North Carolina: Miller Reverses Course, Will Challenge Shuler

Posted January 15, 2010 at 6:24pm

After passing on the race in October, businessman Jeff Miller now plans to seek the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Heath Shuler (D) this fall.

Miller, who founded HonorAir in 2006 to fly World War II veterans to Washington to tour the World War II Memorial and other D.C. sites, was recruited by party officials last fall before he announced he wouldn’t run. He was welcomed back to the race with open arms by the National Republican Congressional Committee on Friday.

“We’re delighted Jeff Miller is joining the race; he’s the kind of honest, selfless public servant that western Carolina sorely lacks in Congress,— NRCC spokesman Andy Sere said.

Miller said he reversed his decision at the urging of his wife, son, very close friends and veterans.

Miller won’t have a clear shot to the nomination. Among those Republicans who have already filed are Hendersonville Mayor Greg Newman, businessman Kenneth West and ophthalmologist Dan Eichenbaum.

While Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried the 11th district by 5 points in last year’s presidential race, Shuler won a second term by beating Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower (R) by 26 points in a race that national Republicans did not target.

Shuler’s campaign said its upcoming report to the Federal Election Commission will show that the incumbent began the year with more than $1.25 million.