The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday December 5th

Newcomer to Challenge Price for 4th District Seat

Price has represented North Carolina's 4th District since 1988. He was defeated in 1994 but re-elected in 1996.

Nguyen, who works in the restaurant industry, said he is running because he has a different perspective to offer constituents.

He filed to run on the Republican ticket Friday, the last day of the filing period. Nguyen said his decision to file so late was affected by a state legislator from Cary deciding not to run for Congress. He added that he also was anxious about filing. "The fact that I filed so late had a lot to do with nerves," he said.

Nguyen described the prospect of running against Price as an uphill battle. "Congressman Price has a lot of support in this community because he brings checks directly to the organization," he said. "His constituents feel beholden to him."

Despite Price's popularity, Nguyen said he is confident in the strength of his platform. "If I can get my message out, I can be competitive, " he said.

Bridget Lowell, Price's press secretary, said she expects Nguyen's biggest challenge to come from his lack of face and name recognition. "I would say that, for anyone facing an incumbent like Congressman Price, it's a challenge to introduce yourself to residents of the 4th District," she said. "(Price) looks forward to a rigorous campaign."

Bill Cobey, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, said he is not surprised that a political novice decided to run for the 4th Congressional District seat.

Cobey said he does not know how Nguyen will finance his campaign, adding that candidates usually need more than $1 million to run for Congress.

He said the N.C. Republican Party did not push a candidate to run because there were no interested parties. "If we had a candidate who was well-known and had a good chance, we'd have run them," he said. "With the right candidate in the right year, you can win any district."

But Cobey said the upcoming election will be challenging for Republican candidates because of a case challenging the constitutionality of the legislative districts. "The Democrats have gerrymandered this state to the point where the general elections don't mean anything."

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