It’s one of the most Democratic congressional districts in the state, but Sue Googe is fighting to become the first Republican to represent the Fourth District since 1997. The Fourth District was made much more compact in the recent special session redistricting; it no longer extends down to Fayetteville and now consists of Orange County, connected to much of Raleigh by a bridge through Durham County. Its longtime incumbent: Representative David Price, whom Googe is looking to dislodge next month.
Googe, who offers herself as a new kind of Republican, stands for criminal justice reform, tightening border security, term limits, and trade deals that put America first. She also calls herself a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and someone who will fight for our veterans. Googe, who grew up in extreme poverty in Communist China, is seen by her supporters as someone who embodies the American Dream.
But a compelling backstory won’t be enough. Any Republican who hopes to win the support of the Fourth District needs to work very, very hard – to say the least. To that end, the woman whom Donald Trump labeled “high-energy” is going all over the district, picking up supporters in unlikely places. Her working the district might be paying off: in a straw poll put on by the Triangle Community Coalition Political Pig Pickin’ 2016, Googe swamped Price, taking 51% of the vote to his 34.7%. Googe was also seen as the clear winner at the recent congressional forum sponsored by the Cary Chamber of Commerce (Rep. Price refused a televised debate).
In addition, she’s been endorsed by Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson, and the Republican Liberty Caucus. She’s also received the backing of U.S. Congressman George Holding, who has told longtime supporters of his – redrawn into the Fourth District – to vote Googe this year. The Googe campaign is also making strides on social media. As of Friday, Googe had over 11,000 Facebook likes – dwarfing the incumbent Price’s 2,698.
So what are Googe’s chances of prevailing next month? Most pundits would rate the district as “Safe Democratic.” Both President Obama and Senator Kay Hagan won 65% of the vote here in 2012 and 2014, respectively. But it’s clear that Googe is at least providing what Fourth District Republicans haven’t provided in years – an actual campaign, with a spirited candidate. With Election Day less than three weeks away and early voting now under way, we won’t have to wait long for the district’s verdict on this “new kind of Republican.”