Wednesday, July 27, 2011

State Senator David Rouzer seems anxious to get 2012 NC GOP7 race underway. What's the rush, Senator?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster / July 27, 2011
State Senator David Rouzer has stirred up a political hornets' nest with his announcement on July 20 that he is interested in running for U.S. Congress in North Carolina's Seventh Congressional District.
The fact that he is throwing his hat in the ring for a run at the U.S. Congress in North Carolina's Seventh District is not at all surprising. He has an impressive background in business and government, and has already released the names of a stable of GOP heavy hitters committed to endorsing him and supporting his candidacy. 

What is raising some eyebrows is how quickly the Johnston County Republican bolted out of the starting gate after North Carolina's Congressional Redistricting showed that the desperate squiggles of official mapmakers put Rouzer into the Seventh District, where he declares that he will face off against Republican Ilario Pantano of Wilmington.
Of course, thorough advance planning is always a good idea. But there is the impression here that the Johnston County businessman and legislator is showing a curious degree of haste to launch a campaign whose GOP primary will not take place until May 8, 2012 -- almost a year away.

Was it premature? Opportunistic?  Excessively anxious? Some are teeing off on Rouzer's revelation of his ambitions before the ink is even dry on newly-drafted North Carolina redistricting maps.
 This story referenced the senator's curious rush to get into the race at the earliest possible moment.

VOTE 2012: Johnston Co. senator will square off against Pantano; Goolsby and Rabon support run.

By Colin Campbell / The News & Observer
RALEIGH, NC (THE NEWS & OBSERVER) -- One day after new redistricting maps put Johnston County in the 7th Congressional District, N.C. Sen. David Rouzer of McGee's Crossroads announced Wednesday that he'll run for the seat in 2012.

Rouzer won't be challenging his area's current Congresswoman, fellow Republican Renee Ellmers of Dunn. Under the maps released Tuesday, Ellmers' 2nd District would extend west from her Harnett County home into Lee, Moore, Chatham and Randolph counties.

Rouzer wants to represent the district extending southeast from his Johnston County home, covering Sampson, Duplin, Bladen, Columbus, Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

He'll face Ilario Pantano of Wilmington, the former U.S. Marine who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Rep. Mike McIntyre in 2010.

Pantano months ago announced his plans to run again, long before the new district maps were released.
NC State Senator David Rouzer to challenge Ilario Pantano in GOP/7th primary.  

News release issued July 20 by David Rouzer Campaign Committee

RALEIGH - State Senator David Rouzer announced today that he will seek election to the U.S. Congress in the newly formed 7th Congressional District.

Under the newly released Congressional redistricting maps, the 7th District, currently held by Congressman Mike McIntyre, will include Johnston County and the counties south of Johnston as you travel I-40 east, ending with portions of New Hanover and Pender counties.

“The federal government has steered our country on a dangerous course and everyone knows it,” said Senator David Rouzer. “The choices we make moving forward will determine whether we remain the beacon of freedom in the world with economic prosperity at home or become a third-rate nation. We will determine whether our children and grandchildren live the American dream or whether they will be asking us what it was once like to live in America.”

“The only way to reform our federal government and regain our foothold for the future is to remove the shackles of taxation and burdensome regulation that have put millions of people out of work. We must return to the Founding principles of free enterprise and self-reliance that made this country an economic power and the envy of the world,” added Rouzer.

“To do this we must elect members of Congress who have proven themselves to be common-sense conservative leaders. My conservative record in the state legislature and the relationships built from years of work with many of the citizens and the major industries throughout the 7th District make this a natural move,” the Johnston County resident said.

Rouzer currently represents Johnston and Wayne counties in the North Carolina Senate where he serves as Co-Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, the Natural and Economic Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, and the Joint Regulatory Reform Committee. In that capacity Rouzer was a leader in the effort to reform the state’s regulatory agencies and halt new regulations that would be a hindrance to small businesses and job creation.

Before his election to the state Senate, he served as a top advisor to U.S. Senators Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole and was instrumental in getting a tobacco buyout that has been so important for our state. Rouzer also served as a senior level presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among those already supporting Rouzer’s bid for Congress are Mrs. Jesse Helms, former U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth, N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, former State Senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith, State Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County, State Sen. Thom Goolsby of New Hanover County, State Sen. Wesley Meredith of Cumberland County, State Sen. Brent Jackson of Sampson County, N.C Rep. J.H. Langdon of Johnston County, Bill Prestage of Sampson County, and Dial Gray and Frank Grainger of Columbus County.

Note: The 7th Congressional District includes Johnston, Sampson, Duplin, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, Columbus, Bladen, Brunswick, Pender, New Hanover, and Lenoir counties.

Here's what one USA DOT COM reader had to say about the curious timing of the Rouzer announcement:
July 25, 2011 9:03 PM  
Given the public statement by Senator Rouzer shortly after the release of the new map that he will seek office in the new 7th District, I don't see any ambiguity at all in the "purpose" of drawing the district this way. That his candidacy will paint him as the GOP version of Brad Miller, who they have blasted for the last decade for doing the same thing, will be a stain on the entire party far beyond the borders of the 7th. That he would subject his party to such criticism to advance his own personal political agenda and career, give up his seat of power in the NC Senate where he has championed the cause of his constitients to their benefit, and place himself as just one more freshman in the US House where he will likely accomplish very little in the first term, is the height of arrogance, and the antithesis of what a public servant should do.
Others questioned the advanced state of Rouzer's endorsements in concert with the release of the results of the Redistricting Committee's report, suggesting that much planning had gone on in anticipation of the Senator Rouzer's public disclosure of his plans. 
This statement was also especially interesting:

Well… that was fast. Rouzer to run for N.C.-7

I wrote my post about the new reconfigured U.S. Districts less than 12 hours ago. I happened to mention that the new 7th goes all the way up to Johnston County, which happens to be the home of highly ambitious state senator David Rouzer. I further mentioned that Rouzer really, really wants to be a congressman. Just call me Ms. Cleo, suckas.
State Sen. David Rouzer of Johnston County said he plans to seek the GOP nomination for the 7th congressional seat next year.
Rouzer said he decided to make the run, after the GOP legislature came out with a newly configured 7th district that swings northward to include Johnston County. He will likely face a competitive primary with Illario Pantano of Wilmington.
“The ball kind of rolled my way,” Rouzer said. “When they redrew the maps. When I looked at this version it is a very strong district that matched my background and my ties going back to my years working with Sen Helms and Sen. Dole.”
The N&O
Hmmm… so the highly politically-connected Rouzer is shocked -shocked- that his home base just happened to be placed into this new Republican-leaning open seat.
Among those supporting Rouzer’s bid are Mrs. Jesse Helms, former Sen. Lauch Faircloth, state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, former state Sen. Fred Smith, state Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County, state Sen. Thom Goolsby of New Hanover County, State Sen. Wesley Meredith of Cumberland County, State Sen. Brent Jackson of Sampson,  County, state Rep. J.H. Langdon of Johnston County, Bill Prestage of Sampson County, and Dial Gray and Frank Grainger of Columbus County.
I’m sure it’s just a wacky coincidence he ended up in the 7th. Lucky him!

Anyways, this should be an interesting primary now. Pantano has a head start, but Rouzer is personally wealthy and has the Helms machine (and from the looks of those endorsements, the Dee Stewart machine) behind him.


VS: Okay. There you have it. USA DOT COM will be the go-to place for all the inside and outside news on the 2012 political season -- with special attention paid to the interests of the Cape Fear Region. Stay tuned friends. This is going to be big. And it's going to be fun.