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North Carolina Redistricting Sets Up Clash of Democrats

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Although both North Carolina Democrats said they hope legal proceedings will alter the state’s new lines, it looks as if the most viable avenue to re-election for Reps. Brad Miller (above) and David Price lies in running in a newly drawn 4th district.

Asked in an interview who his friends were in Congress, Miller struggled for a moment to come up with an answer. “Congress is a funny place,” he said. “We’re only there for two or three days at a time.”

The first person he cited: David Price.

“David has been a friend and an ally politically for 25 years,” Miller said.

But Democrats in North Carolina say Price has been less than pleased with Miller’s recent comments in the media.

On July 19, when a Congressional redistricting map that drew the Members into the same district was released, Miller, who represents the 13th district, told local television station WRAL, “There is no possibility that David Price and I would run against each other.”

In an interview with Roll Call 10 days later, Miller said a primary with the dean of his delegation was “very unlikely,” but he noted that the newly drawn 4th “would be a district that I would be very pleased to represent.”

Then, in late August, Miller told that the new 4th “is more of a jump ball” between himself and Price, noting that it includes 33 percent of Price’s district and 31 percent of Miller’s.

Price told Roll Call last week that he will definitely run again for his seat.

“I plan to stick with the 4th district through the process and look forward to running in the district and representing the district in whatever form it finally assumes,” he said.

Miller declined to comment further on a potential primary, saying he and Price had “communicated enough through the press already.”

But when asked if he would start spending time in the new portions of the 4th district, Miller said he already had and would continue to do so.

Price declined to engage on Miller’s comments, but his message was crystal clear.

“The 4th district is being changed a good deal, and there are chunks of territory from the 13th district, his district, and from the 2nd district,” Price said. “But the largest single chunk of territory is from the present 4th district, and I’m the incumbent Congressman there.”

Price, 71, noted that three-quarters of the new district are areas he has represented previously.

So what might a primary look like?

“Whenever Brad has run for anything, he has always run spirited grass-roots campaigns,” Eudy said. “I would expect that if there is a primary, it would be a hard-fought primary.”

“But I expect David is better-known and more seasoned than Brad,” he added.

Miller, 58, could campaign on being the more youthful, progressive candidate.

“He’s seen as being genuine and real in a world where everyone else is manufactured,” said one Democratic consultant with knowledge of the state, noting Miller’s often spunky Facebook posts.

“David and I are both seen as fairly progressive,” Miller said. “But because of the issues that I have been most known for, I’m probably seen as more progressive than David.”

Although both Members’ voting records are quite similar, Miller will focus on financial reform and public health issues.

Price, meanwhile, passionately discussed his work as the co-chairman of the House Democracy Partnership and his work on the House Appropriations Committee.

A House Democratic strategist said leadership would be unlikely to get behind Price or Miller.

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