Two GOP lawmakers eye Congress

The state's new voting maps aren't even finalized yet, let alone voted into law, but some state lawmakers are already talking about running for Congress under the new districts.

Posted Updated
State Rep. Jerry C. Dockham, R-District 80
Laura Leslie

The state’s new voting maps aren’t even finalized yet, let alone voted into law, but some state lawmakers are already talking about running for Congress under the new districts.

Davidson Republican Rep. Jerry Dockham says he’s “thinking very seriously” about a run for the 8th District, currently occupied by Democrat Larry Kissell. The proposed new 8th would include Dockham’s home.

“I’m waiting till we vote on the maps before I make a formal announcement,” Dockham said. “But if the maps stay the way they are, I’m about 95% sure I’m going to run.”

Dockham has served in the House for 23 years. He’s one of the three chairmen of the House Redistricting committee.

“While I’ve really enjoyed my time in the legislature, the more time I spend in Raleigh, the more I see that if we don’t get things in Washington figured out, no matter what we do here in NC we’re not going to overcome that,” he said. “We’ve got to get our fiscal house in order, we’ve got to get our spending under control. I think we need some new leadership in Washington.”

Dockham says he expects to make a formal announcement shortly after lawmakers vote on the maps next week

Johnston Republican Sen. David Rouzer isn’t waiting for a vote. He’s officially announced he’s running for the new 7th District, which now includes his county. He’ll be taking on incumbent Democrat Mike McIntyre.

Rouzer is only in his third year in the state Senate, but he’s not new to politics. He spent more than a decade in Washington, serving as an aide to former NC Senator Jesse Helms, focusing on agriculture and trade issues. He stayed to help Helms’ successor, Senator Elizabeth Dole, with the tobacco buyout, then moved over to the USDA under the Bush 43 administration to work in rural development.

Rouzer thinks his experience in Washington will help him in the primary, where he’s likely to face some opposition, possibly from 2010 Republican nominee Ilario Pantano.

“I want to be one more voice to bring common-sense conservatism to Washington, and reform that city the same way we’re starting to reform Raleigh,” Rouzer said. “The country’s at a critical point in its history.”

Rouzer said a congressional run “really wasn’t on my mind” until he saw the latest draft of proposed congressional maps. Under the first draft, he’d have been facing GOP incumbent Renee Ellmers in the 2nd district. But Draft 2 put Johnston County into the 7th. “The ball just happened to roll my way,” said Rouzer.

When asked if he was worried the maps might change again before they’re finalized, Rouzer said he wasn’t. “Since this is the second go-around, I think this’ll be the final map, or close enough to it.”


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.