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Editorial: Budd’s U.S. Senate candidacy raises other political questions

The announcement by Rowan County’s congressman, Rep. Ted Budd, that he’s running for U.S. Senate will have some effects on local politics besides the county’s congressman potentially becoming a U.S. senator.

First, many local politicians will start weighing whether to run for Congress themselves. The 2016 race offered a glimpse of folks who might be interested.

Because of redistricting, there was no incumbent who lives in the district. So, when the incumbent decided to run elsewhere, it was open season in the 13th Congressional District. Five Democrats and 17 Republicans ran for the office, including locals like Kathy Feather of Granite Quarry, Jason Walser of Salisbury, state Rep. Harry Warren and former state Sen. Andrew Brock, who represented parts of Rowan County. Also on the list were Davie County Republicans Dan Barrett and Rep. Julia Howard. For the record, Walser won Rowan County in that race.

Would any of them run for an open congressional seat again? How about people in Rowan County who might have previously run for other higher offices or considered the idea? There is no shortage of possibilities.

Budd, of course, must follow through and formally file as a candidate when filing opens later this year. He can’t run for the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate the same year. If he’s fallen too far behind other candidates and wants a better shot at ensuring he stays in Congress, he could change course and file for re-election to the U.S. House.

Another factor in the county’s congressional representation is the U.S. Census’ announcement Monday that North Carolina grew by about 1 million people in the previous 10 years and will receive a 14th congressional seat. With Budd seeking another office, state legislators can split up the 13th District without affecting an incumbent and, in a GOP-controlled legislature, a fellow Republican. They’ll need to fit in a new congressional district somewhere.

Legislators could return Rowan County to Rep. Richard Hudson’s 8th Congressional District, which would likely put a halt to any locals’ plans to seek higher office. Hudson lives in Concord, has represented the area previously and would be tough to unseat. It wouldn’t be hard to put Cabarrus and Rowan counties in a congressional district again.

Rowan County also could be placed in an altered version of the 13th, the new 14th or another district entirely.

While the U.S. Senate primary will have significant effects on local politics because of former Gov. Pat McCrory’s ties to Salisbury and Catawba College and Budd’s newly declared candidacy, it will create other scenarios worth watching, too.

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