National Republicans are gleefully cheering the news that Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre is likely to face a primary challenger.
New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, the only Democrat on the board, announced his candidacy Tuesday. “It’s right politically, as well as for my family right now,” he told the Wilmington Star-News. “My middle daughter will be in college next year and I talked to my wife about it and we agreed that now is the time."
“I wanted to put the word out now and let people know who I am and what I’m about. I wanted to let people know what my intentions are,” Barfield continued. “It’s always good to be out there first.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee's spokeswoman Katie Prill sent an email asking: "So is this the bittersweet end for Mike McIntyre? Not only has the NRCC announced that McIntyre will be a top target for the 2014 election cycle, now he is facing a tough primary challenge."
McIntyre, who represents a dying breed of Blue Dog Democrats, survived being a GOP target in 2012 with a razor-thin victory against Republican former state Sen. David Rouzer, who told Dome recently that is he considering another bid. McIntyre's office told the Star-News it's "premature" to start a campaign, given the legal battle of the redistricting maps.
The district stretches from the coast and Wilmington area to Johnston County, just east of Raleigh. The filing period for candidates won't begin until early 2014.
A Democratic challenger would force McIntyre to spend precious campaign cash in a spring primary instead of saving his ammunition for the fall battle against a Republican candidate -- which is expected to be close again.