By Larry Clark
Not only are Patrick McHenry and Patsy Keever on opposite ends of the political spectrum, they're on opposite ends of the 10th US House District.
McHenry, a three-term congressman from Cherryville, easily won the Republican nomination for another two-year term with more than 70 percent of the vote in Tuesday's primary.
He will face Patsy Keever of Asheville, who took the Democratic nomination by a wide margin.
"It feels great," Keever said of her primary victory. "I really appreciate the support from the people of the 10th District. I am excited that my new constituents have the trust in me to represent them in Washington."
Keever's sliver of Buncombe County was in the old 11th District prior to a Republican-engineered reshuffling of the districts that took effect this year. She lost a congressional race against Charles Taylor in 2004 when she was in the 11th District. Keever, a career teacher, served three terms on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and was appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue to fill an unexpired term in the NC House two years ago.
She is not surprised McHenry steamrolled his primary opposition. "He's the person we expected to win, and he's the person we've been running against," Keever said. "We are political opposites, and I look forward to the race ahead. I'm ready to get started."
The Associated Press announced McHenry won before 9 p.m. Tuesday. In spite of the 10th District's former mountain counties being put into the 5th Congressional District, and the addition of part of Democrat Heath Shuler's stronghold to the west, McHenry had no trouble outdistancing his opponents.
"I am grateful for the support across the district," McHenry said Tuesday night. He said he called Keever to congratulate her on winning, and he's looking forward to the campaign.
He said the votes he received throughout the redrawn 10th District "encourages me to go out a work even harder for the change we need" in Washington.
McHenry said he sees the upcoming campaign as focusing on tax policy, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and helping small businesses create jobs.
The 10th Congressional District consists of all or parts of Catawba, Lincoln, Buncombe, Polk, Rutherford, Gaston and Cleveland counties.
All vote totals are unofficial until the statewide canvass is completed.
ON AMENDMENT ONE
Keever and McHenry took opposing positions on North Carolina's constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
McHenry came out strongly in favor of the amendment.
Keever said Tuesday night she is not surprised the amendment passed, but "I am disappointed."
"It think it is poorly written and not necessary. I don't think most people realized the unintended consequences of the amendment. It's not as simple as it sounds. It's more than stating a definition."
McHenry, on the other hand, was obviously pleased about the outcome. "I am grateful for the strong support (for Amendment One) and happy that North Carolina voters stood up for traditional marriage."
He endorsed the amendment from the beginning and is unabashed in his advocacy.
"I'm glad other folks in North Carolina feel the way I do," he said.