House Primaries: Republican Establishment Notches N.C. Win With Rouzer

Business-backed incumbent in Ohio also wins while in another N.C. district, hawkish groups fail to knock off GOP Rep. Walter Jones.

David Rouzer, North Carolina District 7
National Journal
Jack Fitzpatrick
See more stories about...
Jack Fitzpatrick
May 6, 2014, 5:49 p.m.

North Car­o­lina former state Sen. Dav­id Rouzer, a Re­pub­lic­an, won his party’s nom­in­a­tion in the 7th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict Tues­day night, clear­ing the biggest hurdle between him and re­tir­ing Demo­crat­ic Rep. Mike McIntyre’s seat, while GOP Rep. Wal­ter Jones sur­vived a spir­ited primary chal­lenge in an­oth­er dis­trict.

Rouzer won 59 per­cent of the vote to Woody White’s 35 per­cent with half of pre­cincts re­port­ing at the time the As­so­ci­ated Press called the race. While the Re­pub­lic­an es­tab­lish­ment cel­eb­rates vic­tory for its pre­ferred can­did­ate in the state’s U.S. Sen­ate primary, it will also cel­eb­rate a smal­ler vic­tory in this con­ser­vat­ive House seat as well as in an Ohio dis­trict where a busi­ness-backed in­cum­bent, Rep. Dav­id Joyce, also won his nom­in­a­tion.

Rouzer raised and spent more money than White, who entered the race much later, and Rouzer got a sig­ni­fic­ant boost from three es­tab­lish­ment-ori­ented groups—the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, YG Net­work, and Amer­ic­an Ac­tion Net­work — that spent $450,000 al­to­geth­er beat­ing up on White and boost­ing Rouzer in the fi­nal days of the cam­paign.

White had shown some trac­tion in the race and was mes­saging and run­ning TV ads crit­ic­al of House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers, sev­er­al of whom per­son­ally sup­por­ted Rouzer.

Rouzer is now highly likely to be­come a mem­ber of Con­gress. The 7th Dis­trict is Demo­crat­ic-held but con­ser­vat­ive-lean­ing, and McIntyre’s re­tire­ment at the end of the year robs his party of his unique abil­ity to draw con­ser­vat­ive votes.

Mean­while, Jones fended off a primary chal­lenge from former White House aide Taylor Griffin, win­ning the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion again in North Car­o­lina’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. When the As­so­ci­ated Press called the race with 71 per­cent of pre­cincts in, Jones had 53 per­cent of the vote to Griffin’s 44 per­cent.

Jones was seen as a prime tar­get for a primary chal­lenge. He clashed with party lead­er­ship and was re­moved from the House Fin­an­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee in 2012, and Griffin ar­gued that those clashes made Jones less able to look out for his dis­trict. Jones evol­u­tion in­to a ma­jor Ir­aq War crit­ic com­plic­ated his re­la­tion­ship with the hawk­ish side of his party. In 2013, Jones said former Vice Pres­id­ent Dick Cheney would “rot in hell” be­cause of the war.

Griffin, mean­while, fol­lowed a dif­fer­ent path than most primary chal­lengers, run­ning as an es­tab­lish­ment Re­pub­lic­an who would play nice with oth­ers in or­der to de­liv­er for his dis­trict. He touted his cre­den­tials as a Treas­ury De­part­ment of­fi­cial dur­ing the George W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, and de­fen­ded Bush’s re­cord on de­fense.

Jones en­dured a bar­rage of out­side spend­ing. Al­though Amer­ic­ans for Prosper­ity came to his aid with ra­dio ads thank­ing him for op­pos­ing Obama­care, the Emer­gency Com­mit­tee for Is­rael and End­ing Spend­ing Ac­tion Fund, a su­per PAC cre­ated and fin­an­cially backed by TD Amer­it­rade founder Joe Rick­etts, com­bined to spend more than $1 mil­lion to sup­port Griffin.

In Ohio, Joyce fended off tea party-backed state Rep. Matt Lynch in the 14th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, car­ry­ing the GOP primary with 55 per­cent of the vote to 45 per­cent for Lynch when the As­so­ci­ated Press called the race with 80 per­cent of pre­cincts re­port­ing. Joyce, who was first elec­ted in 2012, will face Demo­crat Mi­chael Wager in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Lynch ran to Joyce’s right, cri­ti­ciz­ing him for not be­ing con­ser­vat­ive enough. But the Cham­ber of Com­merce, the Amer­ic­an Hos­pit­al As­so­ci­ation, and De­fend­ing Main Street — the su­per PAC run by the dis­trict’s former rep­res­ent­at­ive, Steven La­Tour­ette — spent hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars on ads back­ing Joyce.

On the Demo­crat­ic side of the aisle, state Rep. Alma Adams won a sev­en-way primary out­right in North Car­o­lina’s 12th Dis­trict, a safe Demo­crat­ic seat. EMILY’s List, the Demo­crat­ic wo­men’s group, dir­ec­ted money to the dis­trict on Adams’s be­half in the race to re­place former Rep. Mel Watt, who is now in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion.

What We're Following See More »
PHOTO OP
Clinton Shows Up on Stage to Close Obama’s Speech
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.

‘DON’T BOO. VOTE.’
Obama: Country Is Stronger Than Eight Years Ago
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."

‘HILLARY CLINTON HAS A PASSION’
Kaine Sticks Mostly to the Autobiography
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.

TRUMP IS A ‘CON’
Bloomberg: Neither Party Has a Monopoly on Good Ideas
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."

TRUMP’S ‘CYNICISM IS UNBOUNDED’
Biden: Obama ‘One of the Finest Presidents’
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."

×