By Joseph Weber, The Washington Times
North Carolina was not expected to be a hotbed of political activity this midterm season, but both parties are dealing with unexpected drama and intrigue in the race for the House seat held by Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell.
A union-backed effort to start a third party in the state to punish conservative Democrats has stalled, but Wendell Fant, an Iraq War veteran and former member of Mr. Kissell’s staff, is being wooed by the state’s labor movement who want to back his independent run for the seat.
On the Republican side, the “tea party”-backed candidate Tim D’Annunzio is locked in a primary runoff with former television sportscaster Harold Johnson, who is backed by the party establishment. GOP leaders are fearful Mr. D’Annunzio’s colorful background will undermine their effort to unseat the freshman Democrat in a district the party had dominated for decades before 2008. The GOP runoff will be held June 22.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reportedthat party leaders publicized court documents about Mr. D’Annunzio’s past legal, marital and business troubles and denounced him as unfit for office.
“Mr. D’Annunzio has disqualified himself by his background, his record and his behavior,” said Tom Fetzer, North Carolina’s Republican Party chairman. He said the party embraces the tea party but doesn’t believe a person with such a checkered past should be the party’s nominee.
In Hoke County divorce records, Mr. D’Annunzio’s wife said in 1995 that he had claimed to be the Messiah, had traveled to New Jersey to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000-mile-high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona. A doctor’s evaluation the following month said Mr. D’Annunzio used marijuana almost daily, had been living with another woman for several months, had once been in drug treatment for heroin dependence and was jailed a couple of times as a teenager.
Mr. D’Annunzio, who outpolled Mr. Johnson in the primary but did not reach the threshold to avoid a runoff, responded Wednesday by canceling a previously scheduled debate with his Republican rival.
“Based on our attorney’s advice and due to the collaboration between the Harold Johnson campaign and the news media to use partial truth, innuendo and accusations to unfairly smear me, I have decided to withdraw from the debate,” he said.
To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jun/3/drama-plays-out-in-nc-district/
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