Jim Pendergraph Loses Endorsement After Obama Birther Claims
N.C. congressional candidate loses endorsement after questioning Obama’s birthplace.
The Charlotte Observer recently endorsed Jim Pendergraph for North Carolina Congress. The paper commended the Republican candidate for being a “strong conservative voice” only to take back its endorsement on Friday after Pendergraph teamed up with notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., to suggest that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and, thus, isn’t legitimately president of the United States.
“I have reason to be suspicious,” Pendergraph, a former sheriff, said while discussing the birther claims. “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.”
Arpaio, who recently visited Charlotte, N.C., to stump for Pendergraph, has suggested that Obama’s birth certificate was forged. It’s a sensational claim that Pendergraph failed to criticize. While the congressional candidate didn’t say for sure that Obama’s birth certificate had been forged, he did point out, “I’ve been around long enough to know people can forge anything.”
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For that move and others, the Charlotte Observer decided to withdraw its endorsement of Pendergraph. The paper’s editorial board explained its decision as follows:
“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.”
Given that the state’s Republican primary takes place May 8, the Charlotte Observer’s move must have come as a blow to Pendergraph. Let this be a cautionary tale to other politicians who veer to the far right to pick up votes.