Democrat Bob Etheridge is considering running for the congressional seat he lost last year to Republican Renee Ellmers.
“I've been getting a lot of phone calls, I can promise you that,” Etheridge said this afternoon. “ I've been evaluating it.”
“I do enjoy it," he said. "I think I made a difference. I'm like any American right now – frustrated at what is going on with the Tea Party folks up there. I think they have pushed our country to the brink three times this year, and lost our country its AAA bond rating as a result of that.”
Etheridge, represented the second district for seven terms, before losing to Ellmers last fall, in part because an episode in which he grabbed a young man posing as a student – which the National Republican Congressional Committee after the election acknowledged was an operative – who sought to question and videotape him on a Washington street.
Since then, Etheridge, 70, has worked in Raleigh, overseeing the distribution of the stimulus money. In recent months he has headed state recovery efforts for Hurricane Irene.
Under the redistricting plan adopted by the GOP-led legislature, the 2nd district has been made more Republican. But Etheridge said it is still winnable for a Democrat, particularly in a presidential year.
Etheridge, who lives in Lillington, has actually been moved into the 4th congressional district under the redistricting plan. The plan puts all three Democrats who had represented the Triangle in recent years, Etheridge, David Price, and Brad Miller in the 4th. But congressmen are not required to live in their district run.
Etheridge said he asked state Rep. David Lewis, chairman of the House redistricting committee and a fellow Harnett County resident, about being moved out the district he had long represented.
“He said he doesn't know where I live,” Etheridge said. “It makes me wonder about his level of honesty or his intelligence.”
Etheridge said he will sit down with supporters after the beginning of the year to discuss his options.