North Carolina’s seventh congressional district is considered one of the most competitive districts in the United States, but that wasn’t always the case. Congressman Mike McIntyre, a Democrat, has held the seat since 1997. In 6 out of his 9 campaigns for the seat, he won over 68 percent of the vote. However, the last two election cycles seem to indicate a dramatic shift.
In the 2010 general election, the year of the “Republican wave” that wrested control of the House away from the Democrats, McIntyre won with a comparatively paltry 53.8 percent of the vote. Still, the real story of the 2010 general election was the Republican tsunami at the state level, just in time to take control of redistricting (i.e. gerrymandering) duties.
With the legislature firmly in the GOP’s control, Republican lawmakers redrew North Carolina’s congressional district lines in their favor for 2012.
The 2012 elections devastated Democrats in the North Carolinian congressional delegation. In 2010, 7 Democrats and 6 Republicans were elected to the House, closely resembling the proportion of voters who elected Barack Obama over John McCain in 2008. As a result of gerrymandering and a highly-coordinated, highly-funded statewide effort orchestrated by Art Pope, a multimillionaire Republican, the GOP won an incredible 9 out of 13 seats in 2012 despite the fact that Mitt Romney won the state with only 50.8 percent of the vote.
In fact, so efficient was Republican redistricting that the party came within 654 votes of securing a tenth seat — Mike McIntyre’s.
McIntyre is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is made up of Democrats who identify as moderates or conservatives. Traditionally, “Blue Dogs” are proponents of bipartisanship and are often called on to push compromises and provide decisive votes.
This past term McIntyre has consistently voted along with House Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), prevent gun control measures (he has an “A” from the NRA), and ban same-sex marriages. According to opencongress.org, McIntyre votes with the Democrat Party 68 precent of the time, which makes him one of the least loyal party members.
Although the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has already pledged to support McIntyre in his re-election bid, his conservative streak has drawn a primary challenge from Jonathan Barfield, Jr. Likewise, his conservative voting has won him no respite from the GOP; Rouzer has already started hosting fundraisers in Washington.