Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The flip side for Larry Kissell?

Democratic U.S. Rep Larry Kissell has been getting hammered from both sides lately.

On the one hand, Republicans running for his seat have bashed him. So have African American activists in his 8th District, who went so far last week as to announce a write-in candidate to replace him.

But Kissell also claims the support of a group unlikely to support many Democratic candidates. The campaign features them on a web site called

It includes testimonials from registered Republicans like Roddey Dowd Jr., the Charlotte industrialist who recently hosted Mitt Romney at his Charlotte Pipe and Foundry plant. "Principle always trumps convenience," Down says in a blurb on the site.

The list includes CEOs and business owners. And people like Timothy Rowe, a tax accountant from Wingate.

“I am 70 years old and have been a registered Republican my entire life and voted in every election," he says on the site. "Congressman Kissell is the first Democrat I would vote for and support financially.... I appreciate his commitment to our armed services families."

With a lot of Republicans gunning for him, and many Democrats opposing him, Kissell needs all the help he can get.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Huckabee endorses Pittenger (after saving his life)

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has endorsed 9th District congressional candidate Robert Pittenger. It's not the first favor the former Arkansas governor has done for him.

In 2008 Pittenger, then a candidate for lieutenant governor, was on the dais eating lunch at the state GOP convention in Greensboro. Rep. Howard Coble, who was sitting next to him, cracked a joke. When Pittenger started laughing, part of his lunch lodged in his throat.

Huckabee, on other end, heard the commotion and rushed over, performing a Heimlich maneuver that cleared Pittenger's throat.

"To me this is just typical Mike Huckabee," Pittenger said at the time. "He's just a decent fun guy who cares about people."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pittenger critics question 2003 vote, and promise

Republican Jim Pendergraph is calling for a federal investigation over 9th District opponent Robert Pittenger's 2003 Senate vote that involved property he owned at the time.

And the Waxhaw town commission is asking Pittenger to donate land he promised to that same year.

Pendergraph called for a federal probe into what he called "the apparent case of public corruption" involving Pittenger's 2003 vote. Pittenger, then in the Senate, voted on a bill that annexed property owned by a partnership he led into the town of Waxhaw. The property's value increased as a result.

"We are confident that fair mined people will reject his last minute slanders and smears," said Pittenger spokesman Brian Mullis. "The simple truth is that this issue was reviewed by a Democrat-controlled independent legislative ethics committee five years ago, and nothing came of it."

Meanwhile the town manager of Waxhaw sent Pittenger a letter asking, in effect: Where's our land?

In 2003 Pittenger told town officials he was giving them 30 acres of land for a park or possible school site. According to the town, and deeds, the tract was never transferred.

"The council felt where is this land that belongs to the town of Waxhaw, to the people, and lo and behold it has not been transferred," said Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick.

Pittenger's campaign had no immediate response. It released a 2003 letter from the then-mayor thanking him for the land donation.

UPDATE: From Pittenger campaign spokesman Brian Mullis: "We have given public notice of a gift. (Former Mayor Jack) Hemby didn’t request a deed at the time because it was unknown of the future use or location of the property. We are happy to provide further assurance if needed to the Town and the County, agreed to by Mr. Hemby and Robert Pittenger."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Outside money pours into 8th District

The 8th Congressional District was already one of the biggest recipients of outside money in North Carolina. Now it's one of the biggest in the country.

Today a group called the American Action Network is dropping $300,000 into TV ads targeting Republican Scott Keadle. He faces Richard Hudson in Tuesday's GOP runoff. The Network is one of two party establishment groups helping Hudson, a former Capitol Hill staffer, in the runoff.

The YG Action Group, associated with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, has poured in more than $400,000 on Hudson's behalf this month alone.

But Keadle isn't defenseless.

The Club for Growth has spent around $700,000 on ads supporting him and opposing Hudson.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, only three districts in the country have seen more outside spending.