Democrat George Battle III trotted out the endorsements Wednesday, with one ex-rival and a handful of other notable names backing his campaign in the 12th District Congressional District.
Battle won the endorsement of James "Smuggie" Mitchell, who dropped out of the 12th District race earlier this month. They were joined at a news conference by state Rep. Rodney Moore, former District Attorney Peter Gilchrist and Mecklenburg Commissioner Vilma Leake.
Battle, a political newcomer, sought to deflect concerns over his lack of experience in a race that features longtime legislators Alma Adams and Malcolm Graham.
"The race is not about what happened in the last 25 years," he said, "it's about what's going to happen in the next 25 years."
Without naming Graham, he went on to say he rejects the idea that "you an go hold an office, not show up, not be effective" and be qualified for another office. Graham, a senator, has been criticized for absences and for ranking by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research as the 44th most effective of 50 senators.
Battle supporters took other indirect swipes to a reporter.
Moore, a state House member who works with Graham in Raleigh, called Battle "the best person we can trust to go to Washington."
And Mitchell, Graham's former city council colleague, said Battle has the background and skills to go to Congress. Reminded that he served alongside Graham, he said, "In a way that should tell you something, too."
Graham recalled that Mitchell supported his opponent when he first ran for the Senate in 2004.
"I know who my supporters are," he said. "I know where my currency comes from, it comes from the people. James Mithcell supported Fountain Odom and here I stand. I wish everyone could support me. That's not possible. All I need is 51 percent to support me. I think the record speaks for itself....
"It's just Smuggie being Smuggie. He's all over the place.... And as related to George Battle, when you don't have a record yourself you have to talk about somebody else's record. If he would take his community service to the bank it would be returned 'not sufficient'."