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Patrick McHenry

Assumed office 
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Cass Ballenger

Born October 22, 1975 (1975-10-22) (age 34)
Gastonia, North Carolina
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Engaged to Giulia Cangiano
Residence Cherryville, North Carolina
Alma mater Belmont Abbey College
Occupation realtor
Religion Roman Catholic

Patrick Timothy McHenry (born October 22, 1975) is a Republican United States Representative from North Carolina, representing the state's 10th Congressional district.

The district is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and includes Hickory, Morganton, Lincolnton, and part of Gastonia. He previously was a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives for a single term.


Early years

McHenry was born in Gastonia, North Carolina. He grew up in suburban Gastonia, North Carolina, the son of the owner of the Dixie Lawn Care Company,[1] and attended Ashbrook High School. A Roman Catholic, McHenry was the youngest of five children. His parents are now deceased.

Halfway through North Carolina State University, McHenry transferred to Belmont Abbey College.[1] At Belmont, McHenry founded the school's College Republican chapter,[1] then became chair of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans and served as treasurer for the College Republican National Committee. His first run for public office was for the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1998, while still a junior in college; he won the primary but lost in the general election. The Democratic winner was the father of a high school classmate.

After earning a B.A. in history in 1999, McHenry worked for the media consulting firm DCI/New Media, in Washington, D.C. He was involved in Rick Lazio's campaign against Hillary Clinton during the November 2000 United States Senate election in New York; his main project was running a Web site,[1]

In mid-2000, McHenry was hired by Karl Rove to be the National Coalition Director for George W. Bush's successful 2000 presidential campaign.[1] In late 2000 and early 2001, he was a volunteer coordinator for Bush's inaugural committee. After working for six months in 2001 as a special assistant to Elaine Chao, the United States Secretary of Labor in Washington, D.C., McHenry returned to North Carolina and ran again for the state legislature, winning in the November 2002 general election.

Political career

A resident of Cherryville, North Carolina, McHenry represented the state's 109th House district, including constituents in Gaston County, for the 2003–2004 session. While in the legislature, he sat on the House Appropriations Committee.

In 2004, after one term in the North Carolina General Assembly, McHenry successfully ran for Congress in the 10th Congressional district, which had come open when nine-term incumbent Cass Ballenger retired. McHenry faced a heavily contested primary in the 10th and bested his closest opponent, Catawba County Sheriff David Huffman, in a primary runoff by only 85 votes.

In the general election, McHenry won 64% of the popular vote, defeating Democrat Anne Fischer. However, it was generally thought McHenry's victory in the primary runoff was tantamount to election in November: his district is considered North Carolina's most Republican district, having sent Republicans to represent it since 1963.

In the 2006 election, McHenry defeated Democrat Richard Carsner, gaining almost 62% of the vote on the way to a second term representing the 10th District.

In 2008, McHenry defeated Lance Sigmon in the Republican primary, winning 67% of the vote, and faced Democrat Daniel Johnson in the general election. Johnson was considered the strongest and best-funded Democrat to run in the district in over 20 years. In part because of this, the Cook Political Report moved the race from "Safe Republican" to "Likely Republican." This means that in Charlie Cook's opinion, while McHenry still has a considerable advantage, a victory by Johnson couldn't be ruled out. Shortly after the Cook Political Report's update, Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report, also a nonpartisan analysis of American politics and elections, addressed the race and indicated his opinion that an upset is unlikely.[2] McHenry won the 2008 election, 57.56% to 42.44%.[3]

At age 33, McHenry was the youngest member of the 110th United States Congress; however, 27-year-old Aaron Schock of Illinois took office in the 111th United States Congress in January 2009.

McHenry serves on three House Committees: Budget, Financial Services, and Oversight and Government Reform. McHenry holds two House Republican leadership positions; he is a Deputy Whip and Vice Chairman of Finance for the National Republican Congressional Committee's Executive Committee.[4]

In the 110th Congress, McHenry gained notoriety for his strong opposition to the new Democratic majority and its leadership by proposing a "minority bill of rights," similar to a blocked 2004 plan by the then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.[5] McHenry has received a 100% rating from the American Conservative Union.[6]


Congressional committee assignments

Legislative record

In the 109th Congress, McHenry authored legislation which would increase the penalty for anyone who manufactured methamphetamine in the presence of a child. The legislation, H.R. 1616, was incorporated into legislation which passed the House and Senate.[7][8] It was signed into law as part of the Patriot Act reauthorization in March, 2006.[9]

In the 110th Congress, in the Committee on Financial Services, McHenry worked with Rep. Al Green (D-TX) on legislation requiring mortgage lenders to simplify their mortgage disclosure forms for home buyers.[10] Their Mortgage Disclosure Simplification Act was integrated into H.R. 3915, the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007, comprehensive housing reform legislation passed by the House. It awaits action by the Senate.[11]

In 2008, McHenry opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").

McHenry was honored by the North Carolina Chapters of the American Legion and Marine Corps League after assisting in bringing a Veteran's Community Based Outpatient Clinic to Hickory, a project his predecessor Cass Ballenger had begun before his retirement.[12]

After the passing of Senator Jesse Helms, McHenry sponsored a resolution (H.Res. 608) honoring Helms's life and service.[13] Every member of the North Carolina delegation co-sponsored his resolution, and it was passed by the House of Representatives by unanimous consent.

McHenry authored the Independence Prize Act of 2007 (H.R. 2867), which would authorize a prize of up to $1 billion to an American company or individual who invented a transformative source of energy to replace fossil fuels.[14] McHenry also co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation designed to open drilling for oil in the outer continental shelf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as increased use of nuclear and clean coal energy.[15][16]

On March 2, 2010, McHenry proposed new legislation, H.R. 4705, that would redesign the face of the $50 bill to include the likeness of the 40th President, Ronald Reagan.


"Two-bit" security guard comment

McHenry stirred further controversy with his remarks on April 1, 2008, regarding a trip to Iraq. Speaking to 150 Republicans attending the Lincoln County GOP Dinner, he called a contractor — reported first by liberal blogs as a "U.S. soldier"[17] — performing security duties in Iraq as "a two-bit security guard" because the contractor denied McHenry access to a gym.

We spent the night in the Green Zone, in the poolhouse of one of Saddam’s palaces. A little weird, I got to be honest with you. But I felt safe. And so in the morning, I got up early — not that I make this a great habit — but I went to the gym because I just couldn’t sleep and everything else. Well, sure enough, the guard wouldn’t let me in. Said I didn’t have the correct credentials. It’s 5:00 in the morning. I haven’t had sleep. I was not very happy with this two bit security guard. So you know, I said, “I want to see your supervisor.” Thirty minutes later, the supervisor wasn’t happy with me, they escort me back to my room. It happens. I guess I didn’t need to work out anyway.[18][19]

He later apologized, saying "[i]t was a poor choice of words."[20]

Baghdad video

McHenry was also the subject of discussion regarding a video, posted on his Congressional campaign website, that featured him in the Green Zone in Baghdad, pointing out landmarks and destruction after missile attacks. Veteran's affairs blog VetVoice posted a scathing attack, claiming that McHenry's video violated OPSEC, Operational Security.[21] McHenry later removed the video after discussing the information with the Pentagon, which requested McHenry not place the video back online.[22] Lance Sigmon, McHenry's opponent, later went on to call a press conference to demand an investigation regarding the full nature of the video's effect on Green Zone Troops.[23] Sigmon attacked McHenry in a campaign ad regarding this controversy, prompting McHenry to threaten legal action, claiming the ad was false.[24]

Use of PAC funds

On April 16, 2008, Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call revealed that McHenry used funds from his PAC, "More Conservatives", to fund the defense of former aide Michael Aaron Lay's voter fraud charges incurred during McHenry's 2004 race.[25] McHenry gave Lay $20,000 to pay legal bills on voter fraud charges brought while Lay worked for him.[26] These expenses were labeled as "Legal Expense Donation", according to FEC reports. Lay agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement, which stipulated he complete 100 hours of community service and pay $240.50 in court fees and $250.00 in community service fees to have the charges dismissed.[citation needed] Lay, an employee of the 2004 campaign, lived in McHenry's home in Cherryville which also served as the campaign headquarters during the 2004 election, was indicted for voter fraud in McHenry's election, allegedly voted illegally in two separate instances.[27] McHenry, in response, claimed the case was part of a "three-year smear campaign" by District Attorney Locke Bell,[28] despite Locke Bell fund raising for McHenry in previous elections.[29]

Countrywide donations

McHenry has also been called out by the Center for Responsive Politics' Capital Eye, who found evidence that McHenry had been taking money from Countrywide, a company now involved in the subprime mortgage crisis.[30] McHenry took $5,500 from Countrywide's PAC, and served in an investigation into CEO payout fraud, of which one of the target companies was Countrywide itself.

Attack on opponent

McHenry has been the subject of controversy after making allegations that his challenger, Daniel Johnson, was "Nancy Pelosi's Chosen Recruit" with "pockets stuffed from cash from Washington liberals". North Carolina Republican Party leaders spoke out about these comments[31] after North Carolina Democratic Party leaders lashed back, calling it an "undue personal attack".[32] McHenry changed the text on his press release after this backlash; the original version was saved on blogs,[33] but the revised official version no longer contains the "Nancy Pelosi" comment.[34]

Council on American-Islamic Relations

McHenry joined Senator Thomas Coburn (R-OK) and Congressmen Sue Myrick (R-NC), Trent Franks (R-AZ), John Shadegg (R-AZ), and Paul Broun (R-GA) in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman on November 16, 2009, asking that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) be investigated for excessive lobbying and failing to register as a lobbying organization.[35][36] The request came in the wake of the publication of a book, Muslim Mafia, the foreword of which had been penned by Myrick, that portrayed CAIR as a subversive organization allied with international terrorists.[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Benjamin Wallace-Wells (October/November 2005). "Getting Ahead in the GOP; Rep. Patrick McHenry and the art of defending the indefensible". Washington Monthly. 
  2. ^ How Long Are the House Democrats’ Really Long Shots?
  3. ^ "2008 General Elections: Reports (unofficial results)". North Carolina State Board of Elections. November 6, 2008. Retrieved November 7, 2008. 
  4. ^ Chairman Tom Cole Announces 2007–2008 NRCC Executive Committee
  5. ^ – The anti-Pelosi
  6. ^ 2007 Votes by State Delegation
  7. ^ H.R. 1616 in the 110th Congress
  8. ^ Congressman McHenry Co-sponsors Methamphetamine Epidemic Elimination Act – Local News – News : Lincoln Tribune : Instant, reliable and credible local news
  9. ^ Patrick McHenry
  10. ^ REALTOR Magazine-Daily News-Bill Brings Clarity to Complex Mortgage Disclosures
  11. ^ H.R. 3915 in the 110th Congress, as of 2008-11-07
  12. ^ Veterans Groups Recognize Congressman McHenry For Work On Behalf Of Veterans – Local News – News : Lincoln Tribune : Instant, reliable and credible local news
  13. ^ H.Res. 608 in the 110th Congress
  14. ^ H.R. 2867 in the 110th Congress
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ One of 88 cosponsors of H.R. 3089 in the 110th Congress
  17. ^ Think Progress » Rep. McHenry calls U.S. soldier in Iraq a ‘two-bit security guard.’
  18. ^ McHenry Refers to Soldier as "Two Bit Security Guard", Carolina Politics Online, April 3, 2008
  19. ^ Video of Patrick McHenry's "two-bit soldier" remark on YouTube
  20. ^ Lawmaker apologizes for comment on Iraq guard – Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports – Army Times
  21. ^ VetVoice: Congressman McHenry Violates OPSEC; Endangers Troops
  22. ^ Iraq visit hurts congressman : : Greensboro, North Carolina
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ News-Topic, Lenoir, NC, 28645 – news, sports, editorials, obituaries
  25. ^ Necessary Overhead? – Roll Call
  26. ^ Necessary Overhead? – Roll Call
  27. ^ Congressman McHenry's Campaign Aide Indicted – Primary Source
  28. ^ Breaking News: McHenry campaign aide indicted for voter fraud from 2004 election, mchenry, lay, news : The Star Online : The Newspaper of Cleveland County
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ OpenSecrets | Countrywide's Campaign Contributions Weren't Loans, But They Were Investments – Capital Eye
  31. ^ McClatchy Washington Bureau | 06/12/2008 | Will crying 'liberal' help GOP this year? Some think not
  32. ^ Republican Patrick McHenry Begins Smear Campaign | North Carolina Democratic Party
  33. ^ McHenry Declares Victory – Attacks Democratic Opponent | The Catawba Valley Independent
  34. ^ McHenry for Congress
  35. ^ "Letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, from Senator Tom Coburn and Representatives Sue Myrick, Trent Franks, John Shadegg, Paul Broun, and Patrick McHenry," November 16, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009
  36. ^ Elliot, Justin, "Tom Coburn Joins Campaign Against Muslim Group," TPMMuckraker, November 18, 2009, accessed November 18, 2009
  37. ^ Doyle, Michael, "Judge: Controversial 'Muslim Mafia' used stolen papers", Charlotte Observer, November 10, 2009, accessed November 17, 2009

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Cass Ballenger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina's 10th congressional district
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Adam Putnam
Youngest member of the United States House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Aaron Schock


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