North Carolina's sprawling seventh congressional district includes parts of ten counties and stretches from Wilmington to the outskirts of Raleigh.
SMITHFIELD, NC (WECT) – North Carolina's sprawling seventh congressional district includes parts of ten counties and stretches from Wilmington to the outskirts of Raleigh, but two of the three candidates who want to represent the area live in New Hanover County.
Woody White, chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners, will face former state senator David Rouzer in the May Republican Primary. Jonathan Barfield, also a New Hanover County Commissioner, is the only Democrat who's announced plans to run.
White and Barfield, familiar faces in the Wilmington television market, will have to work in other parts of the congressional district to counter name recognition David Rouzer amassed in his 2012 run against Congressman McIntyre, who defeated the Johnston County resident by fewer than 700 votes.
"They've got to make themselves visible to all the community up here, because as we say, this is David Rouzer's territory and he's well known around here," said Dana Wooten, a Smithfield resident. "I think they've really got to get out into the grassroots, meet people, visit groups, civic organizations, and that sort of thing to get their name out there."
Amy Purdy believes the candidates from the coast need to meet with Johnston County voters face-to-face.
"Some people just vote based on ads, but I like to find out more about that person," said Purdy, who was leaving lunch at Gandolfo's Deli in downtown Smithfield. "There's unfortunately a lot of people who don't even know our own county commissioners, so we're definitely not going to know someone who's that far away."
Jean-Pierre Edery, who owns 231 Market Classic Printing in Smithfield, said he isn't opposed to voting for a candidate from the Wilmington area.
"I don't think it matters where they live," he said. "[If] they live north, south, east or west of North Carolina, as long as they represent us, I don't think it's a big deal."
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