Nevermind that U.S. Rep. Mel Watt is still in the 12th District congressional seat he's had since 1993. The race to succeed him is on.
Watt, a Democrat, is President Obama's choice to become director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Though he has yet to be confirmed by the Senate -- and faced some harsh questions at his confirmation hearing last month -- candidates are already lining up for an expected special election.
Charlotte lawyer George Battle III on Wednesday becomes the first candidate to formally announce for Watt's seat. He has events planned in Greensboro and Charlotte.
Other expected candidates include state Sen. Malcolm Graham and Rep. Rodney Moore, both Charlotte Democrats. Several other legislators are also exploring the race.
On Tuesday, Public Policy Polling came out with a new poll on the prospective race. It showed Graham leading several challengers with 31 percent of the vote. Rep. Alma Adams from Greensboro had 22 percent.
Battle had 8 percent.