Cass Ballenger (born December 6, 1926) is an American politician; a Republican, he represented North Carolina's 10th Congressional district (map), centered in North Carolina's foothills, in the United States House of Representatives from 1986 to 2005.
A plastics executive in his hometown of Hickory, Ballenger had previously served in the North Carolina State House of Representatives from 1974 until 1976, and the North Carolina State Senate from 1976 until 1986. In the November 1986 elections, Ballenger was simultaneously elected to serve the remainder of 23-year incumbent Jim Broyhill's term (Broyhill had been appointed to the Senate) and to his own first term. He was reelected nine more times, all by landslide margins in what, according to some, has become the most Republican district in North Carolina. Not surprisingly, his voting record was very conservative.
Ballenger was also known for having a lawn jockey in front of his house in Hickory from 1982 until 2002, when it was painted white. Black leaders in Hickory severely criticized it in 1994, and his 2002 Democratic opponent infeatured it on a campaign brochure. Shortly after Trent Lott's infamous comments about Strom Thurmond, Ballenger admitted having "segregationist feelings" about Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and also called her "a bitch." He later apologized.
Ballenger, along with his wife, established the Ballenger Foundation in 1990 to raise funds for schools and hospitals in Central and South America. He has been active in that region for over thirty five years, receiving humanitarian awards from various organizations, including the Fabretto Children's Foundation, for his work.
Ballenger did not run for reelection in 2004 and was succeeded by one-term Republican state representative Patrick McHenry.
He is the great-great-grandson of nineteenth century politician Lewis Cass, and was probably named after him.