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Sixth Republican Enters Race to Take On Kissell

There appears to be no shortage of Republicans eyeing a seat in Congress in the Tar Heel State.

North Carolina state Rep. Fred Steen (R) told a local newspaper today that he would become the sixth person to enter the GOP primary to take on vulnerable Rep. Larry Kissell (D) in the redrawn 8th district.

“What people have been telling me throughout this region is that we need to have a local voice — a conservative voice,” Steen said, according to the Salisbury Post.

GOP strategists said they think Steen will have trouble finding his own niche in a crowded field. “I don’t see him being a factor in the race,” a North Carolina Republican operative told Roll Call dismissively.

The Republican nominee is likely to be the victor in the race against Kissell, but who that might be remains opaque.

Candidates include former Capitol Hill aide Richard Hudson, neurosurgeon John Whitley, insurance executive Daniel Barry, former Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle and former Winston-Salem City Councilman Vernon Robinson.

Hudson has strong support among Republicans in Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, but opponents will try to paint him as a D.C. insider. There is no early frontrunner in the race.

In redistricting, the North Carolina Legislature dramatically redrew the Congressional map to increase the GOP bent of many Democratic-held districts, including the 8th.

Roll Call rates the 8th district race as likely Republican.

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