It was four years ago that then-Republican Tim D'Annunzio first ran for office with a controversial, if memorable, run for Congress in the 8th District.
Now the Hoke County businessman is back -- as a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate. He faces a rare Libertarian primary with longtime activist Sean Haugh.
In 2008 D'Annunzio ran for the Republican nomination to take on then-Democratic Rep. Larry Kissell. He first made headlines with a "Machine-Gun Social" fundraiser, with a raffle that offered as a prize an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
D'Annunzio, a self-made millionaire, spent over a half-million dollars on the race. At one point only four Congressional candidates in the country had spent more.
He was far out of the GOP mainstream. On his blog, he called President Barack Obama,
Sen. Kay Hagan and other top Democrats "liberal leftist God haters." Strongly anti-abortion,
he invoked Hitler in once attacking the president's support of abortion rights.
"Obama," he wrote, "will be responsible for killing many more people before he
He had little love for reporters, whom he described as "demon beasts." During an interview on WBT radio, he told host Keith Larson that "there's a special place in hell for people like you." Larson called D'Annunzio "a delusional, deranged human being," and still the interview continued.
At one point then-GOP chairman Tom Fetzer took the unheard of step of calling D'Annunzio "unfit for public office at any
level." He lost to Republican Harold Johnson in a runoff.
In 2011 D'Annunzio led a tea party insurgency against former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes' bid for state GOP chairman. In 2012, he lost soundly to Democratic Rep. David Price as the GOP nominee in the 4th District.
A former Army paratrooper, D'Annunzio made a fortune making body armor for U.S. troops. In 2010 he was given to marshal language in the campaign and in a blog he called "Christ's War."
That could offer a contrast to Haugh, his Libertarian opponent.
Haugh said he plans to use his campaign "to urge people to turn away from violence as a solution for political or social problems.... So I'll be talking about ending wars both real and metaphorical."