Longtime Democratic Congressman David Price will face off against Raeford businessman Tim D'Annunzio in the recently remapped District 4 congressional race in November.
The district, which was redrawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature, spans from Alamance County through Chapel Hill, Raleigh and parts of Chatham, Lee and Harnett counties to northern Cumberland County.
Price, a former Duke political science professor, has served 12 terms since 1987. He believes a strong infrastructure includes the re-hiring of teachers, police and firefighters who were laid off during budget cuts.
Price said he also favors a plan that, along with spending cuts, includes taxing the wealthiest Americans.
D'Annunzio, a Republican from Raeford, founded Paraclete Armor and Equipment Inc., which he sold. He owns Paraclete XP SkyVenture and XPX Armor & Equipment.
D'Annunzio's radio ads have accused the presidential administration of socialist practices, and he advocates for a limited government and deregulation of industry.
He also believes in eliminating many federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
D'Annunzio, who has been known for his machine gun social fundraisers, made an unsuccessful run in the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District in 2010, before redistricting. The nomination went to Tim Johnson, who lost to Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell in the general election.
The district lines have changed, but the issues have stayed the same, the candidates say. Jobs and the economy take top billing, just as they will in most elections across the country, Price and D'Annunzio said.
"Of course it's jobs," said D'Annunzio, who was backed in the primary by We the People of the Sandhills, a Fayetteville-based tea party chapter. "The state has one of the highest unemployment rates in this country."
North Carolina's unemployment rate stood at 9.7 percent in August, when the latest numbers were released by the state's Employment Security Commission.
Cumberland County's rose to 11.4 percent, but other counties in District 4 performed relatively well. Wake County's unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent, Durham County's was at 8 percent and Orange County's was at 11.4 percent.
Despite their differences, both candidates agreed the 4th District was one of the more resilient and economically diverse in the state. The district's territory in Orange, Durham and Wake counties is home to technology companies, while Cumberland County has defense industries.
Because of the relatively sturdy economy in the district, Price said, the region is an example of how government can help strengthen education, help develop high-tech firms and nurture start-ups and innovative ideas.
"It's a proven formula," Price said. "What's alarming is the arrival (of politicians) in Washington and Raleigh who don't seem to understand that. They have failed to learn that basic lesson in history."
D'Annunzio said Congress will be required to vote on legislation that will affect the entire country, which has suffered in the economic downturn.
"One of the problems we have is ever-increasing debt that's draining off capital and resources from private companies," he said.
D'Annunzio said the country operates on a type of budgeting system that involves increases already programmed into the system.
"What we need to do is get rid of base-line budgeting," he said.
D'Annunzio also said he believes in "orderly downsizing."
Price, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and is the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, has supported bills for affordable housing and to allow families to deduct interest on student loans and make penalty-free IRA withdrawals for education.
"It's important for our country to invest in its people," Price said. "I also happen to believe that expanding the economy is the best solution to the deficit. You can't cut your way to prosperity."
Home: Chapel Hill
Occupation: Educator and U.S. representative
Elected offices: U.S. House, 12 terms (1987-1995, 1997-present)
Family: Wife, Lisa; two children
Contacts: 919-854-4155, email@example.com, priceforcongress.com, facebook.com/david-price, Twitter: DPrice4Congress
Occupation: Owner, XPX Armor & Equipment/Paraclete XP
Elected offices: None
Family: Wife, Colleen; six children
Contacts: 910-222-4461, firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/tim.dannunzio