By Joseph Weber, The Washington Times
A potentially divisive challenge to incumbent North Carolina Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell from the left fizzled out Friday when challenger Wendell Fant said he would not launch an independent bid for the seat.
The decision by Mr. Fant, a formerÂ KissellÂ staffer,Â marks the second unsuccessful attempt by the union-backed North Carolina Families First group toÂ oust Mr. Kissell. Liberal and labor groups had been particularly upset by the freshman Democrat’s vote against President Obama’s health care overhaul plan earlier this year
The group â€” backed by the powerfulÂ Service Employees International Union and its localÂ affiliate â€” first attempted to create an independent party to run candidates against Mr. Kissell and two other moderate Democrats, Reps. Mike McIntyre and Health Shuler. All three opposed the final health care bill. But backers failed to collect the requisite 85,000 votes to form a third party.
However, the group managed to collect at least 17,000Â valid signatures to put Mr. Fant on the ballot. The group cannot substitute another candidate for Mr. Fant.
Mr. Fant reportedly said he wanted to “put my family ahead of my own political ambitions.” He had until Friday to file his paperwork and pay his fee to the state.
His decision not to run sets up a two-man race between Mr. Kissell and Republican candidateÂ Harold JohnsonÂ for the 8th District seat. The TV sportscaster defeated “tea party”-backed candidateÂ Tim D’Annunzio in a run-off vote Tuesday, and Republicans think they have a good chance of winning the seat.
State Democratic Party leaders did not support the union effort, fearing that Mr. Fant could have taken away votes from Mr. Kissell in the general election.
Mr. Fant, an Iraq war veteran, resigned from Mr. Kissell’s office last month amid reports he used his House computer to do personal business, including monitor a claim with the Veterans Affairs Department. Mr. Fant acknowledged he should have done things differently, but said he was not trying to use his political position to influence his application.
Don’t let the MSM censor your news as America becomes Great Again. Over 500,000 Americans receive our daily dose of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with Breaking News direct to their inbox—and you can too. Sign up to receive news and views from The 1776Coalition!
We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.