Rep. Mike McIntyre (D)
Elected: 1996, 7th term.
Born: Aug. 6, 1956, Lumberton .
Education: U. of NC, B.A. 1978, J.D. 1981.
Family: Married (Dee); 2 children.
Professional Career: Practicing atty., 1981–96.
The congressman from the 7th District is Mike McIntyre, a Democrat first elected in 1996. McIntyre grew up in Lumberton, in Robeson County, graduated from college and law school at Chapel Hill, and practiced law in Lumberton, where his family has been prominent for 200 years. When he was an intern in the office of Democratic Rep. Charlie Rose, where he watched the Watergate hearings and President Nixon’s resignation speech, he told his father that he would like to run for Rose’s seat someday. McIntyre finally got that chance in 1995, when Rose decided to retire. McIntyre’s chief opposition in the primary was Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, a Lumbee and a liberal who had support from the National Education Association, labor unions, and national women’s groups. Lowry-Townsend led McIntyre 30%-23% in the primary. In the runoff campaign, McIntyre called for smaller government, cited his close ties to the district and his involvement in community activities, and got a boost from local African-American leaders, who supported him. He won 52%-48%. In the general election, McIntyre’s platform was almost as conservative as that of his Republican opponent, New Hanover County Commissioner Bill Caster, who ridiculed McIntyre’s emphasis on his community ties. “While it’s all well and good to coach Little League, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to go to Congress,” Caster said. McIntyre won 53%-46%.
|Mike McIntyre (D)||215,383||(69%)||($1,160,679)|
|Will Breazeale (R)||97,472||(31%)||($89,219)|
|Mike McIntyre (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (73%), 2004 (73%), 2002 (71%), 2000 (70%), 1998 (91%), 1996 (53%)
McIntyre joined the conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats and got seats on Armed Services and Agriculture. His voting record—conservative among Democrats, especially on cultural issues—is centrist in the House as a whole. He voted for some restrictions on abortion and a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But he supported racial quotas and preferences, and opposed government vouchers for private-school tuition. He opposed normal trade relations with China, and he sought to impose a higher tariff on new imports of Caribbean Basin footwear. Converse’s plant west of Lumberton was once the country’s largest shoe factory. He proposed additional subsistence payments and job-training assistance for workers who have lost their jobs because of the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. He estimated the loss at nearly 10,000 jobs in Robeson and Columbus counties.
As many of the troops based in the district headed to the Persian Gulf, McIntyre voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq in 2002, but he later criticized the Bush administration for its post-victory planning and its slowness in turning control over to the Iraqis. In March 2007, he voted for the bill to set a timetable to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq.
McIntyre has sought to break the deadlock in the century-old battle for federal recognition of the Lumbees. In June 2007, he won House passage of his Lumbee Recognition bill, which included a ban on gambling and gave the state jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil actions. But it died in the Senate. He did successfully guide to passage a bill to increase grants to state agencies for veterans-outreach programs. As chairman of the Agriculture subcommittee on specialty crops and rural development, McIntyre crafted a compromise on the peanuts title of the 2008 farm bill that reduced the acres eligible for federal payments and increased the loan rate for direct payments.
In this swing district, McIntyre has not faced a serious challenge. In the traditional Southern Democrat style, he has quietly built seniority and influence.