As ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the census, U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry of Cherryville hasn't missed many opportunities to encourage people to take part. But two GOP rivals are crying foul over his latest attempt.
McHenry sent a letter to 100,000 district households urging them to fill out census questionnaires that start arriving next week.
Republican candidate Vance Patterson of Morganton called the mailer "outrageous and inexcusable" and called for McHenry to resign his committee position.
And GOP rival Scott Keadle of Mooresville said McHenry used the mailing "for political purposes." In today's Morganton News Herald, he calls the mailings "an abuse of the franking privilege" that will "add to the mountain of bills that McHenry and the Washington politicians have piled on the struggling taxpayers in this district."
Parker Poling, McHenry's chief of staff, called the charges "ridiculous." She said her office sent them to district voters regardless of party affiliation.
"Our office sent a reminder to our constituents to participate in the constitutionally-mandated census," she says. "Each person who responds to the census by mail saves the government hundreds of dollars in follow-up costs. We're going to continue to communicate with citizens of the 10th District, regardless of political games by others."