Wednesday, May 9, 2012

David Rouzer won only four counties in carrying NC GOP7 over Pantano

Verne Strickland / Blogmaster / May 10 12:10 AM

Published: Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.
On his home turf of Johnston County, state Sen. David Rouzer dominated Tuesday's Republican primary, topping Ilario Pantano by more than 12,000 votes there.
Pantano, an author and former Marine who lives in Wilmington, wasn't able to overcome his lopsided loss in Johnston, despite winning eight of the 12 counties in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District.
Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly drew that county – including Rouzer's residence in rural McGee's Crossroads – into the district as part of last year's redistricting process.

When all the votes were tallied by early Wednesday, Rouzer defeated Pantano, the GOP nominee in 2010, by more than 2,800 votes and 4 percentage points, according to unofficial results from the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Despite winning just four counties – Hoke, Johnston, Lenoir and Sampson – Rouzer will face longtime Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat from Lumberton, in the November election.

Rouzer, 40, is in his second term representing Johnston and Wayne counties in the state Senate. A former staffer for the late Sen. Jesse Helms, Rouzer also owns a small consulting business.

Rouzer also received a significant number of votes in the other main population centers in the 7th District – Brunswick and New Hanover counties, which were thought to be Pantano strongholds. Rouzer was virtually unknown in the Wilmington area a few months ago.

Pantano won both counties – 11,151 to 7,047 in New Hanover, and 8,333 to 4,641 in Brunswick. But Rouzer's showing there was enough to keep his huge lead from Johnston County intact.