Governor Pat McCrory says he didn't have many options for when to hold a special election for the 12th congressional district. Mel Watt resigned from his seat on January 6 after he was sworn in as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. McCrory recently announced the election would follow the general election timeline with the primaries being held on May 6. That would mean the 12th district would go without representation for at least ten months. McCrory spoke to reporters in Concord during the Highway Safety Symposium.
"Frankly the choices that we had were very limited because of state laws and because the resignation was so late in the process," McCrory says. "Our decision, frankly, to say we delayed an election ten months is totally inaccurate. Our decisions were basically do you have a September final election or a November election?"
Some critics of the schedule say McCrory is playing politics since it's a traditionally Democratic seat. McCrory says this move saves money because there was the potential of having to hold up to six elections in almost as many months including primaries and runoffs. So far, there are at least six candidates – all Democrats – who are competing for Watt's seat. The 12th district extends from Charlotte to Greensboro.