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Proposed N.C. Congressional Map Sets Up Incumbent Showdown

Much of Holding's current district would move into another. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

North Carolina Republicans are gearing up for a showdown between 13th District Rep. George Holding and 2nd District Rep. Renee Ellmers as a result of a proposed new congressional map the General Assembly approved Friday.

"Nobody's too thrilled about a primary, but that's the democratic way," Carter Wrenn, a consultant working for the Holding campaign, told  The Raleigh News and Observer

Scalia's Death Adds More Uncertainty to North Carolina Elections

Ellmers faces a competitive March 15 primary that may be delayed. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Primary day is less than a month away in North Carolina, home to two of this cycle's more competitive Republican House primaries. A court order to redraw the state's map by Friday had already thrown into question the March 15 primary, but Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's sudden death this weekend is adding extra uncertainty to when the state's congressional elections will take place.  

The General Assembly's joint legislative redistricting committee held public hearings Monday to discuss how to draw a new map, and on Tuesday, the committee agreed that race would not be considered when revising districts. The joint redistricting committee also agreed to maintain the current partisan split: Republicans control 10 congressional seats and Democrats control three. A map proposal isn't expected until Wednesday, on which the full General Assembly would then vote on Thursday and Friday in a special session.  

Redistricting Case Could Delay North Carolina's Primary

Ellmers faces a March 15 primary, but there's now speculation that will be pushed back because of redistricting litigation in North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By moving up all its primaries from May to March 15, North Carolina thought it would be playing a more pivotal role in this year's presidential election. But a recent federal court ruling invalidating two of the state's congressional districts threatens to delay this year's earlier-than-normal primary and upend elections in which early voting is already under way.  

A three-judge panel ruled on Feb. 5 that the GOP-legislature relied too heavily on race in 2011 to draw the 1st and 12th Districts. The court gave the state until Feb. 19 to draw new districts, and on Tuesday, the same court denied a request from the state to stay its decision.  

Club for Growth Goes on Air Ahead Of Ohio, North Carolina Primaries

Ellmers is a top target of the Club for Growth. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The conservative Club for Growth's political action committee will begin running new ads Tuesday aiming to help candidates in the North Carolina and Ohio Republican primaries.  

While an ad in North Carolina  will try to tear down Rep. Renee Ellmers to boost the Club's endorsed candidate, the group's ad in Ohio  will try to build up Warren Davidson in the 15-way race for the seat Rep. John A. Boehner held before he resigned in October, a spokesman for the group said.  The ad buy is the group's first this cycle in both states. The Club will spend $400,000 in each state for cable, broadcast and online spots for two weeks, a Republican with knowledge of the buys told Roll Call.  

Duncan Goes on Air in North Carolina Primary Against Ellmers

Ellmers is getting a challenge in the GOP primary. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Jim Duncan has released his first TV ad in his primary campaign to unseat North Carolina 2nd District Rep. Renee Ellmers. The ad, titled "Chicken," goes on air in the Raleigh and Greensboro markets Wednesday and represents an initial $30,000 buy the campaign is hoping to last "a couple of weeks" and is negotiating to extend beyond that. The buy includes airtime during morning and evening news and afternoon programming, campaign spokesman Sean Moser told Roll Call.  

"Here's the thing about professional politicians; they're chicken," Duncan says in the spot, standing next to a bale of hay on which several chickens are propped. "I never ran for political office before," Duncan says proudly touting his experience as a "businessman, a husband, a father, a conservative, a soldier in the national guard."  

Senate Conservatives Fund Makes First House Endorsements of 2016

SCF has backed one of Ellmers' primary challengers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed its first three House candidates of the cycle on Tuesday.  

The SCF has traditionally backed conservative Senate candidates, but in 2013 the organization started playing in House races with its "House Conservatives Project."  

Presidential Primary Calendar Could Help Congressional Challengers

Facing primary foes the same day as the presidential nominating contest, Alabama's Shelby is spending money on re-election, just to be sure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In more than a dozen states, House and Senate primary elections will happen on the same ballot with the presidential race — timing that could pose a challenge for incumbent candidates in intra-party battles.  

Presidential candidates such as New York City real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are hoping to lure new, anti-establishment voters to the polls, a change that would skew the kinds of voters candidates will face.  “The S.E.C. states,” said Midwest-based Republican consultant James Harris, using the nickname for the group of southern states that share the March 1 primary date, “will have an uptick in their normal turnout because of the presidential primaries.”  

Club for Growth Endorses Renee Ellmers Challenger (Updated)

Ellmers faces at least three primary challengers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:29 p.m. | In its first endorsement of a challenger to an incumbent this cycle, the Club for Growth on Tuesday backed Republican Jim Duncan against Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's safe Republican 2nd District.  

Although Ellmers faces at least three primary challengers, the Club concluded that Duncan, a retired businessman who chairs the Chatham County GOP, has the most viable campaign operation and the best shot at winning.  

Renee Ellmers Says She's Praying for Those Who 'Bear False Witness'

Ellmers denied "completely false allegations" against her Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Besides House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers may have had the roughest week in Washington.

Ellmers on Friday acknowledged rumors and reports of an improper relationship with McCarthy and thanked supporters for the "outpouring of support and prayers" she had received.

Renee Ellmers May Face Primary Challenge

Ellmers is a Republican from North Carolina. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Renee Ellmers, the North Carolina Republican who led the charge to pull the House GOP's 20-week abortion ban bill this week, could have a bruising primary from the conservative wing of her party in 2016.  

Jim Duncan, the chairman of the Chatham County Republican Party, is mulling a bid against Ellmers, according to multiple GOP sources in the Tar Heel State.