By Jon Evans | WECT News
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT/AP) – Kyle Horton has launched her first political campaign nearly 18 months before the 2018 General Election. She has declared herself a candidate for the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s Seventh Congressional District, running for the seat currently held by second-term Republican Rep. David Rouzer.
“We decided to launch really early both to avoid a primary, and to actually capitalize on all this motivation,” Horton said. “People are extremely concerned about the direction this country is going in right now, so we really felt like we needed to capitalize on the fact that people are volunteering, they’re engaged, they are paying attention to what’s going on in the news, and so we wanted to capitalize on that.”
Horton is a primary care physician living in Kure Beach. She graduated from UNC Wilmington, and started her medical career at Hunter Homes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. She then went to work in Washington, DC, advocating for veterans’ interests on Capitol Hill. Horton said those experiences, and the recent House vote to replace much of the Affordable Care Act with the GOP-backed American Health Care Act, sparked her to become a candidate for the first time.
“I really fought for two years for what I believe in, that Veterans wrote a blank check to this country and then we penny-pinched them,” she said. “When I was working on the Veterans Suicide Prevention bill, it ended up spending only 22 million over five years. Even with that very small pricetag, still a single U.S. Senator blocked it. So I’ve seen the worst of what Washington gridlock and obstruction can look like, what cruel and heartless politics can look like, and when I saw the vote on the AHCA, saw that was the time I really recognized that this is my moment that I need to run and step up as a candidate, that my experience as a physician, my experience caring for veterans, my experience fighting for jobs and our quality of life through my environmental work really make me uniquely qualified.”
Horton has some experience in the district, serving as the First Vice-Chair of the Seventh Congressional District Democratic Party. She says she plans to concentrate her campaign on the issues of the district, and not focus on the controversies surrounding President Donald Trump.
“I don’t want to run a campaign about Donald Trump,” Horton says. ”I really want to make my campaign about the voters in the Seventh Congressional District and what’s important to them. But, that said, he (President Trump) is historically unpopular, and it’s a simple fact that the incumbent congressman has very closely aligned himself with the policies of the Trump Administration. Even in the case where those policies don’t reflect the majority opinion, where they are giving tax cuts to the super rich at the expense of working and middle class families, he is still closely aligned with the Trump Administration.”
Rouzer, who is from Johnston County, has won his two previous general elections by more than 20 percentage points. Horton is the first candidate in either party to announce candidacy for the 2018 election.