|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina
January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2021
|Brad Miller (13th)|
Renee Ellmers (2nd)
|Constituency||13th district (2013-2017)|
2nd district (2017-2021)
|United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina|
|President||George W. Bush|
George Edward Bell Holding
April 17, 1968
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
|Education||Wake Forest University (BA, JD)|
George Edward Bell Holding (born April 17, 1968) is an American politician, lawyer, and former federal prosecutor who is a former United States Representative for North Carolina's 2nd congressional district from 2017 to 2021. He previously represented the 13th District from 2013 to 2017. Holding is a member of the Republican Party. The district Holding represented stretches from just southwest of Raleigh to just east of Rocky Mount. He served as the United States Attorney for North Carolina's Eastern District from 2006 to 2011.
The youngest of five children, Holding grew up in Raleigh. He is a member of the Holding family which founded the First Citizens Bank in Smithfield. He attended the Groton School in Massachusetts. He attended Wake Forest University, studying Classics. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree, he studied law at Wake Forest University School of Law. During law school, he met his future wife, Lucy Herriott. They married after graduating and returned to Raleigh where Holding practiced law with Kilpatrick Stockton.
In 1998, Holding left the practice of law to serve as legislative counsel to U.S. Senator Jesse Helms in Washington. He was employed by Maupin Taylor, a Raleigh law firm, from 2001-2002. Holding joined the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of North Carolina in 2002, working under Frank DeArmon Whitney. Under Whitney, the U.S. Attorney's office prosecuted a number of high-profile public corruption cases, including former N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps, former House Speaker Jim Black and former U.S. Representative Frank Ballance. Whitney left his position as U.S. Attorney when he became a judge for the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
On September 9, 2006, Holding was nominated by President George W. Bush to succeed Frank Whitney as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. On September 13, 2006, the U.S. Senate confirmed Holding's nomination by voice vote. Holding remained as U.S. Attorney for two and a half years into the Obama administration in order to complete a number of political corruption cases.
During Holding's tenure as U.S. Attorney, former North Carolina Governor Mike Easley pleaded guilty to a campaign finance felony that followed a lengthy federal investigation. Holding oversaw the prosecution of former U.S. Senator John Edwards on campaign-finance charges; in 2012, Edwards was acquitted on one count, and the jury deadlocked on five other counts. The Justice Department decided not to retry Edwards on the counts that the jury deadlocked on.
After his resignation as U.S. Attorney in 2011, Holding announced his candidacy for Congress in North Carolina's 13th congressional district. He was endorsed by multiple conservative business and civic leaders, including N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake and former U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth.
Holding was unopposed in the Republican primary for re-election. He won the general election against his Democratic challenger, Brenda Cleary, a registered nurse and former executive director of the North Carolina Center for Nursing, 57%-43%.
Following court-ordered redistricting in 2016, a large portion of the 13th was merged into the neighboring 2nd district. Holding's home was located in the 4th district under the new map, just outside the new 2nd's borders. However, congressional candidates are only required to live in the state they wish to represent. Holding decided to run in the 2nd district against the incumbent, fellow Republican Renee Ellmers, in the primary. The newly drawn district encompassed outer portions of Raleigh, many of its northern and southern suburbs, along with parts of rural Harnett, Johnston, Wilson, Nash, and Franklin counties.
During the primary campaign, Holding was endorsed by the American Conservative Union and the anti-abortion N.C. Values Coalition, and the Club for Growth and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity ran ads against Ellmers. Ellmers made much of the fact that Holding lived outside the 2nd district (six miles from the district's border), although the new district was actually geographically and demographically more similar to Holding's old 13th district than to Ellmers' old 2nd district. In the June 2016 primary, Holding defeated Ellmers, 53.4% to 23.6%, with a third candidate, Greg Brannon, receiving 23.0% of the vote.
In the November 2016 general election, Holding defeated Democratic nominee John McNeil, receiving 56.7% to McNeil's 43.3%.
In 2018, the Cook Political Report rated the congressional race in the 2nd district as "lean Republican." Holding won reelection with 51.3% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee Linda Coleman, a former state representative who received 45.8% of the vote. Libertarian Party candidate Jeff Matemu received 2.9% of the vote. Coleman received more votes than Holding in the Wake County portion of the district (the district's most populous) but Holding led in the other five counties in the district.Outside groups spent at least $3.3 million on the competitive race.
After a North Carolina state judge issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the use of the 2016 congressional map for the 2020 elections, the state legislature drew a new map. Holding's district was made significantly more Democratic than its predecessor. The old 2nd had covered most of northern and southern Wake County, as well as exurban areas south and east of the capital. The new 2nd was a compact district in southern Wake County, including almost all of Raleigh. Had it existed in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have carried it with 60 percent of the vote; by comparison, Donald Trump had carried the old 2nd with 53 percent of the vote. On paper, the new map turned the 2nd from a Republican-leaning district into one of the most Democratic white-majority districts in the South.
Even before the new map was issued, state and national Democrats viewed the 2nd as a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats due to the close 2018 contest. Three Democrats sought the congressional nomination. Soon after the new map was issued, former state representative and unsuccessful 2016 Senate candidate Deborah Ross entered the race for the redrawn 2nd. In December 2019, Holding announced he would retire at the end of his term, saying the new map was a factor in his decision. However, according to J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, Holding's fundraising had left much to be desired even before the new map was issued-a "tell-tale sign of retirement."
Over the period from January 2017 to October 2019, Holding voted in line with President Donald Trump's position 91.9% of the time. Over the course of Holding's career, he has voted in line with the majority of House Republicans between 94.3–97.0% of the time, and against the majority of House Republicans about 3–5.7% of the time.
Holding opposes abortion, and during his 2016 Republican primary battle against Representative Renee Ellmers, Holding received the support of two major anti-abortion groups, the Susan B. Anthony List and the National Right to Life Committee. In 2017, Holding voted for legislation to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Holding opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) and supported the 2017 House Republican bill to repeal and replace the ACA. During his 2018 re-election campaign, Holding incorrectly claimed that "we're all paying 100 percent more" on health insurance premiums due to the ACA; in fact, only 2 to 5 percent of Americans were affected by premium increases related to the ACA's individual market, which is the smallest health insurance market.
On December 18, 2019, Holding voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republicans who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.
Holding's committee assignments were as follows:
Holding is a member of the Republican Study Committee,Congressional Western Caucus,International Conservation Caucus, and U.S.-Japan Caucus. Holding is the House Republican chair of the British-American Parliamentary Group, which maintains ties between the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament, and is co-chair of the Congressional U.K. Caucus; in theses roles, Holding has led congressional delegations to Britain and commented on Brexit.
Frank DeArmon Whitney
| United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 13th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district