Conservatives Looking to Challenge Long Time Democratic Strongholds and Ivory Tower Politics

Jan 28, 2010, 15:42 ET from Pantano for Congress

Ilario Pantano: Candidate for Congress (NC-7)

WILMINGTON, N.C., Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- War veteran, businessman and author Ilario Pantano today formally announced his candidacy for North Carolina's 7th Congressional District. A Republican, Mr. Pantano is looking to challenge Rep. Mike McIntyre, a fourteen-year incumbent in a district held by Democrats for the last 100 years.

Pantano, 38,  launched his congressional campaign with the "100 Days of Work" initiative, highlighting South Eastern North Carolina's number one issue: Jobs and the economy.  In daily candid discussions with employers and employees, Pantano turns to the free market of ideas to refine the solutions needed to revive the lagging economy. "As someone who has agonized over payroll and scrambled to get customers, I can relate to the struggles and the triumphs in today's job market and the paralyzing effects of excessive taxation, regulation, and litigation."

In 1998, a decade before Wall Street's underbelly was publicly exposed, Pantano made a decision to reject the greed mentality that he found morally repugnant. "As a capitalist, I appreciate the importance of profit, but as someone who had always put service before self, I could not abide by the damage that was being done to human lives by reckless speculators like Enron." Five years ago, Pantano presciently wrote of his decision to leave Wall Street in his memoir Warlord. In one story, a Goldman trader, who would later go on to management at AIG, smugly goaded Pantano, "Do you know how much money I made in oil while you were in the Gulf War?" Today, Pantano laments on the AIG bailout, "Now all of our children will pay to protect that trader's private airplane, and that is a travesty."

Pantano's "100 Days of Work" connects him to the people of the 7th District whose representation has been monopolized by a single party for over 100 years. "From my experience in small and large companies, I recognize that the best ideas often come from the bottom up and not the top down, particularly when the top has lost touch with the people."

The call to serve his country is not a new one. Pantano has sworn the oath to defend the Constitution of the United States three times in his life. The first was as a 17-year-old Marine. Then, over a decade later, after witnessing the attacks on 9/11, Pantano returned to the service and led a platoon of infantry Marines in Fallujah through some of the fiercest fighting of the war.  During combat operations, Pantano killed two insurgents and was later accused of murder. A military hearing dismissed all charges against him, but after receiving death threats from Jihadists to his family, Pantano chose to resign from the Marine Corps. In 2006 he swore an oath to protect his local community in New Hanover County as a Deputy Sheriff.

"My wife and I chose to live in North Carolina not because we were born here, but because we respected the Southern traditions of Faith in God, Service, Loyalty, and Devotion.  Those are the values I strive to live by and those are the values I teach my sons."

His campaign can be followed at For press inquiries or to schedule an interview, please call Hillary Meinheit at (910) 476-9783 or email

SOURCE Pantano for Congress