Statehouse Rep. Patsy Keever confirmed today, Nov. 18, via a message on her Facebook page, that she’s planning to run for Congress in the 10th District if the redistricting maps proposed by the General Assembly become law ahead of the February 2012 filing deadline. Earlier this summer, she had said she would consider a run. If so, she would face Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy in the Democratic primary.
Before being elected to represent Buncombe County in the N.C. Statehouse last year, Keever had previously served three consecutive terms on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners. She ran for Congress unsuccessfully in 2004, losing in the 11th District to incumbent Republican Charles Taylor. She spent her career working as a Buncombe County public school teacher.
Patsy Keever’s Facebook announcement:
Yes, I am still planning to run for Congress in the 10th District against Patrick McHenry if the redistricting maps hold and I am drawn out of my NC House district. Since Terry Bellamy announced, I’ve had so many questions from people who knew I was planning to run that I figured I better let everyone know. Her announcement doesn’t change my plans.
The redistricting plans, proposed by the first first Republican-controlled General Assembly in 140 years, placed Democratic Reps. Susan Fisher and Keever in the same Statehouse district (the 114th, which now includes most of Asheville), potentially pitting them against each other in a primary next year. However, Keever has said that she supports Fisher and wouldn’t challenge her to represent that district.
The plan also shifts almost all of Asheville’s reliably Democratic voters from the 11th District, currently represented by Democrat Heath Shuler, to the conservative 10th, presently the domain of Republican Patrick McHenry. Although McHenry said the redistricting wasn’t his choice at a recent meeting of conservative Asheville business leaders, Politico reported earlier this year that he was North Carolina’s congressional point person on the plans.
The political goal, according to Roger Hartley, director of Western Carolina University’s Master of Public Affairs Program, is to siphon off enough Democrats from Shuler’s district to make him vulnerable while maintaining McHenry’s solid base in the 10th. “These maps are fantastic for Republicans,” he explained. “They’ve drawn the districts in a way that they’re going to have opportunities to get both seats.”
Consistently rated one of the most conservative members of Congress, powerful four-term incumbent McHenry has been the top recipient in the House of contributions from finance and credit companies since his last relelection, with that sector giving him $63,000 so far for the 2012 election cycle, according the the Carolina Public Press.