by Bob Geary
Congressman Brad Miller issued a statement this morning in the form of an explanation to supporters: He won't run against Rep. David Price in the new 4th Congressional District. The two Democrats are packed into the 4th as the result of the redistricting plan enacted by the Republican-led General Assembly. Here's Miller's statement; I spoke with him yesterday on background and will add a thought or two to this later this morning:
Because your support has been so important to me, I wanted you to hear from me that I will not seek another term in Congress.
Serving in Congress has been a remarkable opportunity. Thank you.
I knew Republicans in the legislature would dismantle the district that I have represented for the last decade, and they did. The thirteenth district was split six ways. I also knew that they would create one packed Democratic district in the Triangle, so that all the surrounding districts would be Republican, and they did. I knew that both David Price and I would both reside in that district, and we do. And I knew that the district would include the neighborhoods that we have each looked to for our support, and it does.
The new fourth district includes 33 percent of the old fourth and 31 percent of the old thirteenth, the largest piece of my old district.
I told David within a week of the election last year that with Republicans in control of redistricting, we would almost certainly be drawn into the same district. And to be honest, since David has broadly hinted to me and others that he would only serve one more term, I believed that he would retire a term earlier than he intended in the circumstances. That obviously has not happened. David has made it very clear that he intends to run again. I have two choices: run in a primary with David, or not seek another term.
Because David has represented Wake County and I have represented none of Orange or Durham, I would be the underdog in a primary with David. I have begun campaigns in the past as the underdog, and campaigned with great energy, enthusiasm and joy.
There would be no joy in this campaign.
I have spoken to many friends who have supported both David and me in the past. Some would support me and some would support David. But none wanted to see a primary between us.
Although David and I have generally been friends and allies in the past, there are important differences between us. In fact, I think those differences are over what we now understand to be defining issues in American politics. We need debates over those issues in the Democratic Party, including in primaries.
But most of David’s and my mutual supporters shrugged off those differences at the time, if they even knew about them, and quickly forgave whichever one of us with whom they disagreed.
I do not have an agreement with David to step aside now and run in two years when he retires, as has been widely rumored, nor have I tried to strike any deal. The reality is that if I sat out a term and returned to Congress, I would be starting over for most purposes. I would have no assurance of my committee assignments and even if I won assignment to the same committees, I would lose all seniority. Just as important, the debate on the issues that I care about, and on which I am now a leader, would move on. No, I could not simply pick up where I left off.
Also, redistricting in North Carolina has left very few opportunities for talented younger Democrats, of whom there are many in this district. In two years, maybe it should be someone else’s turn.
Finally, voters might not feel bound by a deal between politicians over who gets a congressional seat.
I am proud of the work I’ve done in Congress. What has happened in our economy in the last few years has offended most Americans’ sense of justice, including mine. The financial crisis was not caused by a “perfect storm” of unforeseeable events. The financial crisis was the result of blameworthy conduct, what Franklin Roosevelt called “heedless greed.” The people who were responsible for the crisis, and for the painful recession that followed, have suffered very little. The people who have suffered the most, who have lost their jobs and their homes, were almost entirely blameless.
In the face of the financial crisis, and all that we have learned since then, I have been determined to do all within my power to reform our economy so that we never suffer another financial crisis, and to hold those responsible for the crisis accountable.
There have been some real accomplishments. The predatory mortgage legislation that I first introduced in 2004 was included in the financial reform legislation signed by President Obama in 2010, as was the creation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
I have introduced other legislation that has yet to become law, and will not this year under a Republican Congress, but that has changed the debate on financial reform. I introduced legislation to allow the judicial modification of mortgages in bankruptcy, to break up the biggest banks, to end some of the conflicts of interest by the biggest banks, to make it easier for consumers to change banks, to provide tough legal requirements for how banks “service” mortgages, and on and on. Those issues will not go away and will be the beginning of a reform agenda for the future.
And I remain hopeful that legislation I introduced to compensate the victims of the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, The Janey Ensminger Act, will become law this year.
I will continue those fights for the next eleven months, and I hope beyond.
Again, thank you for the chance to serve our nation in Congress.