If the campaign signs enveloping North Carolina’s 13th District don’t stand out, the television political advertisements likely do.
What You Need To Know
Democrat Wiley Nickel and Republican Bo Hines are running to represent N.C.'s 13th District
District 13 is considered the biggest swing district in the state
The race has attracted national attention because there are limited swing districts in the country
Ads have flooded the airwaves in the district.
The district is one of a limited number of swing districts around the country, so both national parties are focusing on it, with control of the U.S. House potentially hinging on the outcome.
It’s also an open seat, after Republican Rep. Ted Budd decided to run for the Senate.
The newly redrawn district includes the southern suburbs of Raleigh as well as parts of Goldsboro.
As for who’s likely to win, it's a true coin toss.
Democrat Wiley Nickel is a two-term state senator, criminal defense attorney and former White House staffer under President Barack Obama.
Spectrum News One Washington Correspondent Reuben Jones spoke with Wiley Nickel in Wake County in early October. The interview has been edited for clarity.
"Costs are so high for people right now,” Nickel said. “We need to focus on bringing down those costs, and we have a plan to do that. We have a 30-point inflation plan.
His opponent is Republican Bo Hines. He's a political newcomer and at 27 would be one of the youngest members of Congress if elected.
Spectrum News One Washington Correspondent Reuben Jones spoke with Bo Hines in Wake County in early October. The interview has been edited for clarity.
"I think I have a lot more energy than the folks up there,” Hines said.
He hasn’t taken the bar exam yet but does have a law degree. He said his last job was working for his father’s manufacturing business. He said the biggest issue this election is inflation.
"With 8.3% inflation, that is the equivalent of one month’s salary for the average American. We’re losing one month’s salary due to inflation and an incompetent Biden administration,” Hines said. “The first thing we have to do is pass a balanced budget amendment."
Because of how much of a swing district the 13th is, both candidates will need to appeal to more moderate voters. But that could pose some challenges as the candidates weren’t exactly known as centrists before the campaign.
Nickel is running as a moderate not afraid to take on both parties, but the conservative group Civitas Action ranks him as one of the most liberal state lawmakers in North Carolina.
Nickel argues the state isn’t spending enough on things like health care and public education while the federal government is spending too much money.
Republicans have also called him soft on crime.
Nickel says he is the moderate choice in the race, and he is opposed to some of the stances of people in the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party.
"I disagree with those on the far left that want to defund the police. I’ve always supported law enforcement,” Nickel said. “We need to be supportive of business, the Democratic Party needs to be the party of business. We have a record of helping small business, helping main street and on the other side, the far left we don’t see enough of that."
On the flip side his opponent has been called a member of the far right.
He beat a crowded field in the Republican primary after getting endorsed by former President Donald Trump, recently called for the FBI to be defunded and said he wouldn’t have voted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Asked whether he will accept the election in November, Hines said, “Absolutely. I think in North Carolina we do a very good job, better than most states, but you know different things can happen every election cycle, and yes, I would say confidently yes right now."
Another big issue in this race is abortion.
Nickel supports codifying Roe v. Wade in Congress.
Hines said he is against access to an abortion with exceptions for life of the mother and on an “individual basis.”
Democrats accuse him of softening his messaging to try to win the general election.
Hines wouldn’t specify whether he supports a general exception for rape or incest, something South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham’s proposed federal 20-week abortion ban includes.
"I’d have to look at the bill to be honest with you. I’d have to see how it’s structured. There are certainly legal mechanisms you could place legislatively that would create an individual basis,” Hines said.
With both Republicans and Democrats each hoping for control of the House, this race will continue to be a big focus of the two parties.