Congress

Democrat calls Democratic attack on Republican Holding ‘tasteless and insensitive’

U.S. Rep. George Holding talks with supporters after being declared the winner in the 2nd District primary election on June 7, 2016 at the Hibernian Pub in Raleigh, N.C.
U.S. Rep. George Holding talks with supporters after being declared the winner in the 2nd District primary election on June 7, 2016 at the Hibernian Pub in Raleigh, N.C. rwillett@newsobserver.com

A Democratic candidate running against Republican Rep. George Holding said an attack from a national Democratic group on Holding was “tasteless and insensitive.”

Ken Romley, one of four Democratic candidates competing for the nomination to oppose Holding in 2018, said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee crossed a line with an attack on Holding on Wednesday.

The DCCC helps Democratic candidates across the country and has targeted four North Carolina races in 2018, including Holding’s district which includes parts of Wake and Johnson counties as well as Harnett, Wilson, Franklin and Nash counties.

Holding, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that is writing the GOP tax cut bill, discussed the bill and the proposed elimination of the estate tax with the News & Observer in a story published Tuesday. Holding, whose family has run First Citizens Bank for three generations, referred to the death of his father when talking about the estate tax.

“I sure do wish we had the elimination of the inheritance tax when my father died back when I was 10 years old and he was 54 years old and he was chairman of a bank. A great deal of the wealth that he had accumulated went to the federal government. So I feel like I’m a day late and a dollar short achieving that,” said Holding, whose father died in 1979.

The DCCC sent an email to reporters and posted a press release, highlighting the quote. The email contained the subject line: “He lost his dad, but Rep. Holding wishes he’d gotten more money.”

That didn’t sit well with Romley, the former CEO of Zift Solutions, a marketing software company based in Cary.

“The DCCC is embarrassing itself. Their attack on George Holding today is tasteless and insensitive,” Romley said in a statement issued to the N&O. “We can have civil disagreements over legitimate policy issues but bringing up George’s boyhood tragedy to score cheap political points is what is wrong with Washington today.”

But Sam Searcy, another Democratic candidate in the race, alluded to the quote as he criticized the bill and Holding for hurting middle-class families.

“Middle class families are fighting to make ends meet and banking heir George Holding says he’s ‘thrilled’ to be working on a tax plan that gives himself a massive tax break while raising taxes on many middle class families,” Searcy said in a statement. “Here’s a guy who has inherited millions of dollars and his complaint is that he could have inherited more?”

Linda Coleman, a former state legislator who has lost twice in races for lieutenant governor, filed paperwork to run for Holding’s seat on Oct. 17. Wendy Ella May, a transgender veteran from Johnston County, is also competing for the Democratic nomination.

Brian Murphy: 202.383.6089; Twitter: @MurphinDC

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