House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (right) joined Congressional candidate David Rouzer at a fundraiser in Wilmington
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – The leading Republican candidates for North Carolina's 7th District seat traded barbs Monday over the appearance of the second-highest ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, appeared at a pair of fundraisers Monday night for former state Senator David Rouzer, which drew criticism from Wilmington Attorney Woody White.
"I would have suggested to Mr. Cantor ‘thanks but no thanks', and instead of raising campaign cash I would have stood on principle," White said at an afternoon news conference in downtown Wilmington. White said Cantor's vote last week to raise the country's debt ceiling is part of the problem in Washington, DC. "The Republican leadership in Washington joined (President) Obama and caved in, and missed an incredible opportunity to engage the American people in a narrative about our inability to stop our out-of-control spending," White said in front of a group of Cape Fear Community College students who he says will bear the brunt of that spending.
"David Rouzer is a Washington lobbyist and if we think for a minute that we're going to change things by electing a Washington insider we are sorely mistaken," White said. "We have to change the people in Washington if we are going to change Washington, and David Rouzer is part of the problem. He's been there most of his adult life."
Across town at a private residence, Rouzer and Cantor were addressing many of the same reporters, but with a much different message.
"David Rouzer is a priority of mine," Cantor said when asked about campaigning for the former state Senator. "He is a priority of our leadership, because he is a common sense conservative who understands the need for smaller government and to cut back on wasteful spending."
Cantor said he supported Rouzer well before White entered this race, and dating back to the 2012 campaign when Rouzer lost to Rep. Mike McIntyre in the closest House race in the country. "It is uncommon for leadership to get involved in primaries, but I feel that strongly," Cantor said. "This is an independent thinker, this is a common sense conservative. David Rouzer is a winner for Wilmington and the entire 7th District."
"He (White) can talk about Washington insider all he wants," Rouzer added when talking to reporters with Cantor. "He's just envious that I have the experience to get there and do it on day one and he doesn't. When you are 36 points down in the polls, I guess he doesn't have much choice."
After the event in Wilmington, Cantor was scheduled to join Rouzer at another appearance in Wallace.
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