A prominent Tea Party activist is backing North Carolina Rep. Mike McIntyre (D) for reelection and questing his Republican challenger's military record.

Iraq war veteran Ilario Pantano, who's challenging the seven-term Democrat, was charged by the Marines in 2004 with two counts of premeditated murder for shooting two Iraqi civilians. But the charges were dropped a year later and the case never went to trial. He wrote a book about the experience.

Activist Deborah Johns said Pantano "is not a war hero."

"It is people like that that give all our military a bad name," she told the Associated Press.

Johns, a former vice chair of the California-based Tea Party Express, said McIntyre is the first Democrat she's endorsed.

"I don't see in his voting record that it's so egregious that he should be voted out of office," she said.

This isn't the first time Johns has come out against Pantano. She backed his rival, Republican Will Breazeale, during the primary. Pantano's camp declined to comment on the endorsement.