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CoastLine: NC 7th Congressional District Candidate Forum

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Two Candidates for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District: (Left) Jonathan Barfield (D-New Hanover County); (Right) Wesley Casteen (L-New Hanover County)

This candidate forum featuring two of three candidates for North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District aired live October 13, 2014.   David Rouzer, the Republican candidate, declined to participate – citing two other public events in October to which the press is invited.  After serious consideration, we decided to move forward in spite of that – as it is not our role to base news coverage on likely outcomes or polls or pundits.  Rather, we consider it a critical part of our mission to facilitate the democratic process.

WWAY Newschannel 3 Anchor Chris Brown joined us to ask questions of the candidates.  

The 7th Congressional District covers:  Johnston County, Sampson County, a large part of Lenoir, fragments of Cumberland, Hoke and Robeson, all of Duplin, Bladen, Columbus, and Brunswick, most of New Hanover County – with the exception of a small corner in the northwest portion, and the coastal edge of Pender County.

Mike McIntyre, a Conservative Democrat from Robeson County, has served the 7th District for 9 consecutive two- year terms.  His announcement in January that he would not run for a 10th term took the public by surprise.

The candidates in alphabetical order:

Jonathan Barfield, a Democrat, owns his own realty firm and is a current New Hanover County Commissioner.  He’s served one full four-year term on the Board and is halfway through his second term. During his time as a Commissioner, he’s served twice as Chairman and twice as Vice Chair.   He’s the current County representative for the Department of Social Services, the Tourism Development Authority, and DSS’s Methamphetamine Task Force.  He has also served on the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence and is Assistant Pastor of New Beginning Christian Church.  He’s married and has four daughters.    

Wesley Casteen is running on the Libertarian ticket.  He’s a lawyer and CPA, and maintains his own practice in Wilmington.  Mr. Casteen is a lifelong resident of North Carolina – graduating from James Kenan High School.  He earned a degree in Accounting from Wake Forest University.   He later graduated from law school at Campbell University and received a post-graduate Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree in Taxation from the University of Alabama.   He’s also authored a series of books, Musings of a Southern Lawyer, and he lectures frequently, including as an adjunct professor at UNC-Wilmington.

Candidates have 90 seconds to answer each question.   We rotate the order in which candidates answer.  There are no Opening Statements in order to allow more time for questions.

In the final segment, each candidate has two minutes to deliver a Closing Statement.    

Early voting begins on October 23rd.   And Election Day is November 4th.