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Apr 30, 2004
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ANDY THOMAS: Feuding: Political Discord Is One Thing, Vandalism Another

Rep. Richard Morgan, who holds the N.C. House District 52 seat, has had no competition for his seat for several years. This year, however, he is opposed by peppy and capable Peggy Crutchfield.

The primary runoff is slated for Tuesday, July 20. So campaigning is well under way for both candidates, including print and other advertising. Morgan’s campaign fund is loaded (with lots of out-of state contributions), and he is using it liberally. Including two large billboards on NC 211. Ms. Crutchfield’s campaign resources are minimal, but she has been placing ads in strategic places.

Recently she put up a sign out on N.C. 211, courtesy of a non-partisan businessman who provides his property for promoting such things as the Crutchfield candidacy. Shortly after her sign was posted, it was broken down and its chopped-up remains were moved nearer the owner’s office. Crutchfield decided not to file a police report, and there was no report of any vehicular problems in that vicinity.

There are certain clues which strongly suggest that this mysterious removal of Peggy Crutchfield’s campaign sign was not an accident.

I am not accusing anyone of the act of tearing down the sign, because there is no proof. But it just seems fishy. A new Crutchfield sign has been erected, this time in cement postholes, with a “No Trespassing” marker at the base.

I’m a Republican, and I don’t like to see Republicans fighting with each other. It’s one thing to debate and differ with one another, but vandalism?

Embarrassing. Richard Nixon did a great job in the White House, including breaking down the Bamboo Curtain with China, but his Watergate scenario was too much even for loyal supporters. Funny that there aren’t any memorable and similar stories regarding Democrats. The Kerry, Dean and Edwards confrontations were relatively civil. Certainly no sabotage that we’re aware of.

Well, now that it’s off my chest, let’s just assume that Peggy’s sign was ruined and transported by an unusual, quick and local mini-tornado, and get on with it.

I can’t imagine that supporters of a co-speaker of the N.C. House would plot to physically try to attack their opponent’s campaign. This is kid stuff.

But then there was verbal sortie issued by Gen. Thurman, who lambasted Ms. Crutchfield and called her a “wannabe” in a letter to the editor printed by The Pilot. Here is a good Republican who hasn’t bothered to get to know Peggy Crutchfield and spouts off as generals can do.

His rhetoric surprised me, because I always held general officers in the military in very high esteem. Hell, if I’d stayed in the service, I might have been a general.

I wrote the general a personal note that said I was disappointed in his lack of intelligence in at least reviewing what the other side had to say. And yes, I told him that I was glad I never had to serve under him. I don’t know the man. I’m sure he is charming. Will he back Peggy Crutchfield when she is elected?

But Richard Morgan and his diminutive group of supporters should be scared. Clever opponent Crutchfield has initiated a poll that says he is in deep trouble. Mr. Morgan has advanced the cause of Richard Morgan, not his electorates in Moore County and elsewhere in District 52. The poll, designed and executed by Opinion Research of Warrenton, Va., canvassed a total of 400 Republican voters in the district

I find it incredible that Morgan’s highly paid campaign consultant thinks the fact that a 14-year incumbent having only a 25-30 percent re-elect rate in a Republican primary is a good thing! I mean, the guy had 94 percent name recognition. Seems to me that ifMorgan is doing such a great job, his re-elect number would be 70-90 percent among his fellow Republicans!My read of the poll as well as others is that Morgan is a “dead man walking.”

What should be a real concern to Morgan is the fact that many Republicans in the poll decided that they would vote for Peggy 52 percent to 19 percent once they realized that there was a credible alternative. Also, over half the respondents disapproved, or were not sure about, Morgan’s performance as a legislator. Sixty-eight percent of the sample said they would not vote for Morgan, or were not sure.

Richard’s campaign war chest is filled with special interest group funding, and he will undoubtedly not go down without a huge fight. But I sure hope it will not be a dirty one, with more sign damage.

Andy Thomas lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at dahtmuth58@aol.com.

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