Ilario Pantano looking for second chance to challenge McIntyre

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By Caroline Curran, Reporter

Before running for Congress the first time in 2010, Ilario Pantano was a U.S. Marine, a small business owner, an author and even worked for Goldman Sachs.

The native New Yorker enlisted in the U.S. Marines after high school, where he served in Operation Desert Storm.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Pantano rejoined the Marines, this time as an officer, and he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pantano made national headlines in 2004, when he was charged with the murder of two insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq.

The charges were dropped and Pantano was honorably discharged from the Marines.

Because of this oath to protect America, Pantano says he is seeking a second bid at Congress.

In 2010, he received the GOP nomination to challenge longtime Democrat incumbent Mike McIntyre.

Pantano went on to lose the General Election in 2010. McIntyre has since been drawn out of the 7th Congressional District, but federal law allows him to run for re-election to his seat.

But Pantano has two Republicans he must first beat before he could have a second chance to challenge McIntyre—state Sen. David Rouzer and Randy Crow.

“I’ve taken an oath to defend the Constitution three times. It doesn’t have an expiration date,” Pantano said last week during the first in a series of GOP congressional debates, this one sponsored by the Brunswick County Republican women.

“I was one of the first candidates for U.S. Congress in the country to support the cut, cap and balance pledge, which was put forward by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a very well known conservative. I like that pledge because it recognizes that we have to cut spending, we have to balance the budget, and, in fact, in the process of that, we have to make sure that we balance the budget without raising taxes, which is what a conservative balanced budget amendment would look like,” Pantano said.

When asked if he would raise the debt ceiling, Pantano said he would not “without established cuts.”

“I am an optimist, but it has a lot more to do with my faith than it does with the economy. I’ll tell you friends, with the Dow at 13,000, that’s exciting, but you have to recognize that a lot of this is cash that’s cleaned Europe that is on the verge of default. The reality is we could be going much faster, much farther ahead if the government and its safety net would disappear.”

The way to stimulate the economy, according to Pantano—repeal “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act.

“No single piece of legislation has done more to hamper job creation, create uncertainty, add regulatory burden—160 agencies—and, oh, by the way, take your civil liberties. This is the type of thing that has to be done very quickly,” he said.

“I am optimistic in the entrepreneurial spirit of the America people that will always outsmart a dim-witted government,” he said.

Pantano has also pledged not to take any earmarks if elected.

“I do not support earmarks, and I pledge to never take an earmark. When you’re being fed your own guts and told it’s steak, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

Perhaps the biggest applause of the evening was drew after Pantano said he would vote to, “Get rid of pensions for members of Congress, and get rid of gold-plated healthcare for members of Congress.”

Caroline Curran is a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or ccurran@brunswickbeacon.com.