Robert Pittenger

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Robert Pittenger
Robert Pittenger, Official Portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 9th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Sue Myrick
Succeeded by TBD
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 39th district
In office
January 1, 2005 – May 27, 2008
Preceded by Robert A. Rucho
Succeeded by Robert A. Rucho
Member of the North Carolina Senate
from the 40th district
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2005
Preceded by Daniel G. Clodfelter
Succeeded by Malcolm Graham
Personal details
Robert Miller Pittenger

(1948-08-15) August 15, 1948 (age 70)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Suzanne Bahakel (m. 1978)
Children 4
Education University of Texas, Austin (BA)
Website House website

Robert Miller Pittenger (/ˈpɪtənər/; born August 15, 1948) is a businessman and American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 9th congressional district since 2013. The district includes several outer portions of Charlotte as well as many of that city's southern and eastern suburbs. He is a member of the Republican Party. On May 8, 2018, Pittenger was defeated in the Republican primary by Mark Harris.

Early life, education, and business career

Pittenger was born in Texas and attended the University of Texas. After graduating he worked for Campus Crusade for Christ before moving to Charlotte in 1985 and becoming a real estate investor.

North Carolina Senate (2003–2007)


After redistricting, Pittenger decided to run for the 40th senate district of the North Carolina General Assembly in 2002.[1] He defeated Democratic State Senator Fountain Odom 55%–43%.[2] In 2004 he ran for the 39th senate district and defeated Libertarian nominee Andy Grum 89%–11%.[3] In 2006, he won reelection to a third term unopposed.[4]


Pittenger represented the state's 39th Senate district, which included portions of southeastern Mecklenburg County. He was a lead sponsor of Right To Life legislation and supported the North Carolina marriage amendment,[5] although he was not in office when the amendment passed out of committee and was finally voted on by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2011.

In May 2004, he proposed cutting the state's corporate tax from 6.9% to 4.9% and the income tax rate for the state's top earners from 8.25% to 7.5%.[6] He also proposed over $1.5 billion in spending cuts, with a focus on crippling Medicaid access for seniors.[5]

In February 2005, he proposed a medical malpractice bill that would cap non-economic damages at $250,000 for physicians, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.[7]

Committee assignments

  • Appropriations/Base Budget
  • Commerce
  • Finance
  • Insurance and Civil Justice Reform
  • Pensions & Retirement and Aging
  • Rules and Operation[8][9]

2008 lieutenant gubernatorial bid

Pittenger defeated three other candidates in the Republican primary on May 6, 2008, becoming his party's nominee for Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina with 59% of the vote.[10][11][12] On May 27, 2008, he resigned from the Senate to focus on his campaign.[13] He lost the general election to fellow State Senator Walter H. Dalton, 51%–46%.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives (2013–present)

2012 election

After Sue Myrick announced her retirement as the Representative of North Carolina's 9th congressional district in early 2012, Pittenger announced that he would run to replace her.[15] He failed to win the primary outright on May 8, 2012, but finished first with 32% of the vote in the 11-candidate field.[16] In the primary runoff election held on July 17, he defeated former Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph, 53%–47%.[17][18]

Pittenger won the general election on November 6, defeating Democratic Mecklenburg County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts, 52%–47%.[19][20] He lost the district's share of Mecklenburg County (47%), but ran up huge margins in the Union (63%) and Iredell (64%) portions of the district. It was the closest a Republican had come to losing the district since 1986. He took office in January 2013.

On December 2, 2013, Pittenger introduced the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013, which became Pub.L. 113–104.[21] The law broadens the coverage of current laws that address domestic assaults by certain repeat offenders.[22] It also requires the United States Department of Justice to write a report on child abuse prevention laws in all U.S. states and territories, "with a particular focus on penalties for cases of severe child abuse."[23]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

2014 election

Pittenger considered running for the U.S. Senate[26] but instead ran for reelection to the House. In the Republican primary, he defeated Michael Steinberg, a candidate for the seat in 2012. No Democrat filed to run for the seat, making this district the only one in the state not contested by both major parties in 2014.[27] There was an unsuccessful write-in campaign for candidate Shawn Eckles of Iredell County.[28][29]

2016 election

The 9th was significantly redrawn after a federal court threw out the previous map as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. It was pushed well to the east, stretching from southeast Charlotte all the way to Fayetteville and the Sandhills.

Baptist pastor Mark Harris challenged Pittenger in the 2016 Republican congressional primary, losing that contest by 134 votes.[30] Pittenger defeated Christian Cano in the general election.

2018 election

Pittenger faced Mark Harris in a rematch of the 2016 Republican primary. On May 8, 2018, Harris defeated Pittenger[31] with 48.5 percent of the vote to Pittenger's 46.2 percent. Pittenger was the first congressional incumbent to lose his primary election in 2018;[30] the second was Mark Sanford.[32]

Political positions


In 2006, Pittenger sent a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist, published in 1998, to his colleagues in the North Carolina Senate. He has denied that global warming is occurring.[33][34][35]

Health care

Pittenger supported the American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA), which would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. On May 2, 2017, Pittenger defended a provision of AHCA that allowed states to end requirements that insurers cannot discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions.[36] Pittenger said that Americans who have or develop pre-existing conditions "should just move" to a state without the waiver.[36][37][38]

Race relations

On September 22, 2016, in the wake of protests over the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Pittenger said that the violence in Charlotte stemmed from protesters who "hate white people because white people are successful and they're not." The remark drew immediate international condemnation as racist. Fellow North Carolina congressman G. K. Butterfield called the remark "devastatingly ignorant and divisive."[39][40] Pittenger apologized, saying that his "intent was to discuss the lack of economic mobility for African Americans because of failed policies."[41]

National defense

Pittenger voted for the two-year budget plan that became law on February 9, 2018, citing the lack of options to increase military spending to provide for required training and maintenance.[42]

Personal life

Pittenger lives in South Charlotte.


  1. ^ "Biography". Office of Congressman Robert Pittenger. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  2. ^ "NC State Senate 40 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "NC State Senate 39 Race - Nov 02, 2004". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  4. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC State Senate 39 Race - Nov 07, 2006".
  5. ^ a b "About Robert Pittenger". (campaign site). Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  6. ^ "House Supports Business Incentives, Legislators Give Preliminary OK to $20 Million for N.C. Fund". Charlotte Observer. May 21, 2004. p. B1 Metro. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  7. ^ "Medical malpractice bill introduced in General Assembly". Triad Business Journal. February 2, 2005. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  8. ^ "Microsoft Word - 2005 Senate Committees by Member.doc" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  9. ^ "Microsoft Word - 2003 Senate Committees by Member.doc" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC Lt. Governor- R Primary Race - May 06, 2008".
  11. ^ "Charlotte candidate announces run". Under The Dome (blog). Charlotte News & Observer. January 10, 2008. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  12. ^ "And the winners are..." Under The Dome (blog). Charlotte News & Observer. May 7, 2008. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Pittenger resigns from Senate". Under The Dome (blog). Charlotte News & Observer. May 27, 2008. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  14. ^ "NC Lt. Governor Race - Nov 04, 2008". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  16. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC District 09- R Primary Race - May 08, 2012".
  17. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC District 09 - R Runoff Race - Jul 17, 2012".
  18. ^ Morrill, Jim; Funk, Tim (July 18, 2012). "Pittenger wins bitter race in 9th, will face Roberts". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte, North Carolina: The McClatchy Company: Page 1. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  19. ^ "Our Campaigns - NC District 09 Race - Nov 06, 2012". Our Campaigns. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  20. ^ "Election Results : North Carolina State Board of Elections". Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "H.R. 3627 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  22. ^ "CBO – H.R. 3627". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  23. ^ "President signs Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act into law". WBTV. May 20, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  24. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  26. ^ Mimms, Sarah (February 13, 2013). "N.C. Labor Commissioner Considering Run Against Hagan". National Journal. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  27. ^ NC State Board of Elections: Candidate filing list
  28. ^ Campaign to Elect Shawn Eckles
  29. ^ "State Board of Elections: CERTIFIED UNAFFILIATED AND WRITE-IN CANDIDATES" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  30. ^ a b Weigel, David (May 8, 2018). "North Carolina GOP congressman loses primary, first House incumbent ousted". Washington Post. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  31. ^ Challenger Mark Harris stuns U.S. Rep. Pittenger of NC in GOP primary upset, Charlotte Observer, Jim Morrill, May 8, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  32. ^ "Trump critic Mark Sanford falls in South Carolina GOP primary". CNN. June 24, 2018.
  33. ^ "On Climate, Pittenger Turns Contrarian, State Senator Disputes Global Warming Claims". Charlotte Observer. May 14, 2006. p. B1 Metro. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  34. ^ "We Aren't Changing Climate, Let's Avoid Snap Judgements and Wishful Thinking on Warming Trend". Charlotte Observer. February 5, 2006. p. 24A. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  35. ^ "Green Moves Could Create New Jobs". WFMY-TV. October 24, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  36. ^ a b Kilgore, Ed (May 2, 2017). "GOP Congressman Says Sick People Who Lose Affordable Health Coverage Should Just Move". New York. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  37. ^ Morrill, Jim (May 2, 2017). "NC congressman says where you live could determine how much health coverage you get". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  38. ^ Ollstein, Alice (May 2, 2017). "House GOPer: Move To Another State If You Have A Pre-Existing Condition". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  39. ^ "Pittenger apologizes for saying Charlotte protesters 'hate white people'". Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  40. ^ Mele, Christopher (2016-09-23). "Congressman Tells BBC: Charlotte Protesters 'Hate White People'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  41. ^ "Pittenger apologizes for saying Charlotte protesters 'hate white people'". Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  42. ^ Clark, Lesley; Murphy, Brian. (9 February 2018). "When will it stop? Conservatives who vowed to cut spending keep spending." McClatchyDC website Retrieved 13 February 2018.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Sue Myrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 9th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Scott Peters
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Mark Pocan
Retrieved from ""
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