Former North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers announced Wednesday that she will run for Congress next year, attempting a comeback bid in North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District. Ellmers lost a Republican primary in 2016 after sparking the ire of social conservatives.
“For the past 18 months I’ve been on the frontlines fighting COVID,” Ellmers wrote in a tweet featuring a picture of herself wearing scrubs and a stethoscope. “Now I am honored to be officially running for Congress to fight for the good people of NC’s 4th district where I live & work. I will file this Friday.”
For the past 18 months I’ve been on the frontlines fighting COVID. Now I am honored to be officially running for Congress to fight for the good people of NC’s 4th district where I live & work. I will file this Friday. #MakeAmericaGreat #Trump— Renee Ellmers (@RepReneeEllmers) December 8, 2021
Ellmers represented the district from 2011-2017. The state’s redistricting process is the subject of ongoing litigation, but the 4th District boundaries were redrawn to lean Republican. However, Ellmers's path to winning the Republican nomination is not clear.
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Former President Donald Trump reportedly brokered a deal among North Carolina GOP candidates to help his endorsed Senate candidate Rep. Ted Budd, who has thus far failed to gain traction. According to Politico, Trump pledged to endorse former GOP Rep. Mark Walker if he exits the Senate race to run for the House. Former Gov. Pat McCrory is also seeking the Republican nomination for Senate.
Trump is reportedly set to endorse Republican congressional candidate Bo Hines, 26, in the 4th Congressional District, but Ellmers was not subtle that she is seeking the former president’s support. She hashtagged the word “Trump” in her announcement tweet and included the phrase “Trump won” in her Twitter profile, a nod to the former president's unfounded allegations of a stolen election.
Ellmers drew backlash from conservative activists in 2015 for her efforts to sink a bill that would have banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. She said she wanted a provision removed that would require victims of rape to report their attack to law enforcement before they could undergo a procedure, although the bill’s supporters noted Ellmers voted in favor of an identical bill in the previous Congress. She later reversed course and said she would support The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protect Act, but anti-abortion voters were not appeased. North Carolina Right to Life wrote on its website at the time that the group “and pro-lifers will not forget what Renee Ellmers has done.”
Ellmers lost her primary in 2016, despite being the only member of Congress endorsed by Trump, then the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
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Ellmers later worked in the Trump administration as director for the Department of Health and Human Services Region IV office in Atlanta. She later lost a bid for North Carolina lieutenant governor.