Campaigning In NC-8 Race Not A Priority For National GOP
The Republican Party's national campaign arm has identified 41 districts where it plans to spend large sums of money on TV ads to try and recapture congressional seats. Somewhat surprisingly, North Carolina's 8th district is not on that list. Since the day Democrat Larry Kissell yanked the 8th District seat from the Republican Party in 2008, he's had a target on his back. The National Republican Congressional Committee continues to send out near-daily emails blasting Kissell's every move. But then Kissell stole some of the party's steam by actually voting with the Republicans on two key issues - climate change and health care. The NRCC announced this week it will not spend money on TV ads in the 8th district. "Kissell hasn't provided them a particularly easy target to go after," says UNC Charlotte political science professor Eric Heberlig. "It's a district that went pretty solidly for Obama so (the NRCC folks) think their chances are better elsewhere and thus their money's better spent elsewhere." A spokesman for the NRCC says the group may invest money in TV ads later in the campaign, as more funds are raised. And the NRCC thinks Republican and long-time sports anchor Harold Johnson has a good shot at beating Kissell in what experts say will be a close race. But Heberlig says money could be a problem for Johnson, since other conservative interest groups take their cues from the NRCC. "And if the parties aren't spending money here, the interest groups probably aren't gonna spend a lot either," says Heberlig. Campaign spokesman Bryan Holladay says Johnson's strategy doesn't depend on the NRCC or "anyone else" to win in November. "But any support they would give us would be an added bonus," says Holladay. Particularly since Kissell has three times as much campaign cash on hand and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to spend $870,000 for campaign ads on TV in the Charlotte area.