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Ag chair helping Meadows harvest cash

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and Mills River produce grower Kirby Johnson look at crop damage caused by record rainfall in July 2013. U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and Mills River produce grower Kirby Johnson look at crop damage caused by record rainfall in July 2013.

Although U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows faces little threat from a longshot Democrat, he is taking no chances in his first re-election bid for the 11th Congressional District seat he won in 2012.

 

Meadows is hosting a big agriculture-oriented fundraiser on Monday night headlined by U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican who chairs the House Agriculture Committee. It's the second big name Meadows has brought to the area in less than a month. He kicked off his re-election campaign at the WNC Ag Center with keynoter Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

The $150-a-couple fundraiser at Burntshirt Vineyards offers Platinum ($2,600, the maximum individual donation per election cycle) and Gold ($1,000) sponsorships. Sponsors listed on the invitation are Kenny Barnwell, Mike and Pam Cooper, Jason Davis, Mitch Gaither, Mark Girardin, Kirby Johnson, Tony Nesbitt, the North Carolina Farm Bureau PAC, Burntshirt owners Lemuel and Sandra Oates, Fred Pittillo, state Rep. Nathan Ramsey and Brian Rose.

Redrawn after the 2010 Republican landslide gave GOP cartographers control of reapportionment, the 11th District is safe for the foreseeable future for any Republican who does not get indicted, named in a paternity suit or caught consorting with President Obama.

Favorable numbers haven't stopped Meadows from tending to constituents back home. He's often in the southwestern N.C. district, which stretches from the Tennessee line to Hickory, skirting the persistently blue precincts in Asheville. The freshman from Cashiers has been active in a smaller group of House members from rural districts working on a piece of immigration reform that focuses on farm labor.

For the first six months of this year, Meadows raised $302,511, spent $189,469 and had $127,476 cash on hand. He faces retired Democrat Tom Hill of Zirconia, a retired physicist who also ran for the Democratic nomination for the seat two years ago.