George Holding

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 stretched 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.

George Holding
George Holding.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2021
Preceded byBrad Miller (13th)
Renee Ellmers (2nd)
Succeeded byTed Budd (13th)
Deborah Ross (2nd)
Constituency13th district (2013–2017)
2nd district (2017–2021)
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded byFrank Whitney
Succeeded byThomas Walker
Personal details
George Edward Bell Holding

(1968-04-17) April 17, 1968 (age 54)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Lucy Herriott
(m. 1993)
EducationWake Forest University (BA, JD)

Holding announced in December 2019 that he would not run for re-election in 2020, after court-mandated redistricting made the district significantly more Democratic.[1]

Early life, education, and early law careerEdit

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.[2] He attended the Groton School in Massachusetts.[3][4] 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.[4]

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 to 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.

U.S. Attorney's officeEdit

Holding during his tenure as U.S. attorney

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[6]

During his tenure, Holding also oversaw the prosecution of Daniel Patrick Boyd and the Raleigh jihad group on charges including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.[8]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit



After his resignation as U.S. Attorney in 2011, Holding announced his candidacy for Congress in North Carolina's 13th congressional district.[9] 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 won the Republican primary in May. He defeated former Raleigh Mayor Paul Coble. In the general election, he won the seat with 57% of the vote.[10]


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%.[11]


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.[12] The newly drawn district encompassed outer portions of Raleigh, many of its northern and southern suburbs,[13] along with parts of rural Harnett, Johnston, Wilson, Nash, and Franklin counties.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

In the November 2016 general election, Holding defeated Democratic nominee John McNeil, receiving 56.7% to McNeil's 43.3%.[18]


In 2018, the Cook Political Report rated the congressional race in the 2nd district as "lean Republican."[13] 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.[13][19] Libertarian Party candidate Jeff Matemu received 2.9% of the vote.[19] 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.[19] Outside groups spent at least $3.3 million on the competitive race.[20]


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.[1] 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;[21] by comparison, Donald Trump had carried the old 2nd with 53 percent of the vote.[22] 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.[14] 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.[1] 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."[23]


During Donald Trump's presidency, Holding voted in line with the president's stated position 90.5% of the time.[24]

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[25] and the National Right to Life Committee.[26] In 2017, Holding voted for legislation to ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy.[24]

Holding opposes the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) and supported the 2017 House Republican bill to repeal and replace the ACA.[27][28] 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.[29]

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.[citation needed]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Holding's committee assignments were as follows:

Caucus membershipsEdit

Holding was a member of the Republican Study Committee,[34] Congressional Western Caucus,[35] International Conservation Caucus,[36] and U.S.-Japan Caucus.[37] Holding was the House Republican chair of the British-American Parliamentary Group, which maintained ties between the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament, and was co-chair of the Congressional U.K. Caucus; in theses roles, Holding had led congressional delegations to Britain and commented on Brexit.[38][39]

Personal lifeEdit

George is married to Lucy Holding, who was born in England.[40] They have four children.[15] In July 2022, he was awarded as Honorary Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), for services to UK-US Relations.[41]


  1. ^ a b c Mutnick, Ally (December 6, 2019). "Republican George Holding will retire rather than run in deep-blue seat". Politico. Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  2. ^ Campbell, Colin (February 19, 2016). "U.S. Rep. George Holding plans to challenge Rep. Renee Ellmers under new map". Charlotte Observer. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  3. ^ "Groton School Quarterly, Winter 2017". Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Beckwith, Ryan Teague (May 17, 2007). "George Holding". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  5. ^ PN1661 — George E.B. Holding — Department of Justice, 109th Congress (2005-2006).
  6. ^ a b Josh Gerstein, Ex-prosecutor George Holding defends John Edwards case, Politico (June 13, 2012).
  7. ^ Curliss, J. Andrew; Kane, Dan (November 24, 2010). "Easley convicted of felony; state, federal probes end". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "Johnston man pleads guilty in terrorist conspiracy". WRAL-TV, Capitol Broadcasting Company.
  9. ^ Christensen, Rob (July 14, 2011). "Holding will seek 13th District seat". Raleigh News & Observer. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Oleniacz, Laura (November 7, 2012). "Republican Holding takes 13th District congressional seat". The Herald Sun. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  11. ^ "NC SBE Contest Results". North Carolina State Board of Elections. November 4, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Campbell, Colin; Douglas, Ann a (February 19, 2016). "U.S. Rep. George Holding plans to challenge Rep. Renee Ellmers under new map". The News & Observer. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Brett Samuels, GOP Rep. George Holding holds on to win reelection in North Carolina, The Hill (November 7, 2018).
  14. ^ a b Will Doran, New campaign fundraising numbers give NC Democrats hope of flipping a US House seat, News & Observer (October 22, 2019).
  15. ^ a b Lynn Bonner & Anna Douglas, Conservative bonafides at issue in 2nd District Republican primary, News & Observer (May 21, 2016).
  16. ^ Will Doran (June 3, 2016). "In North Carolina's 2nd District, a fight over residency and authenticity between Holding, Ellmers". Politifact North Carolina.
  17. ^ "NC SBE Contest Results". North Carolina State Board of Elections. June 7, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  18. ^ North Carolina U.S. House 2nd District Results: George Holding Wins, New York Times (2016).
  19. ^ a b c North Carolina Election Results: Second House District, New York Times (January 28, 2019).
  20. ^ Brian Murphy, George Holding makes immigration, support for Wake sheriff his final pitch before election, News & Observer (November 1, 2019).
  21. ^ Presidential results for reconfigured North Carolina districts via Daily Kos
  22. ^ Presidential results by congressional district for districts used in 2016, from Daily Kos
  23. ^ J. Miles Coleman (December 5, 2019). "Handicapping North Carolina's New Congressional Districts". Center For Politics.
  24. ^ a b Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: George Holding, Republican representative for North Carolina’s 2nd District, FiveThirtyEight (last accessed November 3, 2019).
  25. ^ Alex Roarty, The Unprecedented Action of One Anti-Abortion Group, Roll Call (May 16, 2016).
  26. ^ Jennifer Haberkorn, Anti-abortion groups run from Ellmers, Politico (March 28, 2016).
  27. ^ Travis Fain (October 24, 2018). "Fact check: George Holding and special-interest money". WRAL.
  28. ^ William Douglas & Anna Douglas, NC House Republicans split on GOP Obamacare repeal bill, McClatchy (March 17, 2019).
  29. ^ Bill McCarthy (October 26, 2018). "Holding misleads on Obamacare premium increase during debate". PolitiFact.
  30. ^ Congress Profiles: 113th Congress (2013–2015), Official Alphabetical List of Members with Committee Assignments for the 113th Congress, United States House of Representatives.
  31. ^ Congress Profiles: 114th Congress (2015–2017), Official Alphabetical List of Members with Committee Assignments for the 114th Congress, United States House of Representatives.
  32. ^ Congress Profiles: 115th Congress (2017–2019), Official Alphabetical List of Members with Committee Assignments for the 115th Congress, United States House of Representatives.
  33. ^ Official Alphabetical List of Members with Committee Assignments for the 116th Congress, United States House of Representatives.
  34. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  35. ^ "Members". Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  36. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  37. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  38. ^ Adam Shaw, Republicans hope for recharge in US-UK ties as Boris Johnson takes power, Fox News (July 25, 2019).
  39. ^ Ben Riley-Smith, Britain risks trade deal 'poison pill' if it sticks close to Brussels, US delegation head warns, Telegraph (February 21, 2018).
  40. ^ Anna Douglas, Holding sheds no tears in challenging Ellmers: 'Just is what it is', McClatchy (February 23, 2016).
  41. ^ "Honorary Awards to Foreign Nationals in 2022". Gov.UK. 2022.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative