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In the 9th, Robert Pittenger

In the 9th District Republican primary, freshman incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger faces a challenge from an old foe, Mike Steinberg, who is backed by many tea party conservatives. Steinberg was one of the 10 candidates, including Pittenger, who sought the seat in 2012.

We haven’t agreed with much that Pittenger has done in his first term in the seat Sue Myrick held for years. But we give him points for something Steinberg labels as traitorous: voting to end last fall’s senseless and costly shutdown of the government.

Remember that shutdown where businesses lost revenue, veterans families’ death benefits were stalled, national parks and monuments closed ruining family vacations and needy mothers were told there were no vouchers for milk for their babies?

Pittenger was one of 87 Republicans voting with House GOP leaders and most Democrats to end that debacle, a move that meant continued funding for the Affordable Care Act. Steinberg and others have twisted that vote into something it is not – a vote for Obamacare.

Pittenger is without doubt a true conservative. Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, gave him a score of 87 percent. That tied him for the second most conservative member of North Carolina’s delegation, trailing only GOP Rep. George Holding. And for those looking for Pittenger’s extreme right bonafides, they have only to remember a recent fund-raising letter he wrote where he dubbed President Barack Obama as “Enemy Number One” of the United States because of the Affordable Care Act.

So Steinberg and Pittenger are pretty much in sync on abhorrence of Obamacare, as they are on most other issues. Voting to end shutting down the government and senselessly causing more financial harm gives Pittenger the edge in this race.

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