Who are the North Carolina Democrats who want David Price’s congressional seat?

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Voters can expect a crowded field in the Democratic primary for U.S. Rep. David Price’s seat, after the longtime congressman announced he’ll retire instead of running again in the 2022 election.

The primary is March 8, and candidates will file for office in December.

State lawmakers haven’t yet drawn districts for the election, but Price’s 4th Congressional District is currently in the Triangle and leans heavily Democratic.

Here’s who’s running, who’s not and who hasn’t decided:

Who’s running for Congress

State Sen. Wiley Nickel, a Cary Democrat:

Nickel, who had been expected to run for a congressional seat in 2022, announced his campaign for district 4 at the same time Price announced he wouldn’t seek reelection.

Nickel lives in Cary, and his current Wake County Senate district also includes Northwest Raleigh. He is a lawyer who previously worked in President Barack Obama’s administration.

Wiley Nickel
Wiley Nickel

As a senator, Nickel has pushed for increased wages for state employees, adding school nurses and overturning the 1959 ban on collective bargaining for public sector employees.

Anticipating a run, Nickel has already raised about $253,000, he told The News & Observer.

“If we’re going to deliver quality education and child care to all, protect reproductive health rights and combat the climate crisis, we’ll need a proven fighter for North Carolina,” he said. Nickel said he’s fought for those issues as a state senator and is “ready to take that fight to Washington, D.C.”

Nickel is in his second term in the state Senate.

Who’s thinking about running for district 4

Former state Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., a Durham Democrat:

He told The N&O on Oct. 18 that he would be “seriously interested in running for the position. The biggest question is what the district will look like.”

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, center, talk with Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., a Democrat, right, in this 2016 file photo. McKissick resigned Jan. 7, 2020 to take an appointment to the N.C. Utilities Commission.
Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, left, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, center, talk with Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., a Democrat, right, in this 2016 file photo. McKissick resigned Jan. 7, 2020 to take an appointment to the N.C. Utilities Commission.

While congressional candidates do not have to live in their districts, McKissick wants to wait on the redistricting process to finish up in the next month. He has been interested in running for Congress for many years, he said, after serving on Durham City Council and in the state Senate. McKissick left the Senate in early 2020 to take an appointment to the N.C. Utilities Commission.

McKissick is also first vice chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party.

Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, a Democrat:

Allam was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2020, becoming the first Muslim woman elected to office in North Carolina.

Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, middle, Mayor Steve Schewel, right, and City Council member Javiera Caballero, left, listen to speakers during a press conference about Afghan refugee resettlement outside City Hall in Durham, N.C. on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.
Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam, middle, Mayor Steve Schewel, right, and City Council member Javiera Caballero, left, listen to speakers during a press conference about Afghan refugee resettlement outside City Hall in Durham, N.C. on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021.

She told The N&O on Oct. 18 that she is “strongly considering it.”

She said the 4th district needs to continue Price’s legacy with “a bold progressive who fights tooth and nail for our community.”

State Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat:

Woodard said he is “thinking about it seriously.” He is in his fifth term in the state Senate, and previously served on Durham City Council.

State Sen. Natalie Murdock, a Durham Democrat:

Murdock said that Price is such a workhorse and so well respected that no matter who seeks his seat, they will have “huge, huge, huge shoes to fill.”

Democrat Natalie Murdock, Durham County soil and water district supervisor, is also a candidate for the District 20 Senate seat in Durham currently held by Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., also a Democrat.
Democrat Natalie Murdock, Durham County soil and water district supervisor, is also a candidate for the District 20 Senate seat in Durham currently held by Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr., also a Democrat.

She said on Oct. 18 she hasn’t decided if she will run for Price’s seat.

“I think like everyone else we’ll have to wait and see what the maps look like, but I definitely know it will be a very, very crowded field,” she said.

Murdock said right now she is focused on her work as a state senator.

Who’s not running

State Rep. Zack Hawkins, a Durham Democrat:

Hawkins is in his second term in the state House, one of the reasons he said “no.”

“I’m just in round two of the House. I want to do some good work there,” Hawkins told The N&O on Oct. 18. “It’s not even on my radar right now.”

He said that Price has set “a pretty high bar for integrity and public service,” and that a lot of potential candidates are just waiting for redistricting lines to be drawn.

“I think it’s going to be an interesting race,” Hawkins said.

State Rep. Graig Meyer, a Hillsborough Democrat:

Meyer said he is not interested in running for the seat.

“I feel quite confident that there will be a lot of qualified people who would want to run. I think it’s an opportunity for us to elect someone who is a woman or person of color and expand the diversity of who Democrats are as a whole and who represents us in Washington, D.C. It’s also a generational passing of the baton,” Meyer told The N&O on Oct. 18.

A new congressional district

One of the reasons candidates are waiting on maps is that North Carolina is getting a 14th Congressional District because of population growth. The state’s growth is centered in the Wake County and Charlotte areas. If a new district is drawn during redistricting for Wake County, there’s already at least one candidate from the Triangle.

Nathan Click of Morrisville said he is running for the 14th District because he thinks “we need more leadership in the ranks of government, and leaders that represent the average person.”

Click, a Democrat, is a commercial real estate finance broker and runs a consulting practice. An Air Force veteran and a graduate of N.C. A&T State University, he’s working on his doctorate at UNC-Charlotte now.

“Everybody’s kind of in this waiting game,” Click told The N&O on Oct. 18 about redistricting. “Voters and candidates alike are waiting.”

For more North Carolina government and politics news, listen to the Under the Dome politics podcast from The News & Observer and the NC Insider. You can find it at link.chtbl.com/underthedomenc or wherever you get your podcasts.

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