New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield says he plans to run for the Seventh Congressional District seat in 2014. Barfield is a Democrat; this would set up a primary battle with Rep. Mike McIntyre, who won reelection in 2012 by less than 1,600 votes.
Barfield is also black, something that could help him in a primary. But there are still many whites in southeastern North Carolina who identify as Democrats and probably think that Mike McIntyre is doing a fine job. Barfield’s other opening is with liberals who might not like McIntyre’s conservatism, but there are not too many liberals in the district. Downtown Wilmington was excised from the 7th District and put into the 3rd, and is really the only liberal area in that entire region. McIntyre’s main concern would be the effect that a primary would have on his general election chances, which are 50/50.
This is of course assuming that the current districts survive litigation. Oral arguments for the redistricting case ended yesterday.