Ellmers Turns Back Challenge from Wilkins
Incumbent Congresswoman Renee Ellmers easily won re-election Tuesday night in a newly drawn 2nd District that now includes Moore County.
Ellmers, a first-term Republican from Harnett County, defeated Democrat Steve Wilkins of Moore County. She received 56 percent of the vote, with Wilkins garnering 41 percent, according to unofficial returns. Libertarian Brian Irving was a distant third with less than 3 percent.
The 2nd District, redrawn as a result of the 2010 Census, includes all of Moore and Lee counties, about half of Hoke County, and portions of Cumberland, Harnett, Chatham, Randolph, Wake and Alamance counties. Moore previously was in the 6th District and was represented by Republican Howard Coble.
“I am humbled to have the support of so many voters around the 2nd District and honored to have the privilege of continuing to serve them,” Ellmers said in a statement released by her campaign. “Tonight I thank Steve Wilkins for his service to our country and congratulate him on a hard fought campaign. And I ask Steve and his supporters to work with us to change Washington.”
She called for both political parties to work together to deal with the challenges facing the nation.
“Democrats and Republicans will not always agree on policy, but there are opportunities to work together in ways that responsibly reduce our deficit, shrink our government, and empower the private sector to create jobs. We will celebrate tonight, but it is my hope that tomorrow we will put the campaign signs and slogans away and come together as a nation ready to tackle the real challenges that face us.
“Tonight, even as we celebrate our victories, we cannot forget that over 440,000 of our friends and neighbors here in North Carolina remain out of work. That is what keeps me fighting every single day.”
Ellmers said she will continue to “fight for lower taxes, less government, and fewer regulations so we can create an environment where entrepreneurs and innovators will thrive and our businesses can get back to the business of hiring and creating jobs. I still believe that America’s best and brightest days are ahead of us, and I will work day and night for the people of North Carolina to make sure it stays that way.”
Ellmers, who works with her husband as clinical director of the Trinity Wound Care Center in Dunn, became an outspoken critic of government-run health care — dubbed Obamacare — and decided to run for Congress in 2010.
Considered a rising star in the tea party movement, Ellmers narrowly defeated incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge in 2010. She won a three-way Republican primary in May to advance.
Likewise, Wilkins, a retired Army Special Forces officer from Whispering Pines, also won a May primary. He said he “feels positive, not about the results, but about the whole game.” He said he called Ellmers to congratulate her.
“I asked her to do as much as she could to help to end the divisiveness in Congress that is hurting the country and North Carolina,” Wilkins said in an interview from Moore County Democratic Party headquarters in Southern Pines. “She said she would try to do that.”
Wilkins said one thing that he hopes Congress will address when it goes back into session is the Budget Control Act to prevent sequestration, a series of deep budget cuts that will be triggered automatically by a failure to reach an agreement on reducing the deficit.
“That was bad legislation,” he said. “It still hasn’t been fixed. We need to talk to our representatives to do something to fix this and do what is right for the country.”
Wilkins added that the Republican victories in North Carolina’s congressional races are the result of “gerrymandering” by the GOP-controlled state legislature.
“We are seeing bad gerrymandering play out as it was intended,” he said. “They (districts) were badly drawn. It was a brilliant plan and it worked, but it was bad public service.”
Wilkins said he was not blaming his loss on the newly drawn districts.
“In an overarching way, it affected the balance of power in the North Carolina delegation,” he added. “I take full responsibility for my campaign.”
Wilkins said he thanked his supporters for their efforts during the campaign at the party headquarters Tuesday night where they were watching national election results coming in. He said the Democratic Party in Moore County needs to keep working hard.
“We need to move forward with more energy and continue to recruit good candidates,” he said. “This is a momentary setback.”
As for his political future, Wilkins said it is too early to say.
“I am absorbing this for now,” he said. “I am not ruling anything in or out at this point.”
Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or email@example.com.
More like this story