(Full disclosure: I work with the Romley for Congress campaign. That said, I’m sure Ken Romley is the best candidate to compete with George Holding in November.)
End-of-the-year finance reports are out for Congressional campaigns. In North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, Ken Romley emerged as the candidate best prepared to give Republican incumbent George Holding a run for his money. Romley has $304,000 cash on hand compared to Holding’s $386,000. In contrast, Romley’s chief primary opponent only raised $25,000 over three months despite more than 25 years in politics.
The 2nd District offers Democrats an opportunity. It’s been named by both the DCCC and Swing Left as a potential pick up for Democrats. To win, though, Democrats will need to nominate a candidate who can put together the organization and the resources to compete. Romley appears to be the only candidate doing that.
While the money chase matters, Romley is also the best fit for the district to take on Holding. The 2nd Congressional district is a moderately conservative district made up mainly of the suburbs of Raleigh. Legislators who drew the district cut out most of Raleigh, but, still, half of the voters live in Wake County. Like Ken, 65% of the people who live in NC-02 were born elsewhere. And like Ken, they came for the opportunities the Triangle has to offer.
The 2nd District is one of the most independent in the state. More than 30% of the people are registered unaffiliated while Democrats and Republicans are split evenly, making up 35% each. Winning the independents in that district is key to unseating Holding. They’re looking for outsiders, not establishment candidates from either party. They don’t trust Democrats or Republicans and, while they lean conservative, especially on fiscal issues, most of the suburbanites are skeptical of Donald Trump.
Until Trump’s election, Ken, like much of the district, was less partisan and registered as an independent. He understands how to reach the unaffiliated voters who have lost faith in both parties because he was one. He’s not bogged down by the baggage of party politics that can turn off independent voters and he brings a fresh perspective to both the race and politics in general.
Romley is a businessman who has started four companies and employed hundreds of people. He’s a high-tech entrepreneur who built his businesses finding solutions to problems, something we desperately need in Washington. He knows how to create wealth and jobs and he believes that both need to be spread more widely. He’s already looking for ways to expand the prosperity that defines much of the district to the places that have been left behind.
If Democrats in the 2nd Congressional District want to beat George Holding in November, they need to nominate Ken Romley. He can put together the resources to compete against Holding’s personal wealth and special interest benefactors. He can appeal to the independent voters skeptical of party politics in a way that his primary opponents can’t. And he brings a fresh perspective to politics that’s desperately needed, not just on the campaign but in Congress. Democratic primary voters shouldn’t blow this opportunity.