A North Carolina Democratic activist is set to challenge Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) from the left in 2012.
Citing McIntyre's centrist voting record and opposition to the healthcare law, Democrat Del Pietro announced the primary challenge Wednesday.
"Democrats are just furious with McIntyre and I really think this is going to be his last term," said Pietro, who accused McIntyre of abandoning the core principles of his party. "A lot of Democrats in this state are furious with the Blue Dogs in general, so I think we can get the base fired up."
McIntyre, who survived a challenge from Republican Ilario Pantano in 2010, ran to the right and emphasized his independence from then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic leadership.
One of just a small handful of Blue Dog Dems who survived the midterms, McIntyre doesn't appear worried about his left flank. He was one of 20 Democrats to vote against Pelosi on the House floor Wednesday.
He is also a likely "yes" vote on healthcare repeal when the Republican measure comes to the floor next week. McIntyre has previously said he favors a full repeal of the law.
A spokesman for McIntyre did not respond to a request for comment on Pietro's entry into the race.
Pietro, a former pharmaceutical sales rep and current business counselor, describes himself as "progressive on some issues, but conservative on others," particularly with regard to terrorism and military matters.
He also said he's confident that he can raise the money needed to take actually pose a challenge to McIntyre. Pietro said he intends to lean on Democratic small donors nationally who want "a true Democrat in office."
The political newcomer's background is far from problem-free, though, and he's trying to preempt the negative press by fessing up to two previous drunk-driving arrests and a bankruptcy filing two years ago.
Pietro was found not guilty in one case, while another was thrown out by a judge.
Pietro told the Wilmington Star News, “I just made a mistake and I accept responsibility for it, and I've moved on since then.”
-Updated at 1:20 p.m.