Uncertainty Reigns in Race for Watt’s House Seat

Watt has been nominated for a post in the administration. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Watt has been nominated for a post in the administration. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted October 31, 2013 at 1:39pm

The future of North Carolina’s 12th District remains uncertain after Senate Republicans filibustered Rep. Melvin Watt’s confirmation to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Thursday.

Seven Democrats have announced campaigns for Watt’s seat since President Barack Obama nominated him in April. They assumed Watt would be confirmed and there would be a special election to fill the vacancy in his seat.

However, Watt told CQ Roll Call earlier this month that he could still run for re-election if his confirmation fails in the Senate. He added that the Democrats who have announced bids for his seat told him they would suspend their campaigns if his nomination failed and if he chose to run for re-election.

“Usually I make that decision over the Christmas break before the year in which I file,” said Watt about his re-election in the interview. “And I would do that again this year. I really haven’t addressed that. I’m anticipating a favorable decision by the Senate — or at least hopeful for a favorable decision by the Senate. And if I don’t get a favorable decision, then I will address that in the usual time frame that I do.”

Watt did not immediately return a request for comment for this story.

The seven Democrats currently running for Watt’s seat are:

  • State Rep. Alma Adams, a former member of the Greensboro City Council. EMILY’s List placed Adams “On the List” of candidates who could potentially garner their endorsement.
  • State Sen. Malcolm Graham, a former member of the Charlotte City Council who operatives say has put together a good team for his bid.
  • Former Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board Chairman George Battle III, son of a prominent bishop in North Carolina.
  • State Rep. Beverly Earle, a state legislator from Charlotte, the most populous part of the district.
  • State Rep. Marcus Brandon, an openly gay state legislator from Greensboro. A political organizer, Brandon worked on former Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s 2008 presidential campaign.
  • State Rep. Rodney Moore, a state legislator from Charlotte.
  • Attorney Curtis Osborne, who works at a personal injury firm in Charlotte.
North Carolina’s 12th District is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. President Barack Obama carried the district, which includes parts of Charlotte and Greensboro, with 79 percent in 2012.