Hayes will not challenge Kissell to retake 8th
1:00 pm
Thu August 20, 2009

Hayes will not challenge Kissell to retake 8th District seat

Five-term Congressman Robin Hayes says he will not seek a rematch against Democrat Larry Kissell who ousted him last November. That poses a challenge for a Republican Party eager to regain the seat. WFAE's Julie Rose reports:

The 8th District covers all the way from Charlotte to Fayetteville and few Republicans in its borders have more name recognition or fundraising clout than Robin Hayes. He held the seat for 10 years until losing a hotly-contested race with Larry Kissell.

The National Republican Congressional Committee hoped Hayes would be back for a rematch. Now they're on the hunt for someone new. NRCC spokesman Andy Sere says Hayes has pledged to help find his replacement for the election. And he says the 8th District is central to the party's plan for taking back Congress.

"We need to put 80 congressional districts in play," says Sere. "I would say Larry Kissell is near the top of that list. He's a freshman. We don't think he's established a strong hold on that district and we plan to target him pretty heavily in 2010."

The targeting began the day after Kissell took office with attack ads and near constant stream of emails to voters and the media criticizing Kissell's every move.

Congressman Kissell's office refused to comment on the attacks, but he did issue a statement thanking Robin Hayes for his past service and wishing him well.

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