The Eastern District U.S. attorney usually has a strong political patron.
For most of the last 20 years, the federal prosecutor in Raleigh appointed by the president has been closely tied to Sen. Jesse Helms, except during Democratic administrations.
Here is a list of former U.S. attorneys and their patrons:
George Anderson: (1977-1980) Backed by Democratic Sen. Robert Morgan; appointed by President Jimmy Carter.
Sam Currin: (1981-1987) Former Helms aide. Backed by Helms; appointed by President Ronald Reagan.
Margaret Currin: (1988-1993) The wife of the previous U.S. attorney. Backed by Helms; appointed by Reagan.
Janice McKenzie Cole: (1994-2001) Backed by Democratic U.S. Rep. Eva Clayton; appointed by President Bill Clinton. (No Democratic senator at that time.)
Frank Whitney: (2002-2005) Former Helms legislative counsel. Backed by Republican lawyer Tom Ellis, Helms' longtime political strategist; appointed by President George W. Bush.
George Holding: (2005-present) Former Helms aide and Whitney's No. 2 at U.S. attorney's office. Backed by Ellis; appointed by Bush.