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New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield has announced his intention to run for the 7th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep.—and fellow Democrat—Mike McIntyre.
Barfield told WECT News Channel 6 he plans to run for the seat in 2014, the year that McIntyre’s ninth consecutive term is set to expire. Barfield said he would run regardless of whether McIntyre files for re-election.
“Today is an exciting day for me and for my family as I announce that I will indeed run for Congress for the 7th Congressional District. I’m excited about this opportunity to serve not only the citizens of New Hanover County but the entire 7th District,” Barfield said Tuesday.
“To me, I think the timing is right. This is a seat that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I’ve had a conversation with Congressman McIntyre several times, and looking at the lay of the land right now, the attitude of our country right now, and just the folks within this district, many have come and asked me to run for this office.
“I think many are somewhat dissatisfied with how things are going within our country and particularly this district right now, and my goal is to represent all the citizens of the 7th Congressional District, looking at how we can continue to renourish our beaches as well as our inlets, and also looking at those that are part of our rural communities in terms of our agri-business.”
Barfield was sworn in two months ago for a second four-year term as a New Hanover County commissioner, having previously served as chairman. He was one of three elected in a field of six candidates, along with Beth Dawson and current chairman Woody White.
In that same election, McIntyre narrowly defeated state Sen. David Rouzer for his ninth consecutive two-year term.
Barfield said his role as a commissioner has allowed him to talk with others who want him to run for the seat.
“I have a lot of support from those that are part of this community as well as throughout the district,” Barfield said, noting his recent campaign. “Serving as a county commissioner gives me the ability to go to the other counties as well and deal with county commissioners in those communities, and I just heard it loud and clear that ‘We need for you to step up and run. We need a strong voice for southeastern North Carolina.’
“And I’m not sure that we’ve had a congressman from New Hanover County in the past, but I’m looking forward to serving,” he said.
In a statement issued Wednesday, McIntyre’s campaign committee said the following:
“The last election ended less than 90 days ago. Starting campaign season is now premature since the courts have not finalized whether the new district lines will be upheld or changed again. Congressman McIntyre has always based his service on striving to do what is best for the people back home—and not based on anyone else’s campaign.”
The statement also said McIntyre “looks forward to continuing to serve the people of 7th District and is very appreciative of the trust they have placed in him.”