Rouzer to run for Congress in 7th District
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on July 21, 2011 1:46 PM
State Sen. David Rouzer, R-Johnston, announced Wednesday his intention to run for the newly formed 7th Congressional District seat in 2012.
Now in his second term in the N.C. Senate, Rouzer said he had not planned to run for Congress, but that the newest version of the state's congressional district maps made it too intriguing an option to pass up.
Under the first version of the new maps, Rouzer would have been in the 2nd Congressional District with incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers -- not somebody he would have challenged.
Now, however, Rouzer and the rest of Johnston County have been drawn into the 7th District, along with all of Duplin and Sampson counties.
"When opportunities present themselves, I take a look at them to see if they make sense," Rouzer said. "And this all kind of opened up and fell into place, and it makes a lot of sense for me. The ball just kind of bounced my way. Had the districts remained as they were drawn the first time, I wouldn't be running."
But, he said, not only does this new district include a lot of supporters, it also is something of an open seat with current District 7 Rep. Mike McIntyre having been moved into the 8th District with fellow Democrat Rep. Larry Kissell.
"I've got a lot of friends, supporters and financial backers here who have encouraged me to go back to Washington," Rouzer said. "It's a natural fit for me."
Rouzer, who served as a top adviser to both Republican Sens. Jesse Helms and Elizabeth Dole, and worked on the tobacco buyout program before being appointed to work in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said he's especially interested in representing such an agricultural district -- especially one with both Duplin and Sampson counties, routinely the two biggest agricultural counties in the state.
But more than that, he said his motivation for running for this seat is to bring a change to Washington, D.C., similar to the one he believes he and his fellow Republicans are creating in Raleigh.
"I think here at the state level we've got a good, strong majority in the Senate, and my departure from the Senate will not interrupt any of the progress we're making under Republican leadership," he said. "Washington is in bad need of reform, and I think I can take my experience here on the state level and do that. The federal government has steered our country on a dangerous course and everyone knows it.
"I think at this point in time in our nation's history, we're at a pivotal crossroads that will determine if our children and grandchildren will know the same America we've known."
But, he said, his efforts running for Congress will not interfere with his responsibilities representing Wayne and Johnston counties for the rest of his legislative term, especially since any primary next year will likely be over by the time the short session begins, and the election will be well after the session ends.
"It will not have an impact. I will finish out my term through December 2012," he said.
If elected, Rouzer, who lives in McGee's Crossroads and runs the Rouzer Corp., as well as RNC Distributors LLC., would represent all of Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, Johnson and Sampson counties, and parts of Cumberland, Hoke, Lenoir, New Hanover, Pender and Robeson counties.
McIntyre, however, on Tuesday, according to the Wilmington Star-News, announced his intention to run for the District 7 seat, despite not living within its boundaries -- congressmen do not have to live in the districts they represent. He also said, though, that he would be trying to have all of Robeson, as well as Fort Bragg, pulled back into District 7.