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For years, we long-suffering residents of North Carolina's Ninth District have resigned ourselves to being without representation in the United States Congress. After eighteen years of Sue Myrick, who "evolved" during that time from a relatively normal rightwinger into a full-blown whackjob of the Bachmann sort - with, for example, her Muslim Mafia claims - Sue is retiring.

Following an unprecedented GOP takeover of the legislature in 2010, fueled in large part by voter ignorance compounded by massive cash infusions by our very own Koch Brother, Art Pope, we have suffered from an extraordinarily corrupt redistricting process. NC-09, a Republican stronghold prior to redistricting, was made even more Republican by the 2010 legislature.

But we've gotten ourselves one of North Carolina's best congressional candidates ever, Jennifer Roberts!

Jennifer Roberts

With a 42-30 Republican advantage, I never thought I could say with a straight face that we have a chance at capturing this seat, but Jennifer is an extraordinary candidate and all of a sudden things are looking up for NC-09.

The most recent cause for optimism is a September 9 - 11 poll showing the race to be a dead heat, with Roberts at 37%, her Republican opponent at 38%, and undecideds at 22%. Now, granted, this is a Roberts-campaign poll, but its methodology appears sound and in my opinion it is cause for a renewed effort to return this seat to the People of North Carolina!

A word about Jennifer Roberts' opponent: he is a far-rightwing crony-capitalist influence-buyer named Robert Pittenger, whose sleazy insider dealing on land speculation, both in Union County (part of NC-09) and Gaston County (no longer part of NC-09) have netted him millions in questionable profits and promise to net him even more in the future.

In two terms as a state senator, Pittenger approved and then helped set the route of a controversial and unnecessary Gaston County toll road, seeing to it that 2,000 acres of investment land he and his partners had previously purchased would reap the greatest financial benefits from the road. He also wrote a bill which specifically annexed land he owned into the Union County town of Waxhaw, where he received double the allowable housing density and a commensurate doubling of the land's value. In fact, he even voted "Aye" on this bill after having it written it for himself!

While Pittenger likes to brag about his "conservative" record, he really has no significant record of legislative accomplishment, conservative or otherwise, except various bills that enriched him personally.

Pittenger is not only integrity-challenged, he is also exceedingly unlikable, even to many Republicans; in fact, he lost an attempt at Lieutenant Governor in 2008 to a relatively unknown Democrat, in spite of pouring millions of dollars of his own money into the race.

By contrast, Jennifer Roberts is the perfect candidate and the perfect congressman!

She was first elected to an at-large seat on the Mecklenburg County commission in 2004, where she still serves, and served as Chairman from 2006 - 2011. Jennifer was the highest at-large vote-getter in several of her elections, and has appealed to a wide range of citizens.

Jennifer is no "Blue Dog". She is committed to education, to environmental protection, to fighting poverty, to women's issues, to fairness for everybody. But she is no "tax-and-spend" liberal, either, and attempts by her opponent to paint her as such should fall flat with a few minutes of research. As chairman of the county board, Jennifer maintained a zero-tax-rate increase budget for years. In spite of Mecklenburg's rapid growth and huge infrastructure needs, Jennifer had both the desire and the ability to "do a lot with a little" and successfully kept the county vibrant and productive without raising taxes.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the Roberts campaign, and have not consulted with Jennifer or her campaign about this diary. However, I didn't find out about her favorable - and surprising - polling until this morning, and that prompted me to get the word out on the blog that prides itself on "helping elect Democrats". Jennifer Roberts is one of the best Democrats we have running this election cycle, and not only that, she has a very real chance in a district that too many of us were ready to write off.

To my fellow North Carolina kossacks: please spread the word and help elect Jennifer Roberts to the United States Congress! Her opponent already spent $2 million of his own money in a hotly-contested Republican primary, and he has a virtually bottomless stash of ill-gotten loot to use against Jennifer Roberts. She needs both grassroots support and donations!

NC-09 could be another "Red to Blue" district, another step on the path to putting the Speaker's gavel back in Nancy Pelosi's hand where it belongs!

Originally posted to blue in NC on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE.

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