New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield Jr. announced plans on Tuesday, Feb. 26 to run for the U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District seat, currently held by Democrat Mike McIntyre.
Barfield, a Democrat serving his second commission term, said the congressional seat has been on his radar for a while.
“Last year, Gov. Perdue announced that she was not going to seek reelection, Congressman McIntyre indicated that he may run for governor,” Barfield said. “At that point, I was interviewed by WECT and I assured them that if he did that I would definitely run for his seat. … To me the timing is right politically, looking at the political landscape within the district itself. I’ve worked hard to represent the citizens in this county, and I think I’ve been quite effective serving on three state boards and one national committee as well. … My desire is to serve in a greater capacity, which would lead me to D.C.”
The Mike McIntyre for Congress Campaign Committee released a statement following Barfield’s announcement to run: “The last election ended less than 90 days ago. Starting campaign season now is premature since the courts have not finalized whether the new district lines will be upheld or changed again.”
Barfield said his intention is to run whether McIntyre decides to run or not.
“I really have a passion for public service,” Barfield said.
He serves on the National Association of Counties Trans-portation Steering Com-mittee, and the North Carolina Association of County Commis-sioners Inter-governmental Relations Steering Committee, Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee and Tax and Finance Steering Committee
An issue Barfield has been passionate about at the local level has been how to deal with the trash produced in the county.
“I’m going to be here for at least another year and a half,” Barfield said. “I would think that within that timeframe we would have come up with a solution and moved on.”
At a larger level, Barfield said he would like to focus on economic development, agribusiness and ways to maintain the beaches and waterways.
During a phone interview on Wednesday, Feb. 27, Barfield said he is getting a lot of positive phone calls, emails and text messages about his announcement, including a call from a national Democratic PAC in California.
“The word is definitely out across the country about my intentions here,” Barfield said. “I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t think I would win.”