Tags: Heath Shuler

Heath Shuler to Retire from Congress


Permit me a boastful “Always trust Campaign Spot!” brag or two, with the news that North Carolina Democratic congressman Heath Shuler will retire from Congress.

Around 10:00 this morning, I predicted this, based upon his minuscule fundraising last quarter.

I suppose this is my last chance to spotlight this fake ad from frustrated Redskins fans who didn’t want Heath Shuler anywhere near Washington again:

Tags: Heath Shuler

What Happens When an Incumbent Stops Fundraising?


Spot the pattern.

February 1, 2011:

Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, who still hasn’t made his reelection plans known, raised just over $12,000 during the final quarter of 2010.

February 9, 2011:

Virginia Senator Jim Webb plans to announce today that he won’t seek reelection.

April 18, 2011:

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl didn’t feel like doing any fundraising last quarter . . . You figure he would have received at least one donation by accident.

May 13, 2011:

Multiple media sources are reporting that Sen. Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, is announcing his retirement today.


Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C., got a much tougher district courtesy of redistricting, and his most recent FEC report shows he got contributions in the fourth quarter from just two individual North Carolinians.

Yesterday Shuler denied that he would run for governor of North Carolina in 2012. And obviously, it’s not certain that Shuler will retire. But when an officeholder who will face a tough reelection bid suddenly loses interest in fundraising, well . . . it seems to be a leading indicator.

Tags: Heath Shuler

A Pair of North Carolina Republicans to Keep an Eye On...


A pair of Republicans have announced House bids in North Carolina in recent days.

In the 8th Congressional District, former Iredell County Commissioner J. Scott Keadle annouced a bid aiming to unseat two-term Democrat Larry Kissell. Some say the rigors of the campaign trail can be worse than a root canal, but Keadle can probably take it, as his non-political career is in dentistry.

And in the 11th District, where three-term Democrat Heath Shuler is a perennial target of the GOP and who may be hurt by redistricting, local regional District Attorney Jeff Hunt is throwing his hat in the ring. He’s been elected and reelected to that position five times.

Tags: Heath Shuler , J. Scott Keadle , Jeff Hunt , Larry Kissell

Rep. Heath Shuler Scrambling Out of the Pocket for a New Job?


As far as Democrats go, Heath Shuler gives conservatives some reasons for cheer: he’s pro-life, pro-gun, and stopped voting for Nancy Pelosi to be Speaker. But he represents a deeply conservative section of western North Carolina, and his lifetime ACU rating is only 28.5.

In an R+6 district (and because of geography, the district can only change so much when the lines are redrawn), it would be low-hanging fruit for a conservative Republican candidate in an open seat race.

That seat might just open up, as Shuler is reportedly interested in a high-profile, non-political job, according to a Knoxville, Tennessee sports radio host Tony Basilio:

Yes, Shuler is in play. Yes he did call Phillip Fulmer and Johnny Majors to get their thoughts on this potential opportunity but he hasn’t been offered the job. In fact, Tennessee hasn’t ‘offered’ the job to anybody as of yet. I was told last night that UT is being ‘as deliberate as possible’ in this search for the next AD. In fact my source stressed to me that ‘we promised we were going to take our time and find the right person and that’s just what we’re going to do here.’ OK. Hard to argue with that…

But, the memo here is don’t count out Shuler. He’s on the radar screen and anything can happen. I wouldn’t rule out anyone but Fulmer at this point. Lang Wiseman could still get that job before it’s over.

For those not familiar with Shuler’s ties to the University of Tennessee, Basilio runs down his resume: “Former Vol All American QB. Loved equally by Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer. Left UT as perhaps the most popular player in school history to that point. A household name in both college and professional football. An almost Heisman Trophy winner (finished 2nd) during his time on The Hill.”

I suspect the NRCC will be offering opposition research on the other possible UT athletic director candidates…

Tags: Heath Shuler

Heath Shuler, Likely Challenged from Left and Right in 2012


It’s not clear that this will end up having much of an impact on Election Day 2012, but Carolina Politics Online notes that Asheville councilman Cecil Bothwell will be running as a progressive independent against Heath Shuler, a Democrat, in North Carolina’s 11th congressional district this cycle.

As currently drawn, Shuler’s district in the western end of the state is pretty conservative, and he managed to win pretty easily last cycle (54 percent to 46 percent), even as many Blue Dogs went down to defeat. While it’s not unthinkable that Shuler’s district lines could change, it only borders one district, the 10th, which is represented by Republican Patrick McHenry. Making Shuler’s district less Democratic would require moving GOP-leaning communities into McHenry’s district, a scenario that is likely to displease the incumbent Republican.

Tags: Heath Shuler

NRCC Debuts Ads Hitting Health Shuler in N.C., Nick Rahall in W.V.


The National Republican Congressional Committee is already running ads. This one is running in North Carolina, hitting Heath Shuler for claiming to be a fiscal conservative but voting against the House GOP’s proposal to cut $61 billion from this year’s budget:

This one hits Rep. Nick Rahall of West Virginia for expressing support for higher gas taxes and supporting Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling:

Tags: Heath Shuler , Nick Rahall

Let’s Help Jeff Miller Sack Heath Shuler


The Democrats continue to advance in the other direction by reserving ad time for Rep. Heath Shuler, two-term Democrat of North Carolina.

Let’s make today’s candidate to help out the man who seeks to sack Heath Shuler, Jeff Miller.

Jeff Miller ran the family business, a laundry, for decades. He also apparently has a heart the size of this district. From his bio:

As a downtown businessman and lifelong resident, Jeff soon got involved in civic service, though not in a high-profile way. When a city police officer was shot, he led a campaign to raise money for bullet-proof vests. When the need arose for a place for teenagers, he helped start a youth club. He served on the Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants Association.

“I think he’s probably given more time, money and energy than anybody in the community,” says Tom Apodaca, a state senator from Hendersonville and close friend.

A few weeks after the death of his mother, in January 2006, Jeff was sorting through his parents’ records and stumbled on a shared passion.

“I found out they were charter members of the World War II Memorial, and I didn’t know that. I was a charter member of the World War II Memorial, and I just thought it was unfortunate that they didn’t get to see it,” Jeff says.

“Dad served in the Navy in World War II. Mom lost her brother in World War II; he was a B-24 pilot, Harold B. Drake. I thought it would be really neat to honor them somehow, and I decided I’ll just try to take every World War II veteran in Henderson County that hadn’t seen it to the World War II Memorial.

“I pulled together two or three or my friends, and they agreed with me.”

Whether the veterans could afford to go didn’t matter. HonorAir would pay their way. Whether they could get around well on their own didn’t matter. Volunteer guardians would escort them. Everything would be taken care of.

The Hendersonville-based effort of Miller and his friends — merged with an earlier effort by Earl Morse of Enon, Ohio — grew into a nationwide organization known as the Honor  Flight Network. HonorAir launched its first flights aboard chartered US Airways jets from Asheville Regional Airport the weekend of Sept. 23-24, 2006. Since then, the Honor Flight Network has expanded across America and flown nearly 40,000 veterans to the National World War II Memorial, all for free.

We know Heath Shuler. (Redskins fans yell out, “Not the way we do!”) He’s not the worst Democrat in Congress, but he represents a deeply conservative Western North Carolina district (R+6, Bush carried it 57–43 in 2004). He’s a classic Rahm Emanuel recruit; pick somebody with no voting record that can be used to identify him as a liberal. In Congress, Shuler has a lifetime ACU rating of 30.6, which would be nice in New Jersey or Massachusetts but is lousy for a rural part of a Southern state.

He voted for cap-and-trade, and of course, voted to make Pelosi the speaker. Twice.

Tags: Heath Shuler , Jeff Miller

Does Heath Shuler Sense Pressure Coming From His Blindside?


One reader in North Carolina hears through the grapevine that the Civitas Institute will release a poll in the near future showing Jeff Miller, Republican challenger, quite close to Rep. Heath Shuler, incumbent Democrat.

UPDATE: Minutes after I post this, the poll pops up in my e-mailbox:

The race for North Carolina’s 11th district Congressional seat is a dead heat (45 percent–44 percent) between Democratic incumbent Heath Shuler and Republican candidate Jeff Miller as the unaffiliated vote looks to become the deciding factor according to a new SurveyUSA poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

According to the poll of 400 registered voters in that district, when asked who they would vote for if the election for United States House of Representatives were today, 45 percent of voters said they would vote for Shuler.  Forty-four percent said they would vote for Miller, and 11 percent said they were undecided.

“Despite Shuler voting against many of the unpopular bills that have been passed by Congress, the unpopularity of President Obama and the Democratic Congress is making this a competitive race,” said Civitas Institute Senior Legislative Analyst Chris Hayes.

Shuler, who is currently serving his second Congressional term, has a -3 favorable rating (29 percent favorable–32 percent unfavorable) even though he holds a significant name advantage over his opponent.  Thirty-six percent of voters said they are neutral on his candidacy.

Conversely, Miller, despite only 32 percent of voters having an opinion of him, has a net +6 favorable rating as 19 percent of voters view him favorably while 13 percent view him unfavorably.  Thirty-six percent said their opinion is neutral.

Among independents — the fastest growing voter segment in North Carolina — just one percent have no opinion of Shuler while his favorable to unfavorable margin is 23 percent-38 percent.  Thirty percent of independent voters said they have no opinion of Miller’s candidacy whereas his favorability margin is 23 percent-8 percent.

“Independent voters have already made up their minds about Shuler — many of whom view him unfavorably,” added Hayes.  “Miller could have the advantage if he picks up the undecided independent vote.”

As I was saying, Miller shouldn’t get too cocky, of course; Heath Shuler has been in high-pressure, make-or-break competitions in Washington before, and the results were always . . . always . . . well, he’s been here before.

Tags: Heath Shuler , Jeff Miller

North Carolina Democrats Mum on Pelosi as Speaker Next Year


This is step one; the next step is for the GOP rivals of these lawmakers to repeat the question until it is answered:

As they seek re-election, North Carolina’s centrist Democrats are quick to claim their independence from the party’s liberal Washington leadership. And yet the state’s three self-styled moderates — Mike McIntyre, D-7th; Larry Kissell, D-8th; and Heath Shuler, D-11th — refuse to say how they plan to cast what may be the most consequential vote of the 112th Congress: the vote for speaker of the House.

Carolina Journal contacted the offices of Shuler, the whip of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, fellow Blue Dog McIntyre, and Kissell, and asked whether they planned to vote to re-elect Speaker Nancy Pelosi if Democrats retained control of the House in November and she was renominated. Phone calls and e-mails were not returned.

It’s a simple question. Because all three voted for Pelosi in the past, voters would be reasonable to assume that a vote for any of these three is a vote for another two years of Pelosi as Speaker.

Tags: Heath Shuler , Larry Kissell , Nancy Pelosi

Barbour, Thune, Shuler, and Boren Meet the NRA


Haley Barbour, governor of Mississippi, achieved a rare balance in his address at the NRA convention today. His speech concentrated on telling the crowd to stay focused on 2010 while he sounded very much like a 2012 candidate.

While he included the almost-standard hunting stories, he veered pretty far into economic topics of taxes and spending, and delivered lines that would be catnip at any Tea Party rally: “The Constitution set up a government that is a limited government . . . It’s not just anything that you can get a majority to vote for.”

When Barbour referred to being chairman of the RNC during the victories in 1994, a member of the audience yelled out, “Let’s do it again!,” triggering a round of applause. Barbour noted that “the political environment for conservatives and Republicans in spring of 2010 is better than it was in 1994. That’s just a fact . . . We can’t wait for 2012 to start taking our country back.” Barbour quoted FedEx CEO Fred Smith that ”the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing,” and explained that for gun owners and conservatives, the 2010 elections ought to be the main thing. “The most powerful weapon in American politics is when you say to someone who respects you, ‘I’m voting for this candidate.’ It’s more powerful than any TV ad or anything that comes in the mail.”

He was followed by a guy who looks the part of a presidential candidate, South Dakota senator John Thune. His speech was less rah-rah; he noted recent successes in the Senate for gun owners on the District of Columbia, national parks, and Amtrak trains, and addressed the seeming contradiction: “How can we have this success when we have the most liberal President in history and the most liberal Congress in history? The answer is people like you.” He, too, made a pitch for November being a choice between “more government and less freedom” and “more freedom and less government.”

Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, avoided much reference to his party, beyond “whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, one of the most important things we can do is protect our Second Amendment rights.” Instead, he turned the folksiness up to 11, talked about how his first piece of advice as a candidate was his father telling him to always stand for hunters, and said he was departing early to make his son’s ninth birthday.

Former Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell wowed the crowd moments ago: “The phrase ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’ is the way the Founders could say, ‘Any knucklehead should be able to understand this.’”

The second in-person Democrat to address the audience, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, was introduced by the NRA’s Chris Cox as the right kind of Democrat: “As a Democrat, he’s an important ally reaching out on his side of the aisle. He’s not afraid to stand up to Nancy Pelosi. He said no to cap and trade, no to health care, and hell no to gun control.”

Of course, his first vote every two years is to make Nancy Pelosi the Speaker of the House.

UPDATE: I mentioned earlier today that the NRA was still reviewing the Florida Senate race. Take a look at what just arrived in my e-mailbox:

As he looks forward to attending the Southern Classic Gun And Knife Show in Orlando on Saturday, U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio today announced his campaign’s 2nd Amendment Coalition.  Comprised of Florida’s most respected and ardent defenders of the Second Amendment, this committee will serve to advise Rubio and educate Floridians about his strong record of protecting this constitutional right. 

“The Second Amendment is a cornerstone of our democracy, and its protection is essential for the safety of our citizens,” said Rubio.  “I am honored to have the support of Florida’s most respected proponents and defenders of the Second Amendment, whose counsel I trust on this important issue.  I look forward to working with them to ensure all Floridians know where I stand on protecting the right to bear arms that our Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution.”

“Marco Rubio is a friend of all who believe the Second Amendment guarantees our citizens the constitutional right to bear arms,” said Bill Bunting the coalition’s chairman. “Marco Rubio has a strong Second Amendment record, one that should give Floridians complete assurance that he will continue to stand up for this constitutional right in the U.S. Senate.  We are proud to stand with him and will work tirelessly to ensure his strong Second Amendment record is clear to all Floridians.”

Members Of The Marco Rubio For U.S. Senate 2nd Amendment Coalition Charlie Amaral (Pasco), Chairman, Friends of the NRA, West Pasco County Dennis Baxley (Marion), Former Speaker Pro Tempore of the Florida House, NRA Defender of Freedom Award Winner, Author of the “Castle Doctrine” legislation Victor Bean (Okaloosa), Southern Classic Gun and Knife Shows Charlie Berrane (Miami), Charlie’s Armory Bill Bunting (Pasco County), Certified NRA Instructor for Concealed Weapons Permits John DiGaetano (Pasco), President, 2nd Amendment Club of AmericaBruce Dow (Dade City), Dow’s Arm RoomTed Everett (Washington) Hard Labor Creek PlantationFitzhugh K. Powell Sr. (NE Florida), Chairman, Scottish Rite Masonic Fraternity, State of Florida; Chairman, Public Education and Citizenship of the state of Florida Mike Jones (Pasco), Patron Member of the NRA, Past Chairman and Co- Chair of the Friends of NRA Senator Steve Oelrich (North Central Florida) Frank Reinstine, Jr. (Jacksonville), President, Jacksonville Skeet and Trap Club Ron Shultz (Lakeland), Member, Lakeland Rifle and Pistol Club Laurie Townsend (Palm Beach), President, Sun Coast Gun Shows Representative Charles Van Zant (Keystone Heights)In addition, over 500 grassroots 2nd amendment supporters are standing with Marco Rubio on Facebook, a group administered by Brent Shryock of Jacksonville.

Tags: Dan Boren , Haley Barbour , Heath Shuler , John Thune , Ken Blackwell

Looking Hard at Those North Carolina Democrats . . .


The three North Carolinians on my list of 99 – Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, and Heath Shuler — are among the tougher calls; they’re all Democrats who have proven they can win in GOP-leaning districts in good Democratic years. Among their GOP challengers, only Ilario Pantano (running against McIntyre) stands out so far.

But there’s the possibility of a left-leaning third-party bid. Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen looks at Tuesday’s primary results and concludes:

Kissell received 63% and Shuler only 62% against candidates who did not have the resources to mount really serious campaigns.

The poor performances by Kissell and Shuler and where they did poorly – the most liberal parts of their districts – are a clear indication that there is significant unhappiness with them on the left. The question now is how that unhappiness will manifest itself this fall.

There are three things I can see happening with that group of voters in November:

1) They could just leave the House race part of their ballot blank when they go to vote.

2) They could support candidates of the SEIU backed ‘North Carolina First’ party, which will presumably provide voters a choice to the left of Kissell and Shuler.

3) They may have gotten the protest vote out of their systems in the primary and could still vote for Kissell and Shuler in the general election when the consequences of not doing so could result in the election of a conservative Republican to Congress.

It’s way too early to know how any of this will play itself out.

While I think Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina Republican, is likely to win his reelection bid, he doesn’t seem like the type to have serious coattails for GOP candidates down-ticket.

Tags: Heath Shuler , Ilario Pantano , Larry Kissell , Mike McIntyre

Better a Burr in the Saddle Than Under It


Tomorrow is primary day in North Carolina, and as in Ohio, most of the drama is on the Democratic side. GOP senator Richard Burr represents a weird case of an incumbent with genuinely “meh” approval ratings who looks pretty safe in head-to-head matchups; with Democratic opportunities to knock off Republican senators few and far between, the DSCC is clearly hoping they can jump-start some momentum in this state.

In the Democratic Senate primary, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall leads the polls over former state senator Cal Cunningham and attorney Ken Lewis. But if no candidate win 40 percent of the vote – a serious possibility if the polls are right – there will be a runoff June 22.

There are crowded GOP primaries against Democratic Reps. Larry Kissell and Heath Shuler. With no standout GOP opponents, the reelection prospects of the pair will depend largely on voter mood heading into November.

Tags: Cal Cunningham , Elaine Marshall , Heath Shuler , Ken Lewis , Larry Kissell , Richard Burr

Independents Prove to Be North Carolina Democrats’ Achilles’ Tarheel


I wonder if North Carolina House Democrats like Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler, and Mike McIntyre have seen this bit from Public Policy Polling:

This month we found [independents] planning to vote GOP by a 47-18 margin for the legislature and by a 46-19 margin in their Congressional races. You don’t have to go too far to find an explanation for why they’re leaning so heavily toward the Republicans. 63% of them disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing to just 33% approving and Bev Perdue’s numbers with are even worse as 56% give her poor marks to just 23% who think she’s doing a good job. When you have the two most important Democratic officials getting those kinds of reviews from independents, it doesn’t do much to help the cause of their party’s other candidates.

PPP notes that these Democrats have to change the subject from health care. But wait, I thought the American people would learn to love the health care bill after it passed…

Tags: Heath Shuler , Larry Kissell , Mike McIntyre , North Carolina

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review