RALEIGH, N.C. — Over the last year, the 1st Congressional District was rocked with scandal. Two candidates are eager to turn that around. The district covers a good portion of the northeastern corner of the state and drops as far south as Wilson and Wayne counties.
It seems like everywhere you go in Wilson, G.K. Butterfield finds a friend. The former attorney and judge has been a Congressman for three months and is already running for re-election.
Butterfield won the 1st Congressional seat in a special election after Frank Ballance stepped down for medical reasons. Ballance has since been indicted on mail fraud and money laundering charges.
"That's an unfortunate chapter in eastern N.C. and I'm not going to dwell on that," Butterfield said.
Instead, Butterfield likes to talk about his work in Washington with the tobacco buyout. He continues trying to bring jobs to the 1st District.
"As a member of the small business committee, I'm going to be looking at ways and means of stimulating growth of small businesses in eastern North Carolina because small businesses employ more than 80 percent of our workers," he said.
Jobs are also a priority for Butterfield's challenger. Greg Dority is a security consultant who ran for the same office two years ago.
"My overseas experience makes me more qualified to bring jobs to North Carolina," he said.
The Republican from Washington, N.C., backs President George W. Bush in the war on terror, but he does agree with Democrat John Edwards on one issue.
"I talk about the need for increased intelligence capacity and increased counter-intelligence capacity," Dority said.
Dority believes a Republican will give the 1st District a fresh start.
"Butterfield, Ballance are really the same thing," he said. "Until we continue to fight and win this battle on corruption, we can understand why there will not be federal money coming down here."
There are some other district races of interest in North Carolina. Republican incumbent Walter Jones, who has served in Congress for 10 years, faces Democrat Roger Eaton, who is an assistant plant manager, in the 3rd Congressional District. The 3rd District covers most of the coast and stretches inland to Wilson and Nash counties.
In the 7th District, which runs from Fayetteville to Wilmington, Realtor Ken Plonk, a Republican, hopes to outseat Democrat Mike McIntyre. McIntyre is seeking a fifth term.
In the 8th District, which spreads from Cumberland County to Charlotte, Republican Incumbent Robin Hayes hopes to serve a fourth term. He takes on Democrat Beth Troutman, a former production crewmember from the TV show, "The West Wing."