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Race Ratings: GOP Looks for Major Gains in North Carolina

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Rep. Brad Miller is one of four very vulnerable Democrats under North Carolina’s new Congressional map.

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While Foxx’s northwestern 5th district grows a bit less Republican under the new lines, the Congresswoman should have no trouble cruising to a fifth term.

6th district
Incumbent: Howard Coble (R)
14th term (75 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

The question isn’t whether a Democrat will win this district — one won’t. It’s whether Coble, 80, will retire. His spokesman said Coble would “wait to the end of the year to decide” if he’s going to run again. Potential GOP candidates for the seat, should it open, include Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. and Guilford County GOP Chairman Bill Wright.

7th district
Incumbent: Mike McIntyre (D)
8th term (54 percent)
Rating: Leans Republican

McIntyre got drawn out of this district and into the 8th district, currently represented by Kissell. But the Congressman’s campaign has said he still plans to run for re-election in the 7th.

It will be the toughest political battle of his life. He’s lost a good chunk of his political base under the new lines, and it’s a district that would have gone 58 percent for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

McIntyre is known as a hard campaigner, has the advantages of incumbency and ended June with a comfortable $377,000 on hand. Democrats caution not to rule him out.

Right now, the GOP primary is limited to state Sen. David Rouzer (R) and retired Marine Ilario Pantano, who lost to McIntyre by more than 7 points in 2010. Rouzer is favored to get the nomination because Pantano has struggled with fundraising and only had $20,000 in cash on hand at the end of June.

8th district
Incumbent: Larry Kissell (D)
2nd term (53 percent)
Rating: Likely Republican

The mountain is steep — very, very, very steep — for Kissell to climb his way to a third term. The numbers tell part of the tale: The current 8th district swung 52 percent for Obama in 2008. The new 8th district would have voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), with only 42 percent of voters casting their ballot for Obama.

Kissell had $122,000 in cash on hand at the end of June. He’ll need a lot more money if he’s going to have the war chest necessary to fight to victory. Potential GOP contenders include: state Reps. Justin Burr (no relation to the state’s senior Senator) and Jerry Dockham, businessman Pat Molamphy and financial professional Daniel Barry. Former Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle has already announced his intention for the seat.

9th district
Incumbent: Sue Myrick (R)
9th term (69 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

The reconfigured 9th district has the lowest McCain percentage for any GOP incumbent: He would have taken just 54 percent  of the vote there in 2008. Still, the former Charlotte mayor and third female Member from the Tar Heel State should have no trouble winning her 10th term in the district that includes portions of Iredell, Mecklenburg and Union counties.

10th district
Incumbent: Patrick McHenry (R)
4th term (71 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

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