Larry Kissell

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Larry Kissell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Robin Hayes
Succeeded by Richard Hudson
Personal details
Born Lawrence Webb Kissell
(1951-01-31) January 31, 1951 (age 66)
Biscoe, North Carolina
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Tina Eberly Kissell
Residence Biscoe, North Carolina
Alma mater Wake Forest University
Occupation Teacher, former textile worker

Lawrence Webb "Larry" Kissell (born January 31, 1951) was the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 8th congressional district, serving from 2009 to 2013. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville. On November 6, 2012, Kissell lost re-election to Richard Hudson, his Republican opponent.

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

Kissell is a lifelong resident of Biscoe, a small town roughly halfway between Charlotte and Fayetteville. He graduated from Wake Forest University in 1973 with a degree in economics.

After a brief stint as a manager at Union Carbide, Kissell worked at a hosiery factory for 27 years, rising to production manager. After growing concerned about the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement on the textile industry, he resigned his job at the hosiery plant in 2001 and took a job as a social studies teacher at his former high school, East Montgomery High School. As it turned out, the plant closed in 2003.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



In October 2006, Kissell ran for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District and won a four-way primary with 53 percent of the vote.[1]

In the 2006 elections, Kissell faced four-term Republican Robin Hayes, who had surprised many pundits with his ability to hold onto what was thought to be a marginally Democratic district. The outcome of the November 2006 general election was in doubt for several weeks, as recounts had to be conducted due to the close margin.[2] Kissell officially wound up losing by 329 votes. He won six of the district's nine counties, but ultimately could not overcome a 6,100-vote deficit in Cabarrus County, home to Hayes. Kissell conceded the race on November 29, 2006 and immediately announced plans to run again in 2008.[3]

Kissell in 2009

After Kissell's near victory in 2006, which fed on the strength of grass-roots support and a vigorous internet campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee supported his 2008 run.[4] In the November election, Kissell defeated Hayes by a larger-than-expected margin, according to unofficial results. He won 55 percent of the vote to Hayes' 45 percent.[5] This victory returned the seat to the Democrats; Bill Hefner had held the seat for 24 years before Hayes won it in 1998.


Kissell faced Republican challenger Harold Johnson, a longtime sportscaster at WSOC-TV in Charlotte. The Service Employees International Union, which supported Kissell in 2008, drafted independent candidate Wendell Fant to replace Kissell due to his stance on health care reform.[6] Although some polls showed the race within a point, Kissell ultimately took 53 percent of the vote to Johnson's 44 percent.


Redistricting in 2011 made Kissell's district considerably more Republican. It lost most of its share of Charlotte and all of its share of Fayetteville, while picking up most of the heavily Republican western section of Union County that had been cut out after the 2000 census. It also picked up several heavily Republican counties east of Charlotte.[7] Kissell faced Republican nominee Richard Hudson. Kissell was faced with backlash from some progressives within his party over support of House Republican policies, lost some African-American support, and lost the general election on November 6, 2012 to Republican challenger Richard Hudson.


Kissell's first act in Congress was to co-sponsor a bill to reverse a planned Congressional pay raise.[8] On February 13, 2009, Dan Eggen and Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post wrote that the compromise stimulus bill included a provision introduced by Kissell that would; “require the Transportation Security Administration to purchase uniforms manufactured in the United States; most TSA clothing is currently assembled in Mexico and Honduras from U.S.-made fabric.”[9] In March 2010, Kissell voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,[10] saying, "I kept my word."[11] In January 2011, Kissell voted against repealing the law.[12] His vote angered some constituents in his district; the Washington Post noted that a year after his election, "the euphoria has given way to second thoughts at best and outright rebellion at worst."[13] Michael Lawson, an African-American democratic leader from his constituency, stated the people believed they would receive one outcome and got another with his vote on health care. He explained the latter vote as follows: “let everybody vote, and then let's focus on the economy and get people back to work, because that's what the American people want us to do.”[14]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Congressional Arts Caucus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NC District 8 - D Primary Race - May 02, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  2. ^ "NC - District 08 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  3. ^ Greg Giroux (July 19, 2007). "Queue of 2006 Near-Misses Begets Lineup for 2008 Rematch Bids". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Aaron Blake (27 June 2007). "Potential Kissell primary could muddle his support from DCCC". The Hill. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Unofficial results from". CNN. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  6. ^ Kevin Bogardus (10 June 2010). "SEIU drafts independent candidate against Kissell". The Hill. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  7. ^ JENNIFER STEINHAUER (April 19, 2012). "New District Maps Toughen Democrats’ Race for House". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Profile Larry Kissell". National Journal Almanac. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Dan Eggen and Ellen Nakashima (February 13, 2009). "Despite Pledges, Package Has Some Pork". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "WFAE 90.7 FM". Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  12. ^ "Repeal health-care overhaul | U.S. Congress Votes Database - The Washington PostThe Washington Post". 2011-01-19. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  13. ^ Philip Rucker (December 18, 2009). "Democratic congressman from North Carolina angers supporters by voting against health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Shane D'Aprile (5 January 2011). "Centrist Dem Kissell a "no" vote on healthcare repeal". The Hill. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robin Hayes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 8th congressional district

January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2013
Succeeded by
Richard Hudson