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On to the first topic referenced by these early posters: Who will run for Congress in the 8th District in 2008?
It is a known fact that Larry Kissell has already declared his intentions. Not only has he done so in multiple emails since the final re-count, Larry announced it before 500+ Democrats gathered at the State Executive Committee Meeting at Elon College last month. Party leaders locally and on up to the DNC in D.C. have recognized the same. Larry will run and is running.
In fact, there are reports that Larry’s narrow loss – some of which is blamed on late financial interest by the DCCC and the drenching all-day rain that dampened turnout by enough voters to make a difference – has prompted some to say “give him another chance.” Others have been heard commenting, “Heck, he ran when Hayes seemed invincible and then almost pulled it off; he should be the Party’s standard-bearer again for that reason.”
These are valid reasons.
But, being the Democrats that we are, other loyal Democrats will point to equally valid reasons for someone else to throw her or his hat into the ring.
So who else might run? Will there be anyone else? Should there be anyone else? Will Republican Congressman Robin Hayes run again?
A growing number of us are hearing that State Representative Rick Glazier of Cumberland County and 2002 Democratic nominee Chris Kouri of Mecklenburg County are strongly considering it. Both gentlemen, who are friends of mine like Larry is and perhaps of many of you, are excellent Democrats. They, like Larry and other thinking/breathing Democrats well-versed in the issues and needs of the Eighth, would be hands-down better than the incumbent.
For now, though, the central part of the Eighth is all about Larry running again. He is a known quantity with “recency” and an organization District-wide. Chris and Rick, who hail from opposite ends of the District, also have some base of support in their respective areas.
But if these three are considering a run against Hayes in 2008 because of how close the 4-term incumbent came to losing in 2006, then I’d anticipate other Democrats are considering a bid as well.
And if Robin chooses not to run (more on that below), then all bets are certainly off: We will see a host of Democrats come flowing out of the political spigot as they clamor for that rarity of rarities in Congressional politics - an open seat. We’d probably face a run-off primary due to the balkanization of the vote itself, particularly if the presidential primary remains on the same day here in
Is there any likelihood that Robin won’t seek re-election?
Well, speculation is beginning to run rampant about this. In 2005 there was a GOP boomlet in support of Hayes for Governor; the same was duplicated since last November when Libby Dole’s 2008 plans for U.S. Senate came under scrutiny. With no Republican developing any “critical mass” for Governor yet within that party, Hayes has seen his name and potential candidacy re-emerge. And now throw into the mix that Congressman Hayes is in the minority – a backbencher – for the first time in Congress. Not that there may be too much difference where ever he sits since Robin, on information and belief, has no lengthy record of substantive legislation other than an occasional amendment here and there. It is highly doubtful that he could get anything of his own through Congress now except naming a Post Office, a memorial, or neutral resolutions. If a Democrat were in the White House now – instead of 2009 – then I’d say Robin Hayes would not run for re-election in 2008. Right now the only cards he holds are a Republican White House (for the moment), incumbency, and significant personal wealth. (Not a troika to sneeze at but of significantly lesser value than two and certainly four years ago ... and particularly in a District with more registered Democrats than Republicans.)
There has been some speculation that if Robin Hayes did not run and he also did not seek another office, then he might wait until the last minute so he could hand-pick a Republican nominee with name recognition and electoral experience. Some GOP’ers in the western end of the Eighth heard long-time State Senator Fletcher Hartsell’s name crop up under that scenario. Hartsell, like Hayes, hails from
For now we should and must assume that Robin Hayes will seek re-election.
Regardless, here’s my thesis:
If Rick or Chris or anyone else decides to take the plunge into the 2008 Congressional race by joining Larry, then I ask them all of them to build on the grassroots and “netroots” zeal and excitement we saw in 2006. I ask them to regularly walk the streets in
That synergy will defeat Robin Hayes – or any other Republican – in 2008.
And take it from me, someone who has been asked about making a Congressional race myself over the last 10 years: Whomever our nominee is, we must win in 2008. Not taking back the Eighth District, in the face of both Democratic gains elsewhere nationally and the depth of our need for a true, working representative of the District, would be a shame. And we’d have no one to blame then but ourselves.
Let’s roll up our sleeves. There’s work to do.