3 in running for new House seat

Court stalls filings in wake of suit

Senior staff writer
Posted 12/6/21

Three candidates announced their plans to run for the newly created U.S. House of Representatives NC-4 seat. But all three will have to wait to file after the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued …

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3 in running for new House seat

Court stalls filings in wake of suit


Three candidates announced their plans to run for the newly created U.S. House of Representatives NC-4 seat. But all three will have to wait to file after the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an order temporarily suspending candidate filing for the seat.

The new seat encompasses Harnett, Sampson, Cumberland, Johnston and the western part of Wayne counties and consolidates two current district seats held by Republicans David Rouzer (NC-7) and Richard Hudson (NC-8). But this and other seats for the U.S. House in North Carolina are contested in a lawsuit that alleges the new districts are heavily gerrymandered.

The Court of Appeals put a stay on all filings for U.S. House seats and for state general assembly seats to give parties time to submit their arguments to the court.

The court will decide whether the maps need to be redrawn and when to lift or continue the pause on filings.

Harnett County’s Renee Ellmers, Robeson County Rep. Charles Graham (D) and Republican newcomer Kelly Daughtry are all vying for the new NC-4 chair.

Ellmers served three terms in Congress and two years as an appointee of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services under former President Donald Trump.
Ellmers is a registered nurse and has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle from the start of the pandemic, according to a release from Ellmers for Congress.

“It was an honor to go to Congress to serve and represent the communities of North Carolina where I work and live,” Ellmers said in the release. “I was 100% on board with President Trump’s Make America Great agenda and that’s something I’ll continue pursing in Washington where it’s desperately needed.”

Ellmers is in the process of filing FEC campaign finance requirements and expects to formally file her candidacy in Raleigh once filing resumes.

“Joe Biden is trying to tear apart the very foundations on which this country was formed. We need experienced people to counter his agenda of destruction on Capitol Hill and I’m ready to go and be part of that fight to get our country back on track,” said Ellmers.

A self-described conservative Republican, attorney Kelly Daughtry lives in Clayton.

“After prayerful consideration, and thankful for the support of my family, I will run for Congress,” Daughtry said in a recent release. “I have never before run for office. I am not a politician, but like many Americans I am concerned President Biden is leading our country down the wrong road. I’m troubled by the return of inflation and its impact on our local economy.

“I also look at the mess in Washington and shake my head. It’s time to clean up the mess in politics. Our country needs leaders who will level with us – and who have the courage to stand on their own two feet and do what’s right. I’ll stand firm for our conservative values each and every day,” Daughtry said.

She and her father, Leo Daughtry, a Republican member of the State House and Senate who represented Johnston and Sampson counties for years, practice law together in the same law firm with offices in Smithfield and Clinton.

Graham, a six-term Democratic Representaive, offered his thoughts on why he decided to join, what is predicted by many pundits to be a highly competitive race as Republicans hope to claim the seat in their overall efforts to gain control of the House of Representatives in 2022.

“I launched my campaign in October with a message of treating human dignity as a human right,” Graham said in a press release. “We heard from people across the state and country who share our values and they realize that I am the Democrat who can win in a competitive district because I’ve done it before, and as a result we raised nearly $200,000 within one week.”

Graham outlined his platform and listed his reasoning for attempting to claim the seat. In his press release Graham accused Republicans of gerrymandering and expressed his concerns.

“After spending the Thanksgiving holiday talking it over with my family, we have made the decision to run for the 4th Congressional District because the values we stand for are too important to squander in a gerrymandered district stacked against us – but the 4th District is a fight we know we can win,” he said. “The issues of the rural counties of District 4 - educational opportunities, healthcare access, environmental protection, veteran services, and combatting crime - are the same issues I’ve focused on while representing Robeson County in the State House, and they will continue to be my focus during this Congressional campaign.”

Graham, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, is seeking to become just the third Democratic Native American to be elected to Congress. He would be the first member of the Lumbee Tribe.

Rick Curl can be reached at rcurl@mydailyrecord.com or at 910-230-2038.


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