TAMPA, Fla. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, part of the House Republican leadership, is looking to North Carolina for one of the biggest GOP congressional hauls in the country.
Price, chairman of the House Policy Committee, thinks Republicans will pick up four seats in the Tar Heel state in November – enough to help keep the House in Republican hands. Although he didn’t name the seats, he was referring to George Holding in the 13th, David Rouzer in the 7th, Richard Hudson in the 8th and Mark Meadows in the 11th – all now held by Democrats.
Price told the North Carolina delegation breakfast that he anticipates North Carolina’s delegation after November will include 10 Republicans and three Democrats. The big change is largely because the state GOP redrew congressional redistricting lines last year.
Democrats need only to pick up 25 seats to win back the House, so the North Carolina pick up is critical.
Like many previous speakers, Price also stressed the importance of North Carolina in the presidential contest
“We don’t get a President Romney without North Carolina,” Price said.
Supporters Pope and Koch party with their people
Two major financial backers of conservative political causes, Art Pope and David Koch, were feted Thursday afternoon at a reception just blocks from the Republican National Convention.
Pope, a Raleigh retail executive, and Koch, a Kansas industrialist, were honored by Americans for Prosperity, an organization they started and in which they both continue to serve as top officers – Pope as chairman and Koch as the foundation’s chairman.
The event drew several hundred people who thanked the two for their support, including three Republican senators: Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Boozman of Arkansas, and Jon Kyle, the Senate Republican whip from Arizona. Representing North Carolina were both leaders of the state legislature, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.
Both Koch and Pope spoke briefly.
Pope told the group what while he is a Republican – he is attending his fourth national convention – he sees Americans for Prosperity as a nonpartisan effort to spur both political parties to adopt pro growth policies. He said 25 percent of AFP members in North Carolina are Democrats and another 25 percent are unaffiliated.
“AFP is about driving home the issues that insures freedom and prosperity and holding officials in both parties accountable on how they stand on those issues,” Pope said.
In an interview, Pope said he contributed the maximum amount to the Republican National Committee and to the campaign of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But he said he would not disclose the scope of his other contributions until after the election, as required by law.
Koch called Pope “a great leader” of AFP, which now counts 2 million members.
Schock insists healthcare law bad for young
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, one of the youngest members of Congress, said young people have the least reason to back President Barack Obama.
Appearing at a North Carolina breakfast at the GOP convention, Schock said “no demographic has been hit harder than the 18 to 30 year olds.”
He said half of the young people who graduated from college in May are unemployed or underemployed.
Schock, the 31-year-old Illinois congressman, said young people will see their health insurance go up under the Affordable Care Act or what the GOP refers to as Obamacare.
“There is no one more screwed by Obamacare than young people,” he said.
Under the law, young people with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied health insurance and those 26 and under can stay on their parents’ insurance – both of which have been heralded by many as successes of the plan. But others have argued that because the law doesn’t let insurance companies exclude some people or raise their rates on the sick, those who are healthy – presumably the young – end up paying higher rates. Schock apparently subscribes to that argument.
Merck hosts breakfast; Pawlenty chews on Obama
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the delegation that Obama does not deserve to be rehired.
With 23 million Americans either unemployed or underemployed, with half of the spring college graduation class out of work, and 40 straight months of unemployment above 40 percent, Pawlenty said it is time for change.
“Barack Obama does not understand what it takes to get the economy moving,” Pawlenty told a bleary-eyed delegation at a breakfast sponsored by Merck, the pharmaceutical company which has a manufacturing facility in Durham.
Pawlenty, a former presidential candidate, also spoke to the Minnesota delegation, which is also headquartered in the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, across the street from Progress Energy field, a baseball park.