Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2010, 2nd term.

Born: February 9, 1964, Ironwood, MI

Home: Dunn, NC

Education: Oakland U., B.S. 1990.

Professional Career: Surgical intensive care nurse, Beaumont Hospital; clinical dir., Trinity Wound Care Center, 2007-10.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Roman Catholic

Family: Married (Brent Ellmers) , 1 child

The representative from the 2nd District is Renee Ellmers, who is among the rabid anti-Obama conservatives elected in 2010 but who has a more amiable relationship with her party leaders than others in her class.

Ellmers grew up in the blue-collar Detroit suburb of Madison Heights, where her father worked in the auto industry. To pay her way through college, she trained as a medical assistant and worked full- and part-time jobs while taking classes. In 1990, she graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She worked as a nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at Beaumont Hospital, where she met her husband, surgeon Brent Ellmers. Shortly after the couple had their son, Ben, they took a trip to see family members in Cary, the fast-growing suburb just west of Raleigh, and decided to move to the Tar Heel State. They settled in Dunn, in Harnett County south of Raleigh, where Ellmers worked as a nurse in her husband’s practice at the Trinity Wound Care Center and got involved in the Dunn chamber of commerce.

As the 2010 election approached, state and national Republicans did little to mount a strong challenge to Rep. Bob Etheridge, a Democrat first elected in 1996 with a somewhat moderate record in a district that had voted Democratic for president in 2008. North Carolina Democrats thought enough of him to try to talk him into running against Sen. Richard Burr.

Meanwhile, Ellmers was appalled that her congressman had supported the Democrats’ health care legislation then wending its way to passage. “So rather than sit at home yelling at the TV set, which I did, I decided I needed to get involved,” she told The Sanford Herald. Ellmers started going to county GOP meetings and joined the bus tour organized by Americans for Prosperity as it traveled across the country protesting the legislation. Though unnoticed by national Republican strategists, she built enough of an organization to win the May GOP primary with 55% of the vote against two businessmen who got 26% and 19%. That was more than the 40% she needed to win without a runoff.

In the fall, Ellmers cast the general election as a stark choice between the Obama agenda and a different direction for the country. “I’m a mother, wife, and nurse, and I never dreamed I’d be running for Congress, but it’s time to put a stop to the Obama rubber stamp in Congress and Washington politics as usual,” she said, noting that Etheridge had voted with his party over 95% of the time.

In June, she got a big break from Etheridge himself. When two young Republican operatives approached the incumbent outside the House office buildings and asked him whether he supported “the Obama agenda,” Etheridge asked them repeatedly, in angry tones, who they were, and grabbed one by the wrist and the other, briefly, by the neck. The operatives captured the encounter on videotape and posted it on YouTube. Etheridge quickly apologized, but after the video got 3 million hits, contributions poured into Ellmers’ campaign. Republican groups followed up with $360,000 worth of attack ads highlighting the incident. And Ellmers got an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, popular with the emerging tea party wing of the party.

National Republicans were still skeptical whether she was ready for prime time: In one of her ads, Ellmers claimed that an Islamic center planned for a site near Ground Zero in New York was a “victory mosque.” And Etheridge had a huge money advantage, spending $1.9 million to Ellmers’ $890,000. On Election Day, Ellmers edged out Etheridge 49.5%-48.7%. He asked for a recount, but it showed no significant change, and he conceded on November 19. In her first month in office, Ellmers attracted some attention when she declined an invitation to the White House.

In the House, Ellmers has taken an interest in small business and health care issues. She voted for the controversial overhaul of Medicare proposed by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee targeted Ellmers for that vote, she held district town hall meetings defending her position. Ellmers has insisted that overturning the 2010 health care law would help revive the economy. In the summer of 2011, she charged that the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, established under the health care law, would have the ability to deny surgery to a patient, a charge that the News & Observer newspaper declared to be false.

Ellmers called for a congressional inquiry into federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a health care services organization that also provides abortions. Although she is a foe of same-sex marriage, she opposed a 2012 North Carolina ballot measure banning gay marriage in the state constitution; she said the initiative was too broadly written and should not include civil unions.

She has been an ally of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and is frequently seen at press conferences alongside the Republican leadership. She supported the leadership’s sweeping “cut, cap, and balance” bill that would, among other things, implement a constitutional amendment mandating a balanced budget. But unlike some conservative deficit hawks, Ellmers did eventually support the Boehner-White House budget compromise, voting for less radical spending changes in order to raise the debt limit in August 2011. That month, The New York Times described Ellmers this way: “Her loyalty, relentless cheer, and folksy locution … have combined to make her one of the Republican leadership’s greatest freshman allies, and a rising star in the conference.” In 2012, Ellmers was appointed to a special conference committee to hash out differences over a proposed payroll tax holiday.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4531

(202) 225-5662

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1210
Washington, DC 20515-3302

MAIN OFFICE

(336) 626-3060

(336) 629-7819

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1210
Washington, DC 20515-3302

DISTRICT OFFICE

(910) 230-1910

(910) 230-1940

406 West Broad Street
Dunn, NC 28334-4808

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4531

(202) 225-5662

406 West Broad Street
Dunn, NC 28334-4808

DISTRICT OFFICE

(336) 626-3060

(336) 629-7819

222 Sunset Avenue Suite 101
Asheboro, NC 27203-5668

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-4531

(202) 225-5662

222 Sunset Avenue Suite 101
Asheboro, NC 27203-5668

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-4531

(202) 225-5662

PO Box 99567
Raleigh, NC 27624

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 99567
Raleigh, NC 27624

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Agriculture

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Appropriations

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Budget

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Energy

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Foreign

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Drew McDowell
Scheduler

Govt Ops

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Gun Issues

Al Lytton
Chief of Staff

al.lytton@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Health

Rebecca Alcorn
Legislative Assistant

Adnan Jalil
Senior Policy Adviser

Homeland Security

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Housing

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Immigration

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Intelligence

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Labor

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Military

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Telecommunications

Al Lytton
Chief of Staff

al.lytton@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Adam Wood
Legislative Director

adam.wood@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4531

Transportation

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Women

Mac McKinney
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Renee Ellmers
Votes: 121,336
Percent: 58.85%
Clay Aiken
Votes: 84,826
Percent: 41.15%
2012 GENERAL
Renee Ellmers
Votes: 174,066
Percent: 55.9%
Stephen Wilkins
Votes: 128,973
Percent: 41.42%
2012 PRIMARY
Renee Ellmers
Votes: 37,661
Percent: 55.98%
Richard Speer
Votes: 20,099
Percent: 29.87%
Sonya Holmes
Votes: 6,535
Percent: 9.71%
2010 GENERAL
Renee Ellmers
Votes: 93,876
Percent: 49.47%
Bob Etheridge
Votes: 92,393
Percent: 48.69%
2010 PRIMARY
Renee Ellmers
Votes: 9,171
Percent: 55.11%
Frank Deatrich
Votes: 4,280
Percent: 25.72%
Todd Gailas
Votes: 3,190
Percent: 19.17%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (49%)

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