Thursday, April 21, 2011

GOP's Ilario Pantano: McIntyre aggressively working to influence direction of NC redistricting.

Verne Strickland Blogmaster


Published: Thursday, April 21, 2011
U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre raised $150,000 in the first quarter of 2011, more than doubling the fundraising efforts of Ilario Pantano, a potential Republican challenger in 2012.
Pantano calls the Democratic incumbent’s early fundraising an attempt to send a message to General Assembly lawmakers redrawing congressional district boundaries this year.
McIntyre, by attempting to show that he has strong local support and that he would be a tough opponent in 2012 regardless of where his new district is drawn, hopes to influence map-drawers to largely leave his district alone and focus on other areas, Pantano suggested.
Pantano also said he believes McIntyre is trying to dissuade potential Democratic primary challengers, who may find it difficult to match McIntyre’s fundraising totals.
“Like a turkey, he’s showing his feathers,” Pantano said. “He’s trying to appear bigger and more formidable than he is.”
McIntyre said how the new maps are drawn is “completely up to the state House and state Senate.” But on his campaign website, McIntyre is urging supporters to contact state lawmakers to encourage them to keep Southeastern North Carolina together in one congressional district. “Do you want your next Congressman to be from Raleigh, Goldsboro, or Charlotte?” he begins his website message.
Lawmakers in Raleigh have just begun the once-a-decade task of redrawing the state’s 13 congressional districts based on 2010 population figures. And it’s unclear whether McIntyre, who lives in Lumberton, and Pantano, who lives in Wilmington, will even run in the same district once the process is complete.

Observers have suggested that McIntyre’s district could be carved up by the General Assembly Republicans who control this year’s redistricting process to give a Republican a better shot of representing the district, which McIntyre has served since 1996.
McIntyre also is asking his supporters to attend scheduled public hearings on state and congressional redistricting. Meetings will be held at 7 p.m. May 5 at Cape Fear Community College’s downtown Wilmington campus and at Brunswick Community College’s Supply campus.
“Please join me in standing up for our homes, our businesses, and our way of life and let’s keep Southeastern North Carolina together – moving forward!” McIntyre says.
Some Republicans have criticized McIntyre, saying he is only trying to protect his job in the U.S. House.
Pantano is also keeping tabs on the redistricting process. He visited the Legislative Building in Raleigh recently, meeting with Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee, among other lawmakers. He said he wasn’t lobbying for any specific changes to the 7th Congressional District, which now includes all or part of 10 counties in the southeastern corner of the state.
“I live in Southeastern North Carolina, and whatever the district is that’s drawn around the place I live, I will be eager to represent,” Pantano said.

The Battle for the Bucks

McIntyre raised about $150,000 from January through March, while Pantano’s campaign took in about $60,000, according to reports available at the Federal Election Commission’s website,
Most of Pantano’s contributions – $53,000 worth – came from individuals. McIntyre received more than $95,000, or 64 percent, of his cash from political action committees.
Pantano pointed out that he raised more campaign cash from individuals than McIntyre, who pulled in more than $41,000 in the first quarter from individual donors.

At the end of March, McIntyre had nearly $151,000 in his war chest, with no debt, according to the FEC. Pantano’s campaign had about $47,000, with $43,000 in debt, most of which carried over from his unsuccessful 2010 campaign against McIntyre.

“We don’t have the Washington special interests to bail us out,” Pantano said. “I didn’t get $100,000 in PAC checks.”

McIntyre said he is grateful to the individual donors and political organizations that have given to him because “they want to make sure Southeastern North Carolina continues to have a strong voice.”

The PACs that have given to him, McIntyre said, “represent local farmers, local businesses, local educators, local health care providers, local law enforcement and others who help drive our economy.”