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LIGHTNING RECOMMENDS: Meadows for Congress

Mark Meadows Mark Meadows

The 11th Congressional District has boasted a proud and colorful history as a swing seat throughout its recent history.

Republican-voting newcomers, loyal pockets of New Deal Democrats and contrary mountaineers made an electoral stew so unpredictable that the NC 11th became one of the nation's most bipartisan. Voters in the 11th turned out the incumbent congressman five out of six elections from 1980 to 1990.
Charles Taylor, a Brevard native, banker and plain-talking lumberman who was one of the largest private landowners in the southern mountains, had locked down the seat for himself and the Republican Party until ethics questions eroded his broad base of support.
When an extraordinarily telegenic and clean-living Democrat took the stage in the form of college football star Heath Shuler in 2006, it was over for Taylor. But for the 2010 tidal wave that gave the Republican Party control of map-drawing machinery, Shuler might have kept the 11th District seat for as long as the comfortable eight-term incumbent he defeated.
Proving that he could read precinct history better than he could NFL pass defenses, Shuler bailed when the new maps came out, and left it to his capable chief of staff, Hayden Rogers, to defend. Too bad for Rogers, it's not his old boss's 11th District.
The Republicans performed a surgical Democratectomy, carving out Asheville's liberal precincts from the district and tossing them into irrelevance in the safe Republican 10th District.
It would take a lame candidate and badly run campaign for the Republican Party to lose the seat. Luckily for the Republican Party, Mark Meadows is not a lame candidate and his campaign has been solid.
We think Meadows is the better choice in the 11th District.
Rogers said at last week's 11th District debate at Western Carolina, without contradiction from Meadows, that both candidates have run civil campaigns, refrained from ugly attack ads and generally behaved during forums and debates.
In the old 11th District, Rogers could have inspired the old mountain families with his local boy makes good story (he left Brasstown for Princeton) and cobbled together a majority. He'll still get some of the natives, and as Meadows remarked, somewhat testily, Rogers wins if people just decide based on who's from here.
They won't, nor should they.
At the Hendersonville Lightning we tend to measure politics based on what a candidate can do for Henderson County. With Asheville gutted from the district, Hendersonville has become the center of the universe in the 11th. No one among the 11 original candidates for the seat has worked harder here, developed more personal ties and gotten to know Henderson County better than Meadows. From our standpoint, that means more than ideology and a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If Romney wins Obamacare is gone no matter how our congressman votes; if Obama wins Meadows would participate in the 56th show-vote in the House to repeal. Big deal.
Meadows has a good grasp of what works in business, and he promises to make job creation his top priority. The Republican primary pushed him further to the right than we would have liked. But in Washington he will be just one of 250 Republicans — yes, we predict GOP gains in the House as well as the Senate — who pretty much spout the same beliefs.
The way Meadows can distinguish himself back home is in working with our county Board of Commissioners, state Sen. Tom Apodaca, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, our state representatives and Gov. Pat McCrory — yes, that's a certainty — to propel Henderson County into an even brighter economic future.
We think Meadows has the skills and the background to help our county and the mountains generally. We recommend voters in the 11th District send him to Washington to give it his best shot.