Tim D'Annunzio, the colorful Republican candidate currently locked in a runoff to represent North Carolina's 8th Congressional District in November, exchanged barbs with radio host Keith Larson during a recent interview on Charlotte's WBT.
The nearly breathless war of attrition began with D'Annunzio accusing Larson of lending his voice to an ad run by opponent Harold Johnson's campaign that attacked him on a variety of charges that have recently plagued the self-funded businessman.
D'Annunzio sounded incensed by the claims of the campaign ad, which he maintained throughout the hour and 15 minute interview that Larson had been behind.
"If we let deranged, demented people like you choose who we have for politicians, we'll continue to have dunces and political hacks from here into the future," D'Annunzio charged. "If people wake up and see through you and your types then maybe we'll wind up with people who have the balls to get up there and really fight for what the people need."
"You're probably going to hell someday for doing this," D'Annunzio continued. "There's a special place in hell for people like you."
The program then shifted to listener calls, which were all from people who seemed to believe that D'Annunzio was showing his true colors, and that those colors -- despite the supposed dullness of Harold Johnson -- were not ones they could stand behind.
"Tim, I voted for you, but you have convinced me to not vote for you now. You are your own worst enemy," one caller said. "God gave use two ears and one month and you need to use it proportionally."
D'Annunzio then accused the caller of being a plant and implied that the others were being screened so that only his detractors were getting on the air.
When the ad in question was finally played, Larson responded to D'Annunzio's allegations more angrily:
"Of course that's not me, everyone who's listening knows that's not me," Larson said. "You are truly delusional. I mean, you are truly, call 911, get the straight jacket, get this guy, take away the butter knives. You are a delusional, deranged human being."
Despite the fact that his political campaign appeared to be collapsing around him while he argued with Larson, D'Annunzio stayed on the air.
"Calls are streaming into my offices of people dropping support," D'Annunzio told Larson. "And emails."
Larson asked D'Annunzio why he though that might be the case.
"This is what your show does to people," D'Annunzio reasoned.
Toward the end of the interview, D'Annunzio attempted to shift the discussion toward his positions on the issues, but Larson argued that it was too late.
"I don't know that your positions on the issues matter anymore," Larson said. "I think even more important than a person's positions on issues is who the person is, and I think the reason people are calling your office saying they're not going to support you is because of the simple fact that they've gotten to know who you are."
D'Annunzio told the Charlotte Observer after the interview that it would "take a miracle" for him to win the June 22nd primary runoff. D'Annunzio already trailed Johnson by 10 points in a poll taken before the radio exchange.
House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia and all five GOP House members from North Carolina will all be attending a Capitol Hill fundraiser for Harold Johnson Thursday night.
Listen to the whole interview here.
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