RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are two fields heating up this August—one being a literal North Carolina farm and the other a political campaign.
“I think certainly the presence of someone like the Republican leader, who wants to be next year’s Speaker of the US House, gives the indication that Republicans see an opportunity in this particular district,” said Michael Bitzer, chairman of the Department of Politics at Catawba College.
The leader Bitzer is referring to is U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who spent Tuesday stumping for Bo Hines at a Fuquay-Varina horse farm.
We know the 13th congressional district is competitive. McCarthy’s presence suggests it’s even more so than expected. Newcomer Hines faces Democrat and state senator Wiley Nickel in the fall election.
Both parties see a win as a necessary step to control congress.
“It puts it on the radar for the national Republicans. They’ve had it on the radar, but it just solidifies the importance of the 13th congressional district from North Carolina,” said Bitzer.
The question for Nickel’s campaign is, who would be the right marquee democrat with the right balance to appeal to both democrats and unaffiliated voters?
The 13th is a newly drawn open seat. Most districts in North Carolina are predominately Republican or Democrat. But the 13th is nearly 50/50, divided between the suburban to the north and rural to the south.
“Within urban counties like Wake but outside of Raleigh that is technically the most competitive area in the state, you move across the line into a place like Johnston County it becomes the most Republican area. So, I think this combination of the two really is going to be a fascinating case study for November’s general election,” said Bitzer.