Among the many Member-vs.-Member contests that redistricting will produce this cycle, a race between North Carolina Reps. Brad Miller and David Price stands out as a fascinating contrast in temperaments and personalities.
The two Democrats aren’t definitely facing each other. But during the past several weeks, Miller’s rhetoric has alluded to him taking on Price — the dean of the Democratic delegation — in a primary in the newly drawn 4th district.
Miller and Price said they hope legal proceedings will alter the lines. But if the map remains drawn so that both Members live in the same district, taking on Price might be Miller’s best option, given the district he represents is now virtually unwinnable for a Democrat.
A plugged-in Democratic strategist in the state explained that Price is more of “an old-time statesman and Brad is much more a stir-things-up kind of guy.”
“David really is an icon in Democratic politics in the state,” said Ken Eudy, former state Democratic Party executive director.
Price, who served in the House from 1987 until 1995, was defeated by a former Raleigh police chief by 1,215 votes during the 1994 Republican wave. But he won back his seat in 1996 and has held it ever since.
A former political science professor and onetime chairman of the state Democratic Party, Price has deep ties to the Tar Heel Democratic establishment. He is seen by North Carolina Democrats as a talented retail politician and a team player.
“David is a consensus builder, and that’s obviously from working on Appropriations,” former North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge (D) said.
Miller, on the other hand, is seen as more of a loner and as being less comfortable with the glad-handing aspect of politics.
“Brad, at the heart, he’s probably a shy person, and so for him to get engaged with voters, it takes a lot of work,” said North Carolina Democratic consultant Brad Crone, who doesn’t work on federal races. “Just from watching him work a room, he would much rather stand in one area and have people come to him rather than go and work the room.”
Miller, who helped draw the new Congressional district he won in 2002 during his time as a state legislator, is seen as a good Member, if an unusual one. Democrats in North Carolina said they expected that the delegation wouldn’t openly back either candidate if a primary occurs but that Price would receive quiet support from the other Democratic Members.