Congressman Mike McIntyre speaks to a small group in Horne Square, announcing the endorsements of Princeton Mayor Donald Rains (right), Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod, Smithfield Mayor Daniel Evans, and Pine Level Mayor Jeff Holt (left).
CLAYTON -- Congressional candidate Mike McIntyre stopped in downtown Clayton Wednesday to receive the endorsement of four Johnston County mayors.
McIntyre, a 16-year U.S. congressman who is running to keep his seat in the newly drawn 7th District, spoke to a small crowd in Horne Square about the bipartisan support he has received from 75 percent of the mayors in his district.
“He has that trait we don’t see enough, the ability to work across the aisle,” said Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod.
Joining McLeod in endorsing McIntyre were Mayor Daniel Evans of Smithfield, Mayor Jeff Holt of Pine Level and Mayor Donald Rains of Princeton.
“They know my record, and my only agenda is how we can make a difference to the people back home,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre is running against David Rouzer, a two-term state senator representing Johnston and Wayne counties.
McIntyre said the main difference between himself and his opponent is that Rouzer is towing the Republican party line, while he isn’t sticking to any one party’s agenda.
“I’ve been blessed to serve under Democratic and Republican presidents, speakers and majorities, and in all those cases, my record has been down the middle,” McIntyre said. “My opponent is clearly following a party agenda.”
McIntyre noted that he also won endorsements from traditionally Republican groups that are pro-family, pro-life, pro-business and anti-taxes. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the NRA, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses have all endorsed McIntyre in his re-election bid.
With 85 of North Carolina’s 100 counties classified as rural, McIntyre said working with local communities on economic development is one of his top priorities. He listed a slew of projects from Wilmington to Fayetteville that he said helped local economies and brought jobs to the area.
McIntyre said he was able to secure funding from the Army Corps of Engineers for beach renourishment in the Wilmington area, a project that helped the tourism industry and brought roughly 10,700 jobs to the coast.
He also stressed that he has helped steer money to farmers’ markets in Elizabethtown and Whiteville and to new town halls in Pembroke and Chadbourn.
At Fort Bragg, McIntyre said, he helped land $3 million to build new training facilities, schools and child-care centers.
“You can see the evidence from one end of the district to the other,” McIntyre said.
McLeod said he was confident in McIntyre’s focus on local communities. “We know Mike will continue to bring our tax dollars back to our district,” he said.
McIntyre also distanced himself from his opponent on education, stressing that Rouzer was a member of the General Assembly that allowed North Carolina schools to drop to 45th in the nation in per-pupil spending.
Princeton Mayor Donald Rains agreed that Rouzer hasn’t helped the state’s schools. “Rouzer’s record is a record of not supporting our district, not supporting our schools and not supporting our municipalities,” Rains said.