WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A former Marine once charged with murder in the deaths of two Iraqis is running for Congress in North Carolina.
Ilario Pantano, also a former New Hanover County Sheriff's Deputy, announced Thursday that he's running for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Mike McIntyre.
Five years ago, the 2nd lieutenant entered a military court, facing two counts of premeditated murder. Eventually, Pantano was cleared of killing two Iraqis.
Pantano feels his background will act as a function of his experiences as he runs for Congress.
"Anybody's background in a political race is fair game," said Pantano. "My life has been more dramatic and kinetic than any other candidates."
One of his challengers, Will Breazeale, believes Pantano's past will come into play during the campaign.
"I do think if he were to go up against McIntyre as the Republican nominee, the Democrats would have a field day with that issue," said Breazeale. "That's why I continue to believe I'm the best and strongest candidate who has the best chance of beating McIntyre."
Since his acquittal, Pantano has gone on to write an autobiography called, "Warlord." He has also served as a special deputy for the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.
Pantano believes his military background and experience as a commodity trader for Goldman Sachs will benefit his candidacy.
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