Let’s Take A Look At The Race For NC’s 4th District

Let’s Take A Look At The Race For NC’s 4th District

A diehard supporter of President Donald Trump is trying to defeat a long-tenured Congressman in the race for NC’s 4th Congressional District. 

David Price, a Democrat, was first elected to Congress in 1986. He lost his seat in the House of Representatives in 1994, but he got it back two years later in 1996. Price has represented the district since then. Attorney and businessman Robert Thomas is challenging Price for the 4th District seat. 

NC’s 4th District covers all of Durham, Orange and Granville counties, and it also includes northern Wake County, eastern Chatham County and the southern tip of Vance County.

This is the fourth article in North Carolina News Daily’s series on NC political races in the U.S. House of Representatives. We’ve already published the breakdowns for the 1st District, 2nd District and 3rd District for your reading pleasure!

Now, let’s get some background on Price and Thomas:

Incumbent: David Price (D)

david price for nc's 4th district.
Image courtesy of David E. Price.

Years in Congress: 31 (1987-95; 1997 to present)

Committees: Committee on Appropriations; Committee on Budget

Previous political experience: Chairman, North Carolina Democratic Party (1983-84)

Background: Price was a political science and public policy professor at Duke University. He grew up in east Tennessee, and he graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with bachelor’s degrees in history and mathematics. From there, Price continued his education, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in divinity in 1964 and a doctorate in political science in 1969.

Price’s campaign website says he was in Washington, D.C., for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in 1963.

Platform: Price’s official House website lists seven topics: appropriations and budget, campaign reform, education, energy and the environment, foreign policy, gun violence prevention, housing and community development, and military and veterans.

Education has been Price’s “highest priority” while serving in Congress, according to his website.

Price says he fought to avoid teacher layoffs and cuts to education funding as part of the Appropriations Committee. He also supports reforming student loans to eliminate “middlemen” and get better lending terms for students.

Challenger: Robert Thomas (R)

Image courtesy of Robert Thomas.

Background: Thomas’s bio on BallotPedia says he is from Ohio and that he holds bachelor’s and law school degrees from Ohio State University. He has worked as an attorney and a real estate appraiser.

Platform: Thomas’ campaign website mentions three topics: the 2nd Amendment, the Constitution and the wall along the border with Mexico. 

On the 2nd Amendment: Thomas echoes NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s 2012 reasoning about gun ownership. Thomas’ campaign website declares: “The solution for a bad man with a gun is a good man with a gun.”

On the Constitution: Thomas states the “primary principle of any government, regardless of its form, is order.” He says Democrats in Congress are threatening that idea as well as “freedom, equality, fundamental fairness, and respect.”

On the border wall: Thomas calls an open southern border ”perilous,” and he says he wants to help Trump fulfill his promise of a “big beautiful wall with a big beautiful door in it.”

So What Does All This Mean?

Early signs suggest that Price is going to extend his winning streak because of his district’s makeup and his experience. BallotPedia has rated this area as “Solid Democrat,” and that makeup could carry the Price over the Republican Thomas. Think about this picture: one Democrat (Price) has represented this district for 31 of the past 33 years. Only 15 members of the current House have more seniority than him. As far as incumbents go, Price carries a lot of weight.

North Carolina News Daily will cover races from each district during the next few weeks, ahead of the election. Head over to our Law coverage for the big-picture view of what’s happening in The Tarheel State.