Political expert Michael Bitzer said candidates often find themselves running two races – one on each side of the district.
"It's almost two different worlds," Bitzer, a professor at Catawba College, said.
• VIDEO: Political Expert Weighs In On Local Congressional Race
And in the upcoming May 4 primary election, nine people are competing to represent those worlds.
• Lee Cornelison, a Vietnam veteran and an accountant • Tim D'Annunzio, a former paratrooper and business owner • Darrell Day, a preacher • Lou Huddleston, a career army officer • Harold Johnson, a former marine and sportscaster • Hal Jordan, a computer programmer
Libertarian • Thomas Hill
Democrats Nancy Shakir, a retired teacher • Larry Kissell, the incumbent and also a former educator
Bitzer said he thinks Kissell will get the Democratic nomination again, so the way he sees it, the real race is on the Republican ballot.
Bitzer said he expects it to be a close one.
Bitzer said Johnson and Jordan have name recognition on the Charlotte side of the district, while D'Annunzio and Huddleston have an advantage on the Fayetteville side.
Those four may split the vote, Bitzer said, but then again, money can change everything.
"I mean, money is the mother's milk of politics," Bitzer said.
At last check, D'Annunzio raised more than $1 million, which is $400,000 more than Kissell had raised and $700,000 more than Johnson.
But some voters said they are more concerned about their own finances.
"I'm trying to find [a job] right now," voter James Pearl said. "That's why I'm here, uptown, just putting out applications everywhere."
For Pearl, and many others the race is about the economy.
Bitzer said Republicans in the race may be spending more on the primary because there's more competition in their race. Democrat Larry Kissell, on the other hand, may be choosing to save his money, assuming he will need it in the general election in November.