Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Subtle swipes at Graham as ex-rival endorses Battle

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'."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Malcolm Graham campaign HQ gets 'Happy'

U.S. Rep and Civil Rights veteran John Lewis got happy. So did Malcolm Graham.

Graham, a Charlotte Democrat running for Congress in the 12th District, released a video Friday grooving along with his staff and Johnson C. Smith volunteers to "Happy," an infectious tune by Pharrell Williams.

The video shows Graham and the rest of his crew dancing around his campaign headquarters on a "stress-free Friday."

"This is serious stuff," he said of the race. "You've got to have fun."

The song has inspired a lot of videos, including one that showed the 74-year-old Lewis dancing to the tune.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Congressional games: Varsity vs JV?

Tuesday's 12th District congressional forum was already about an hour old when two candidates started with the metaphors.

"We're not giving out a lifetime achievement award," George Battle III told the audience at the Tuesday Morning Forum.

Battle, a first-time candidate, was talking about state Sen. Malcolm Graham, who had touted his experience in the legislature, the community and on Charlotte City Council.

"I don't want a lifetime achievement award," Graham shot back. "If we want to send experience (to Washington) now is not the time to send the junior varsity." After all, he said, experience counts.

Then it was Battle's turn.

"Sen. Graham has talked about experience," he said. "He's right. I don't have any experience compiling one of the Senate's worst attendance records over the last 10 years (and) one of the worst effectiveness rankings.

"It's always been my philosophy that I'd rather be a starter on the junior varsity than on the bench on the varsity."

New rankings by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research show Graham ranked 42nd of 50 senators in attendance last session, missing 10 of the 106 legislative days. The same survey ranked him 44th in effectiveness.

(Graham pointed to an NAACP scorecard, which gave him a grade of 96 for the last session.)

Graham and Battle were the only ones of seven Democratic candidates to show up at the forum. Among the missing" James "Smuggie" Mitchell. The forum came a day after he lost a bid to be appointed mayor, a job that went instead to Sen. Dan Clodfelter.