Republican Lou Huddleston today called on 8th Congressional District rival Tim D'Annunzio to leave the race, saying "he hasn't shown the disposition and the temperament that I believe voters would expect from someone who wants to be their congressman."
"If Tim can't change the way he is he ought to bow out of the race," Huddleston told the Observer.
D'Annunzio spokeswoman Lauren Slepian says her candidate has no intention of doing so.
"Americans are looking for a representative who will fight for them in Washington," she said, "and Tim's not going to back down."
Huddleston's comments were the most pointed public criticism yet by any of the six Republicans in the May 4 primary. It comes on the heels of a flap at a weekend candidate forum in Fayetteville.
Candidates drew cards with random questions. When Huddleston of Fayetteville was asked if he supports eliminating several federal agencies (as D'Annunzio does), he replied without mentioning D'Annunzio. When D'Annunzio tried to respond, organizers told him that according to their ground rules, he couldn't. The party chair grabbed his microphone. He walked off the stage.
"When you walk off of a stage because you're not happy about something ... you're walking away from voters, you're disrespecting voters," Huddleston said.
Slepian pointed to a D'Annunzio campaign poll that shows Huddleston's support in the low single digits.