Robert Pittenger knows about tough GOP primaries. He had to beat 10 other Republicans on his way to winning the 9th Congressional District seat four years ago.
After cruising to re-election in 2014, the 67-year-old congressman from south Charlotte again finds himself in a battle to win his party’s nomination. This time, he’s facing two challengers in a 9th district that was re-drawn so dramatically by the legislature this year that most of its voters are new to Pittenger.
As a way of introduction, he is pointing to credentials that he says make him better prepared than his opponents to address the economy and national security – the issues he considers most important as he runs for a third term.
“I maybe bring a broader and deeper set of leadership skills,” said Pittenger, citing his business background, his membership on the coveted House Financial Services Committee, and his experience leading congressional task forces on terrorism.
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“I spend a lot of time working with world leaders and members of parliaments, making sure we’re able to intercept the money terrorists need,” he said, “and making sure we have good data, good intelligence to track what they’re doing and stop them before they can accomplish their mission.”
Pittenger is also touting his endorsements.
A sampling: National Right to Life; the National Taxpayers Union; the National Rifle Association; and an assortment of state and national Republican leaders, including former N.C. Gov. Jim Martin; U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Ralph Reed, a former leader of the Christian Coalition.
Hometown: Dallas, Texas.
Education: University of Texas, bachelor’s in political science and pyschology.
Family: Wife Suzanne, four grown children, nine grandchildren.
Politics: U.S. House, 2012-present; N.C. Senate, 2003-08. He ran unsuccessfully for N.C. lieutenant governor in 2008.
Worth knowing: Between Christian mission trips and congressional travel, he’s been to about 50 countries.