Huffpost Politics

Jim Pendergraph's Charlotte Observer Endorsement Retracted

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For one Republican congressional candidate, having Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a surrogate may do more harm than good.

Jim Pendergraph, who is running in North Carolina's 9th Congressional district, courted controversy last weekend when he brought Arpaio to a campaign event. Arpaio trotted out his birther theories about President Obama, and Pendergraph later said he is "suspicious" the president's birth certificate may be forged.

The Charlotte Observer endorsed Pendergraph last week, calling him "conservative" and "pragmatic," but Friday the paper issued a biting retraction:

After winning the Observer’s endorsement in his bid for Congress, he has done nothing but embarrass us and himself.

By buddying up to one of America’s more hateful egomaniacs and then joining with fringe “birthers” to question President Obama’s citizenship, Pendergraph has contradicted much of what he told the Observer’s editorial board in his endorsement interview last month. As a result, we have lost faith in him, and urge voters to consider Edwin Peacock or Ric Killian in the 9th Congressional District race.

The paper goes on to eviscerate Pendergraph over his birther remarks and his association with Arpaio, "a Melvillian character on a never-ending crusade against Latinos."

"It all gives one the sense that Pendergraph will say whatever a given audience wants to hear, if it will help him get elected. That makes how he would act in Congress a mystery," the editorial board concludes.

Pendergraph told the Observer last week that he has his doubts about whether Obama was born in the United States.

“I have reason to be suspicious,” he said. “But I don’t know. I haven’t seen the facts. I think there’s a lot of smoke and generally when there’s smoke there’s got to be fire somewhere.”

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