Former state Sen. David Rouzer confirmed to the Insider Thursday that he is running for Congress in 2014 in the 7th Congressional District, the Insider's Patrick Gannon reports.
The Johnston County Republican said he would make an official announcement early next week. Rouzer won the district's GOP primary in 2012, but lost a close race in November to longtime U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-Lumberton, in a more conservative district after the recent redistricting process.
McIntyre won by 654 votes out of nearly 337,000 cast in the district, which includes all or parts of 12 Southeastern North Carolina counties. Rouzer represented Johnston and Wayne counties in the Senate from 2009-2012. McIntyre hasn't announced his candidacy for re-election, but there are indications that he will seek a 10th term.
McIntyre is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 2013-14 Frontline program, an effort to help Democratic incumbents keep their seats. And McIntyre's campaign in late January filed a "Statement of Candidacy" for 2014 with the Federal Election Commission. McIntyre couldn't be reached Thursday through a spokesman.
Jonathan Barfield, a New Hanover County commissioner, has launched a campaign to capture the Democratic nomination. Rouzer said he knows of no other Republicans seeking the GOP nomination at this early stage.
He said he recently has been working at his business, R&C Distributors, which markets a degreaser called Cobra Clean, as well as spending time on his uncle's farm. Ilario Pantano, the GOP's 2010 nominee in the 7th District who lost to Rouzer in the 2012 primary, said Thursday he hadn't ruled out a 2014 run but wasn't planning on it. He said he is focusing on his latest book.(