Congressman Larry Kissell is under fire from local Democrats.
He told the Charlotte Observer July 2 that he did not plan to endorse President Barack Obama for the election this November. He also told the paper that he may not attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
“It’s inexcusable what he did,” local well-known Democrat and president of the Anson County NAACP Donnie Lewis said. She’s also on the county Democratic party’s board. “If a person is supposed to stand for something, stand all the way.”
“I don’t know why he did that,” she added. “If you lose, lose being the best Democrat that you can be.”
“I like being able to do what’s necessary without any outside influences,” former Board of Education member Leon Gatewood said. He resigned from the body because he felt he could help the community more outside of elected office. Gatewoood said he supports President Obama.
“I was disappointed,” he said of the article on Kissell’s stance.
“We have met concerning that and we will make a public presentation,” Anson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Vancine Sturdivant said. She would not elaborate.
She said the 8th District Black Leadership Caucus and her PAC (political action council) will make a statement July 11 at 7 p.m. in the NAACP building in Hamlet.
“He isn’t worried about endorsing anyone in any race,” Kissell’s communications director Christopher Schuler said. “Congressman Kissell is focused on his own race and continuing to work hard on behalf of the people of the 8th District.”
Kissell is facing a tight race in November. The 8th District was redrawn in 2010 by the North Carolina General Assembly and voter demographics have shifted in a manner that will make his re-election more difficult.
Kissell has taken heat from his party in the past. He refused to vote for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, citing cuts to Medicare. He later refused to support an effort by Republicans in Congress to overturn the bill.
Who he will face in November is still up in the air. Republicans Richard Hudson and Scott Keadle are facing off in a second primary July 17 for the party’s nomination in the race. Early voting in that primary will go on until July 14.