In the upcoming North Carolina elections, there are 14 U.S. House seats up for contention. While only one of these contests is expected to be fiercely competitive during the general election, the outcomes of the remaining 13 contests are likely to be determined in the March 5 primary.
In the realm of highly competitive primary races, each vote holds significant weight. However, in certain races, candidates will find themselves unable to cast an essential vote: their own. This disparity arises from the fact that, unlike aspiring state lawmakers, congressional hopefuls are not required to reside within the district they aspire to represent.
According to state law, U.S. House candidates must meet specific criteria: they must be at least 25 years old, have been U.S. citizens for a minimum of seven years, and establish North Carolina residency by the November 5 general election.
After scrutinizing the voting records of all 69 congressional candidates, it has come to light that 16 of them are registered to vote outside the district in which they are running. This startling revelation means that one out of every four aspiring officeholders will be unable to cast their vote for themselves.
The majority of these district outsiders are vying for two specific seats: the 6th Congressional District in the Greensboro, Davie, Davidson, Rowan county areas and the 13th Congressional District in the Raleigh area.
Among the six candidates in the 6th district race, four are registered to vote outside the district they are seeking to represent. These candidates include plastic surgeon Mary Ann Contogiannis, Bo Hines, and Mark Walker.
On the other hand, Green Beret Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Christian Castelli and Jay Wagner are residents of High Point, and insurance lobbyist Addison McDowell is a resident of Lexington, all being in the new NC District 6.
Wagner commented on his rivals, stating, “Everybody else who’s running, quite frankly, are opportunists who see this district as their easiest path to power and a paycheck. That’s not who I am.”
Walker, who resides eight miles outside the district, highlighted his prior representation of most counties in the district, both as a former pastor and congressman. He stressed the importance of distinguishing himself from Hines, whom he playfully referred to as “Waxhaw Bo,” alluding to Hines’ relocation from a rental home in Fuquay-Varina to a $1.25 million house situated 32 miles south of the newly redrawn 6th district.
In response to a question about Walker and Hines, two of the leading candidates in the race, McDowell chose to focus on his qualifications and his connection to the district, stating, “I don’t want to talk about them. I’ll talk about me and why I’m qualified and I think I have a connection to the district.”
It’s worth noting that no Democratic candidates are running for this particular seat.
The 13th Congressional District boasts the highest number of candidates in the congressional races, with a crowded field of 14 Republican contenders. Among them, five are registered to vote outside the district boundaries: Marcus Dellinger, David Dixon, Brad Knott, Josh McConkey, and Kenny Xu.
On the other hand, nine other Republican candidates are seeking to succeed Democratic U.S. Rep. Wiley Nickel, who recently declared that he would not seek reelection. These nine candidates all reside within the district and include Chris Baker, DeVan Barbour, Kelly Daughtry, Steve Loor, James Phillips, Siddhanth Sharma, Matt Shoemaker, Eric Stevenson, and Fred von Canon.
Interestingly, the sole Democratic candidate in this race, Frank Pierce, is also not registered to vote within the district.