Former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes on Tuesday became the second former Republican member of Congress to endorse Rep. Robert Pittenger’s opponent in the GOP primary.
Hayes, a Concord Republican, endorsed George Rouco of Mooresville. Last month Rouco won the endorsement of former GOP Rep. Sue Myrick of Charlotte.
“Several Congressional friends asked me to meet and see what I thought of him as a potential candidate,” Hayes said in a statement. “I was impressed. … I encouraged him, advised him, contributed to him and held a fundraiser for him.”
It’s unusual for lawmakers or former lawmakers to actively work against an incumbent in their own party.
Rouco still plans to run in the 9th District, even though the district has shifted beneath him.
Last week lawmakers approved a new district map that moves Mooresville from the 9th District to the new 13th. The 9th now spreads east from southeast Charlotte to Cumberland County.
Filing for congressional seats reopens March 16.
Pittenger spokesman Paul Shumaker dismissed Hayes’ endorsement.
“Individuals have the right to choose their candidate of choice, but endorsements don’t win elections, and Mr. Rouco still has failed to organize a campaign that is capable of being competitive,” Shumaker said.