Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Retired US Representative Butterfield endorses Davis as his successor

Raleigh, NC ( Associated Press) — U.S. Representative GK Butterfield on Monday endorsed Don Davis as his successor, giving the current state senator the seal of approval for next month’s Democratic primary for the northeastern North Carolina district.

Butterfield, a former state Supreme Court judge who has held Congress’s First District seat since 2004, announced in November that he would not seek re-election.,

A dozen people, including four Democrats, have filed nominations for the seat. Davis is a former Snow Hill mayor and former Air Force officer who first joined the state Senate in 2009.

“Having served 18 years in Congress, I know what the people of the First District expect from their representative,” Butterfield said in a news release from Davis’ campaign. “Don has legislative experience and is ready to fight for the Democratic agenda of empowering America’s families and communities.”

The May 17 Democratic primary has primarily been a contest between Davis and former Northampton County state Senator Erica Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2020 US Senate Democratic nomination. She also ran for the US Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. The year until the switch to House campaign in November.

Smith has portrayed himself as aligned with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party—in part by highlighting a recent endorsement by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. Davis’ politics has been seen as more liberal, particularly in favor of approving state budgets and other laws. by the Republican-controlled State Senate.

Smith issued a news release on Monday congratulating Davis on the endorsement, but said: “We have elections, not coronations, for a reason.” Smith promoted her other supports, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“Davis is out of touch with the Democratic Party and has a record that should be completely disqualified,” Smith campaign manager Morris Katz said in his release.

In an advertising announcement separate from Davis’ news release, Butterfield cited Davis’s other endorsements and records of his service.

“He believes in getting laws passed to uplift the families and communities that have been left behind,” Butterfield wrote. “He knows when to fight and when to compromise.”

Jason Spriggs and Julian Bishop Sr. are also seeking the Democratic nomination on May 17.

The district covers most of Pitt County. —the most populous county in the district—and all 18 other counties. According to the results of statewide elections in 2016 and 2020, it is considered a Democratic-leaning area. Butterfield said the first district is now essentially a toss-up district. Blacks form the majority of the population in several counties in the district. Butterfield and all Democratic candidates are Black.

The district was redrawn three times, twice because of redistribution of the lawsuit.

Butterfield, who is also a former trial judge, previously presided over the Congressional Black Caucus while on Capitol Hill. He often won his congressional reelection bids by a comfortable margin, although in 2020, he defeated Republican candidate Sandy Smith by less than 9 percentage points. Smith is also running in the GOP primary this year.

Butterfield said the goal is to “produce the strongest Democratic candidate who can defeat the well-funded, right-wing, Trump coalition Republican nominee.”

Butterfield is one of 30 House Democrats not seeking re-election this year, including North Carolina Rep. David Price. Republicans are aiming to retake control of the chamber for the first time since 2018.

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