CORRECTION: J. Wesley Casteen is the only Libertarian candidate in the District 7 race.
The battle for the primary -ballot is on as Republicans and Democrats compete for the seat Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C. District 7, held for almost 20 years.
David Rouzer, a Republican candidate, came close to snatching the seat from McIntyre in 2012, when he lost by less than 700 votes.
“I still feel very fervently that this country, and the principles it was founded on, deserve to survive,” Rouzer said of his decision to run for the office again during a March 10 phone interview.
Two big issues for Rouzer are cutting spending and growing the economy. He said his record in the N.C. Senate is proof he can tackle these problems on a federal level.
“As subcommittee chairman on the appropriations committee, I went through the state budget and cut items,” Rouzer said. “One of the major reforms I led at a state level was eliminating rules and regulations that make it hard for small business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers to do business.”
Tensions between Rouzer and Woody White, chairman of the New Hanover County Board of Commission, have publicly mounted since both announced their candidacy earlier this year.
White criticized Rouzer for what his opponent considers his strongest political capital: his experience.
“We need someone in Washington that will share the values of the people in the seventh district. I represent an average American life. I have deep roots set in this community,” White said during a March 7 phone interview.
Like Rouzer, White is concerned with the national debt and economic growth — and he said his experience as a small business owner will help him tackle those issues.
“We’ve reached the tipping point with out-of-control debt and spending. In order to change Washington, we need people in Washington who know how to run a business and know what is happening in the real world,” White said.
Republican candidate Chris Andrade said he is discouraged with political games.
“I’m not going to kick other people in the knee. I’m not running against Rouzer or Woody White. I’m running for the constituents of the seventh district,” Andrade said during a March 7 phone interview.
Andrade, who served in the military for 30 years, said he is about solutions instead.
“I have draft legislation on my website already. I want to take the mentality I used for so many years in the military to get things done,” he said.
Walter Martin, a Democrat, and J. Wesley Casteen, a Libertarian, also said they were motivated to run by political division.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are good ideas out there that should receive bipartisan support but have been ignored,” Casteen said during a March 10 phone interview.
Casteen cites the individual tax reform proposal created by Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., as an example. He said although the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation endorsed it, it was fellow Republican John Boehner who stopped the proposal.
Similarly, Martin suggested a shift to long-term solutions that would eliminate the four-year cycle of partisan debate and enable businesses the certainty they need to thrive.
“If we hammered out a long-term deal that was for 10 or 12 years, it would move us along a much better path,” Martin said during a March 6 phone interview.
Jonathan Barfield Jr. said he is running for the office, because he wants to represent every citizen in Congress like he has in his role as county commissioner.
“No matter if they’re Republican or Democrat, black or white, male or female, I’m a representative of the people,” Barfield said during a March 8 interview.
Big issues for Barfield include access to healthcare, education and job creation.
“I’ve been involved with job creation here since I was elected to the Board of Commissioners,” Barfield said, mentioning the incentives the board offered to GE Aviation last year that created more than 100 jobs.
The primary election will take place on May 6. Election day is Nov. 4.