Still burning over Rep. Larry Kissell's health care vote, some Democrats in North Carolina's 8th Congressional District are courting a Charlotte attorney to mount a primary challenge.
The courtee is Chris Kouri, a former Ivy League football player who ran for the seat in 2002, upsetting a better known Democrat in the primary before losing to Republican Robin Hayes.
“I think it’s a legitimate groundswell," said Mecklenburg County Democratic chairman Joel Ford. "Chris Kouri is entertaining it. And I believe that if Chris gets enough grassroots support he’ll run.”
Kouri, general counsel and director of community relations for Lowes Motor Speedway, declined comment. But even the effort to unseat Kissell, a first-term Democrat in what was for long a Republican-held district, underscores the lingering passion over health care.
Kissell, of Montgomery County, was one of 39 Democrats who voted against the health care bill that passed the House by five votes last month. He was one of just eight from a district carried by President Obama last year.
A Kissell spokeswoman declined to talk about a possible challenge. "The Congressman is doing the people's business and is focused on that," said Haven Kerchner. "He has no comment on politics or his race next year.
Democratic critics of Kissell's vote say they could change their minds if he ultimately votes for any bill that comes back to the House floor. But to see how deep the frustration is Kissell has to look no further than his home county.
"There’s probably a whole lot of people getting in line to run this time." said Ralph Bostic, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. "A lot of people are probably dissatisfied with the way he voted on health care.”
Bostic is unsure whether even he still supports his congressman.
"I don’t know," he said. "I'm between two opinions.”