Carolina Journal News Reports
RALEIGH — A Republican hoping to unseat North Carolina U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler next year is the first candidate of the 2012 election cycle to bet his own financial resources on the promise to serve no more than six years in office.
Dan Eichenbaum, an ophthalmologist from Murphy, has made a binding commitment obligating himself to give $500,000 to charity if he gets too comfortable with life inside the Washington, D.C., beltway. Eichenbaum partnered with the Alliance for Bonded Term Limits, a national nonpartisan group, to sign the pledge.
“To me, it’s a mark of integrity to not just make the promise, but to put your money where your mouth is,” Eichenbaum said. “That’s what the bonded term limits pledge does.”
Eichenbaum is one of six Republican candidates who have announced plans to run for their party’s nomination in the 11th Congressional District. The winner will face Shuler, a Democrat, next year.
An email to Shuler’s spokesperson seeking comment was not returned.
A friendly redistricting plan that makes the 11th district more conservative has buoyed Republican candidates. Map-drawers in the General Assembly removed Asheville — which is dense with Democratic voters — from the district and added several more conservative counties to the east.
Shuler, known for bucking leaders of his own party on key issues, has served three terms in office. During his last re-election outing, Shuler beat Republican Jeff Miller 54 percent to 46 percent.
In a statement, Shuler blasted the redistricting plan as “partisan” and “politically gerrymandered.”
“Rather than win on ideas or accomplishments, it is clear from this map that Republicans in the state legislature know that partisan gerrymandering is the only possible way to victory,” Shuler said. “This map does nothing to move our state or our nation, but rather continues to divide us.”
On why he would be a better choice than Shuler, Eichenbaum said it boiled down to two issues: The new federal health care law and cap and trade.
“[Shuler] only voted against the [health care law] because he was allowed to by Nancy Pelosi,” Eichenbaum said. “When the new Congress convened in January, and he had an opportunity to repeal it, he did not do that.”
Eichenbaum added that cap and trade would deal a “devastating blow” to the economy of the United States and the 11th district.
“We are a rural area,” he said. “We need fuel to power ourselves from here to there.”
David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.