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State Reps. Lead List of Possible Kissell Foes

Several challengers are moving toward running against Rep. Larry Kissell (D) in North Carolina’s 8th district, which is slated to become much more Republican under new lines.   

On July 1, the Republican-controlled legislature revealed its draft Congressional redistricting map, which would shift the GOP-leaning 8th district and make it much more comfortably Republican. Under the current lines, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried 47 percent in the 2008 presidential election. McCain would have taken 55 percent under the proposed new lines.

One potential GOP contender to take on Kissell is bail bondsman and state Rep. Justin Burr (R), who represents a state House district that is in the redrawn district. Burr said on Friday he “would take a serious look at” running, but cautioned that any decision would be dependent on the final lines of the district.

“We got to get through redistricting first and see what the final maps look like,” said Burr, who is not related to Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

North Carolina Republicans hope to pass a map into law by the end of the month. Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue cannot veto the new lines.

While Burr contemplates the race, state Rep. Jerry Dockham (R), who described himself as a middle-of-the-road conservative, appears ready to jump in.

“I’m just on the verge of a decision and the decision is probably going to be yes,” he said Friday. “Right now, I’m about 95 percent certain that that’s what I’m going to do.”

Another Republican poised to join the 8th district field is dentist, businessman and former Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle, according to a source familiar with his thinking. Keadle took only 8 percent of the vote against Rep. Patrick McHenry in the GOP primary last year in the 10th district. In 1998, he lost by 14 points to Rep. Mel Watt (D).

Businessman Pat Molamphy may also toss his hat in the ring, depending on how the final lines are drawn.

 Kissell Communications Director Christopher Schuler said there is no doubt his boss will run for a third term next year. “The Congressman is running. He obviously wishes the lines were drawn to better represent the people, instead representing political concerns, but he’s running,” Schuler said.

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