Sue Myrick endorses Rep. Robert Pittenger’s GOP challenger

Former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick.
Former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Former U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick Thursday endorsed the man running against her Republican successor, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger.

Myrick endorsed Republican George Rouco, a lawyer and former CIA agent.

In a statement, she said his record as an intelligence officer was one reason for her endorsement. But she also appeared to take a veiled shot at Pittenger.

The Observer has reported that federal investigators are looking into personal loans and contributions Pittenger made to his 2012 congressional campaign. The FBI and IRS are examining whether Pittenger improperly transferred the money from PLI.

“Across America people are losing faith in our institutions, especially the U.S. Congress,” Myrick said in a statement. “They see their representatives as serving themselves – not the people who elected them. The way to reverse this is to elect leaders with integrity and a desire to serve the people.”

Pittenger strategist Paul Shumaker downplayed the endorsement. He pointed to the list of Pittenger’s own backers.

“Given the extensive list of local and state officials endorsing Congressman Pittenger, no one should be surprised that other candidates would try to tout any endorsement by anyone,” Shumaker said. “Congressman Pittenger has been endorsed by Gov. Jim Martin, Sen. Richard Burr, Congressman Patrick McHenry, NASCAR legend Richard Petty to just name a few.”

Rouco, who’s making his first run for office, called Myrick’s endorsement a “validation.”

“To me it’s just validation that we’re the right candidate for the right district, and our skill set falls in line with what’s needed in this country,” said Rouco, 40.

Rouco said Myrick will serve as an adviser and be featured on the campaign trail.

Myrick, a former Charlotte mayor, represented the 9th District for 18 years before stepping down in 2012.

She endorsed former Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph in that year’s GOP primary. Pittenger defeated Pendergraph in a contentious runoff.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill