Identifying and analyzing emerging trends in campaigns and elections.

Is Heath Shuler Returning to Football?

In House on July 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

With the North Carolina redistricting maps set to be released today, and passed during a legislative special session that begins July 13th, rumors are beginning to circulate around Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC-11). Apparently, Mr. Shuler is a potential candidate to become the athletic director back at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee.

The proposed redistricting map is likely to be unfriendly to Shuler. Early indications are that Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC-10) is willing to take a large section of Buncombe County (Asheville), which is the Democratic heart of Shuler’s district. This territory is likely to be replaced by strong Republican precincts that will endanger the incumbent’s re-election prospects even further. Shuler, a former star quarterback at Tennessee who played briefly in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints, could then forego running for a fourth term in the House in order to accept a premier job in the collegiate sports world. Obviously, this would be welcome news for Republicans as they would likely sweep to victory in a new open 11th district.

Speculation is rampant during this time in the political cycle, and the Shuler retirement rumors could prove to have little foundation. It is likely, however, that decision time is coming soon for most of the North Carolina Democratic Representatives as they prepare, for the first time, to face a Republican-drawn congressional map.
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