The woman who chaired Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell's two congressional campaigns has turned against him.
Dannie Montgomery, a teacher from Anson County who served as first vice chair of the N.C. Democratic Party, said in a news release today that Kissell "has turned his back on the grassroots supporters who propelled him to office."
She said Kissell has alienated some African American leaders in the 8th District, which could dampen black turnout. She said she has encouraged Charlotte lawyer Chris Kouri to challenge Kissell. Kouri ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2002 against Republican Robin Hayes.
Her defection is the latest sign of liberal disaffection with Kissell. His vote against a Democratic health care bill last fall angered many on the left. But how much harm it caused him is questionable.
A polls last month by Raleigh's Public Policy Polling found that just 29 percent of his constituents knew how he voted on health care.
"That finding is a good reminder that the average voter does not follow politics very closely," poll director Tom Jensen said at the time. "Kissell ... may find himself in better shape once more voters in his district become aware of how he voted on health care. His approval with those who know he voted against it is 52 percent compared to 44 percent with those who think he supported the bill. In a district where a majority are opposed to the Democratic health care plan he cast the right vote for his political future."
Meanwhile a Democrat from Fayetteville plans to challenge Kissell. Writer Nancy Shakir said she's disappointed in his votes.
Through a spokeswoman, Kissell declined comment.