Local Politics

Controversial videos raise profile of congressional race

Posted October 27, 2010
Updated October 28, 2010

— The race for North Carolina's Second Congressional District attracted little attention until an online video of the Democratic incumbent and a controversial ad by the Republican challenger made waves.

In June, a video released on the Internet showed seven-term Congressman Bob Etheridge engaged in a sidewalk confrontation with a man in Washington, D.C. He grabbed the arm and then the neck of the man, who refused Etheridge's repeated demands to identify himself as he and another man videotaped Etheridge and asked if he supported "the Obama agenda."

Etheridge immediately apologized for the incident, but together with the national surge by the Republican Party, the video helped put his opponent, Renee Ellmers, on the campaign map.

"That incident, for instance, shows a little bit of that Washington arrogance," Ellmers said recently.

The confrontation was revived in a political ad by the group Americans for Job Security, which pledged to spend $800,000 in an effort to defeat Etheridge at the polls.

Ellmers, a Harnett County nurse who helps run a medical practice with her husband, made national waves of her own with a controversial ad criticizing a proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York.

"I knew that it would be a controversial issue, but there again, I have to stand up for the people of District 2 and what they want," she said.

Renee Ellmers, congressional candidate Ellmers seizes opening in bid to defeat Etheridge

The congressional district includes portions of Chatham, Cumberland, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Nash, Sampson, Vance and Wake counties.

Along with her conservative talking points of lower taxes and spending cuts, Ellmers opposes the national health care reform law.

"One of my goals is to repeal 'Obamacare' by putting in place free-market enterprise," she said, advocating that private insurers and health care providers make the rules.

"The difference is she wants to talk about going back to what they were doing before," Etheridge said. "We don't need to go back there. That's what lost all these jobs. We're now about creating jobs for the future."

He defends his vote for health care reform and the federal economic stimulus package.

"It's really about creating jobs and education. They're so closely tied, you can't separate them," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • TravelinMan Oct 29, 2010

    Ba Bye Bobby Boy, we'll see you back on the farm November 3,2010.

  • UNC006 Oct 28, 2010


    Cool, your vote is not needed. If you were informed and had seen the debate you would know that Etheridge is out of touch with the reality of the fact that he supported the HCR that's 10 times worse than most people currently understand...

  • Bendal1 Oct 28, 2010

    I didn't even know who Etheridge's opponent was until I saw one of his ads pointing out her nutcase ideas. She's nothing more than a Tea Party diversion, with little chance to unseat Bob. She wants to make abortion illegal for any reason, repeal the recently passed health care bill, and is for a national sales tax on everything. Knowing she's a former nurse who runs a for-profit medical service tells me all I need to know about her political position; she'll not get MY vote!

  • EvilSithLord Oct 28, 2010

    Only a group of delusional voters from the left would seriously believe that legislation like Obama-care could fix ALL (or any) of the problems in health care. My professional experience tells me the best way to solve big problems is to divide it into smaller tasks. I honestly don't understand Obama/Pelosi's infatuation with this project. Besides tax cuts, there is not single government actions that can actually save me money. Obamacare is no different.

  • Tax Man Oct 28, 2010

    Etheridge is wrong! It should be a free, competitive system - take off all governmental controls and allow across state purchases and Canadian purchases of medicine/insurance. Let any licensed insurance company compete and allow Medicare and Medicaid to join the VA and medical groups to negotiate lower prices. Limit the amount an uninsured must pay to what the insurance companies actually pay for services and drugs! Give 100% tax credits for all medical expenses paid by taxpayers. Initiate Tort reform and limit damages to real losses not lottery winnings (that the attorneys basically get).

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Oct 28, 2010

    Healthcare is why we lost all those jobs? Bull.

    Bottom line. The insurance companies WANTED Obamacare passed to guaranatee them more business. NOTHING in the bill to reduce the costs of insurance premiums except the notion that more people having insurance will reduce premium costs. My insurance went up $90. Even though Obamacare hasn't begun yet, it is ignorant to think that by adding 30 million more people will lower premiums because those people will be going to the doctor. As noted in my letter, the reason for the increase is to cover the costs of patients treated over the last year.

  • brentf777 Oct 28, 2010

    Bob Etheridge tends to vote the exact opposite of my stance on the issues nearly 100% of the time. He's one of the worst members of Congress in my opinion and needs to go. However, at the same time, I see no sense in "replacing a flat tire with another flat tire." The ground zero mosque ad was senseless. "I have to stand up for the people of District 2 and what they want" Where in the Constitution does it give Congress the authority to decide whether or not a building is built in New York City? It's intrinsically a local matter to be decided locally by the citizens and elected officials of New York City. The federal government has no jurisdiction. Also, Renee has a lot of generic talking points, but is weak on hard policy. Both Ellmers and Etheride have consistently refused to answer policy questionaires and be vetted. I'll wait until we have a real Conservative Constitutionalist candidate for the 2nd. Neither Ellmers nor Etheridge will get my vote.

  • cbarnett Oct 28, 2010

    All these people are acting like such juveniles I don't want ANY of them running this country.

  • UNC006 Oct 28, 2010

    What's controversial about the ad. This man is just like Brad Miller and David Price if you question a policy choice- it's a personal attack. They are just thin-skinned politicians that won't even run on their voting records. All three cringe at the thought of getting a question on Obamacare...

  • usnret Oct 28, 2010

    Of course the outsiders are pouring money into her race. She benefits when her medical practice gets rich from the increased profits if the health care law is overturned. Medical costs will continue to increase even if the bill is overturned, the only difference is the number of people who have no coverage, and medical decisions will be made by insurance company employees who get bonus payments for claims denied.