Pantano did not move down here to run for congress. He came down here to Camp Lejeune as a US Marine to fight and protect our freedoms. He then decided to make this area his home, as did I. If not for fine young Americans like Mr. Pantano, we could not discuss this in a forum such as this. Semper Fi.....

  • algernon821 Oct 25, 2010

    hey wilmingtonians, how about we do not vote for a murderer? "I defended myself against attackers" unarmed attackers, you shot them, that is not necessary force, it would be murder in the US if i did that as civilian. "i killed terrorists" thats a joke, that plays on people's sympathies for soldiers, wikileaks will blow the roof off of this nonsense. MURDER is MURDER!