Republicans Look to Pick Up Open Seat in North Carolina

Republicans are looking to pick up North Carolina’s open 1st Congressional District seat in November.

Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield (NC-1) has announced his retirement, leaving the seat open.

Prior to redistricting Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave NC-1 a partisan rating of D+7. The district now is rated slightly less Democrat with a D+5 rating.

Open seats are generally considered by political insiders to be more favorable by the out-of-power political party than if there was an existing incumbent running for reelection.

The NRCC has announced that they are targeting the district for Republican takeover.

As of the December 31, 2021 deadline, FEC records show Republican Rocky Mount Mayor & former health care company CEO Sandy Roberson with a commanding financial lead over the rest of the field because he has a war chest of $1,002,224.20 on hand in the bank due to a $1 million loan to the campaign.

Another Republican, attorney and 2020 state Senate candidate Billy Strickland has raised $252,695.00 and has $250,394.30 cash on hand. Tech businessman and GOP primary candidate Brad Murphy has raised  $166,219.34 and has $163,139.57 in the bank.

Roberson’s website says, “Sandy has spent nearly 40 years in the business world. He’s made a career of getting things done, delivering results, meeting budgets, and holding others accountable. Now, he’ll do those same things for us in D.C.”

Strickland’s website says, “Billy Strickland grew up poor with a chaotic family. He left home when he was just 15 years old to find work so he could survive. After leaving home, Billy worked odd jobs, mostly as a mechanic, to make ends meet. As a young man, Billy was often taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who refused to pay for work done. He had no recourse because he could not afford an attorney to defend his rights. Billy decided if he could not afford an attorney, he would become an attorney. His life’s mission was to become the kind of attorney who would help people defend their rights under the law.”

Murphy’s website says, “He is running for Congress to shrink the wealth and opportunity gap between urban centers and rural farming and manufacturing communities. The stakes couldn’t be higher for District 1. We need to restore crucial economic connections that have been damaged, especially in the past decade. Brad wants the people of this region to have the chance to earn a living and make a life here that can compete with the wages, jobs, and prospects that compel our young people to move away to larger metro areas. ”

On the Democrat side, State Senator Don Davis has raised $142,826.00 and has $132,261.18 on hand as of December 31, 2021. Former State Senator Erica Smith has raised $604,983.92 and has $97,378.36 on hand.

There are other candidates in the race but their fundraising totals are either not significant or will be released in mid-April because they did not file paperwork to run until after the December 31, 2021 deadline.

The primaries are scheduled to take place on May 17.

While North Carolina’s congressional maps are the subject of ongoing litigation, they will be in effect for the 2022 midterm elections at a minimum.

Political insiders tell The Star News Network that this potential GOP pickup is expected to be one of the races to watch in November.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR.
Photo “Don Davis” by North Carolina General Assembly. Photo “Sandy Roberson” by Sandy Roberson. Photo “Billy Strickland” by Billy Strickland. Photo “Erica Smith” by Senator Erica Smith for NC. Photo “Brad Murphy” by Brad Murphy for Congress. Background Photo “U.S. Capitol” by Martin Falbisoner. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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