Five challengers running for Rep. Rouzer’s NC7 seat in Congress
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Five challengers have filed to run in the 2022 primary elections for North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. David Rouzer. Four of the challengers face each other in the democratic primary, while one candidate has filed to run against Rep. Rouzer in the republican primary.
Here is a look at the candidates whose names will be on the primary ballots:
Charles Evans is a democratic candidate from Fayetteville. He is currently serving his third term as a member of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, and he served two terms as a member of Fayetteville City Council prior to his county commissioner terms.
Evans is a Fayetteville native, and a disabled military veteran. He says he has been active in his community for many years, as evidenced by his time on city council and county commission. Running for Congress will take his public service to the next level.
“I decided to run because I, and others, are sick and tired of people telling you that they’re going to do something and don’t do it,” Evans said when asked why he entered the Seventh District race. “It’s time for someone that’s going to really pay attention to what the citizenry wants, to make sure that they receive every dollar in their community they’re supposed to get, and advocate and work hard for all citizens, not just a select few.”
Charles Graham is a democratic candidate from Lumberton. He is currently serving his sixth term as state representative in District 47, which covers the central portion of Robeson County.
Graham spent 30 years teaching special needs children before becoming the owner of a home healthcare company. He said those career experiences, along with the time he has spent as an elected representative in the General Assembly, makes him a good candidate to serve in Congress.
“I believe that I am credentialed, and one of the most qualified candidates, not just in North Carolina but I would say, in this country,” Graham said. “I have prepared myself in a lot of ways. I’m a retired educator. I worked in the classroom. I’ve been an education administrator. I’m a business owner, I run my business every day in addition to my service to the citizens.”
Yushonda Midgette is a democratic candidate from Wilmington. She teaches middle school, is an author and a minister at Mount Zion AME Church in the city. While this is her first time running as a political candidate, Midgette says she has worked on several campaigns for friends and associates, dating back to when former Congressman Charlie Rose held the District 7 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Midgette said as she has campaigned in the district since announcing her candidacy, the biggest concern she has heard from residents is about the right to vote.
“As a minority, and female, just hearing it from those of minority groups, whether it will be your Indian, or whether it may be your Native American or your African Americans, is the fact that they’re saying to me, they feel like, ‘They don’t want us to be a part’,” Midgette said. “It’s like they’re feeling this notion of being back in time where it was a struggle for the rights of voting to take place, and now here we are back again. They’re feeling neglected, not feeling appreciated that their vote matters, actually.”
Steve Miller is a democratic candidate from Wilmington. He worked for the Environmental Protection Agency before starting his own consulting firm. He was later employed by a Fortune 150 company and co-founded two businesses before retiring and moving to coastal North Carolina.
Miller ran for New Hanover County Commissioner in 2020 but came up short in the democratic primary. He said the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, triggered him to run for the Seventh Congressional District seat.
“There was an attempted coup d’etat for the first time in the United States of America at the federal level,” Miller said about the events in Washington, DC on that day. “I got upset. I got angry. I got scared, and I decided the best thing I could do was to run against David Rouzer, who voted to overturn the Electoral College results in two states, and I thought that was sufficient reason for me to run to unseat him.”
Max Southworth-Beckwith of Currie is challenging incumbent Rep. Rouzer in the republican primary election in the Seventh District. He is a former Marine and small business owner, and currently works in the North Carolina Re-Build program.
Beckwith describes himself as a “Conservative Constitutional Libertarian” and is running for elected office for the first time. He believes accountability for members of Congress is the biggest issue of the campaign, and if elected, he would push for stricter standards for elected lawmakers.
“I have a bill on my website, max4congress.net called The Corrupt Politicians and Bureaucratic Accountability Act,” he said. “I would actually implement legislation that would have, for those congressmen and congresswomen and senators who violate their oath, those who are bought and paid for, those who are corrupt, those who are doing things that normal Americans would go to jail for, civil penalties and potential criminal culpability.”
David Rouzer is seeking his fifth term as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The republican from Wilmington served as a state senator in the North Carolina General Assembly before challenging then-incumbent Rep. Mike McIntyre in 2012, falling short by less than 700 votes. Rep. Rouzer won his first-term two years later, taking office in 2015. He serves on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and the Agriculture Committee. He says inflation and the country’s energy crisis are two of the biggest issues of the campaign.
“Just about every problem that we have is largely self-inflicted,” Rep. Rouzer said. “There was no reason to take off-line exploration of oil and gas on federal lands. (Former) President (Donald) Trump did a tremendous job administratively of opening up the natural resources that we have, where we were energy independent. With the stroke of a pen, as soon as he was out of office, all of those policies were reversed, and we’re seeing the detrimental impact of that, both in terms of our leverage overseas from a foreign policy standpoint and also in terms of economics here at home.”
Copyright 2022 WECT. All rights reserved.