McIntyre returns to Congress after expensive campaign
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WASHINGTON -- As the new Congress was gaveled into session Thursday, all eyes are on one North Carolina representative.
Seventh District Rep. Mike McIntyre held on to his seat amid newly drawn district lines that favored Republicans, and one of the most expensive congressional campaigns in the country.
For nine-term Congressman Mike McIntyre, getting to the swearing in day for the 113th Congress was a long road.
"It's really exciting, especially when you consider what we went through with a pretty vicious election cycle," he said. "We know in North Carolina there was some pretty severe redistricting and my district in particular was one of the nationally targeted districts."
McIntyre is, by all accounts, a conservative Democrat -- a so-called "Blue Dog Democrat" -- the only one left in the state.
"It's not the first time I have been the only blue dog," he said. "Before my friend Heath Shuler was elected from up in the mountains in North Carolina, I was the only blue dog for several years, and now that Heath decided to retire, I am the only blue dog from North Carolina
"But that's okay by me, because that is the nature of our district and that is the nature of the way you get things done is you find a way to work together," he said.
After the once-in-a-decade redistricting took place, McIntyre was left with a district that looked more red than blue and left out some of his base voters in the city of Wilmington.
"We are having to shift some of our congressional offices to comply with the new district lines, but that gives us the opportunity to expand the territory and work on some issues that are much broader impact over eastern North Carolina," McIntyre said.
The next election is never far away, though, and the conservative stances McIntyre took during the 2012 election cycle will be remembered by his new constituents.
All eyes will be watching as he casts his votes.
"I'm going to vote based on the issue and I don't have some secondary motive that someone gave me a pass on a vote or that somebody told me it's OK to vote one way or the other," he said. "No, Mike McIntyre is going to vote how I feel led to vote and that is affected by how does this impact the people back home."
McIntyre already broke from his Democratic Party ranks this week, casting a "no" vote in the fiscal cliff package when it went before the House and not voting for Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.