Sabato's Crystal Ball

North Carolina (08) House 2010

 

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Larry Kissell, incumbent

Republican candidate: Harold Johnson, veteran and broadcast journalist

Recent Updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 14, 2010

Democrat Larry Kissell has repeated his tradition of poor fundraising but the DCCC likely does not have the money or patience to bail him out to the degree they did in 2008. In addition, that victory relied heavily on Obama voters who flocked to the polls in this 28% African-American district. That also will not be repeated, likely consigning Kissell to defeat by former sportscaster Harold Johnson. This races goes from Toss-up to Leans Republican.

Background:

Larry Kissell defeated five term Republican incumbent Robin Hayes in the 2008 election for the 8th district of North Carolina. Kissell had made an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Hayes in the 2006 election, eventually losing by a margin of just 329 votes following a recount. In 2008, Kissell returned and defeated Hayes. Kissell was likely assisted by Obama’s victory in the district in 2008. Though George Bush was successful in the 8th district in both 2000 and 2004, winning the district by a margin of 54% in both elections, Obama secured the district in 2008 with 53% of the vote.

Though Kissell has aligned with Democrats in 96% of his votes, he has taken an opposition stance on health care reform. Kissell is likely to vote against any legislation, as he opposes the cuts to Medicare which would be necessary to finance the rest of the bill. Kissell has a reputation as a weak fundraiser, so alienating the Democratic Party might not have been the best idea ahead of an election.

Of the six Republicans competing to win the District’s May 4 Primary, two candidates stand out from the rest: Tim D’Annunzio and Lou Huddleston. D’Annunzio has a clear advantage in fundraising, out-raising even Kissell as of the last quarter of 2009. D’Annunzio has already begun to receive some negative press, however, with members of his own party accusing him of threatening behavior. D’Annunzio denounced the allegations and alleged that local Party leaders had launched “coordinated personal attacks” against him. Huddleston is a 31-year veteran of the US Army and has made job-creation a central issue of his campaign. Huddleston is far behind D’Annunzio in fundraising, but could benefit from his opponent’s bad press.