• 70°

Neal and Hagan seek spot against Dole

By Mike Baker
Associated Press
GREENSBORO ó Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jim Neal said recently he is the only party hopeful capable of beating Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, dismissing his chief rival Kay Hagan as just another political insider.
Hagan, a state senator from Greensboro, has built a wide lead in both polling and fundraising with the support of Democratic leadership. But Neal said in the race’s only televised debate, one week before the North Carolina primary, that he can beat Dole because he offers something different.
“We have to offer a contrast,” Neal said. “Demo-crats win on contrast and standing firm on values. And that’s what I’m about.”
Hagan, meanwhile, said she believes any Democrat has a good chance of defeating Dole in the November election. But she vowed to be that candidate, contrasting herself with Dole on issues such as the minimum wage, financial aid for students and veterans benefits.
Neal repeatedly tried to engage Hagan during the hour-long debate moderated by students on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Spartan TV. And while Hagan tried to focus her responses on Dole, she also contrasted herself with her Democratic competitors, including Lumber-ton attorney Marcus Williams and Moncure podiatrist Howard Staley.
Hagan, contrary to the other three candidates on stage, would not dismiss the possibility of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a way to soften soaring gas prices ó an idea often proposed by Republicans but rejected by congressional Democrats.
“I think that’s an issue of a cost-benefit ratio,” Hagan said. “You’ve got to look at how much oil is there, how long it will last and what is the risk from an environmental standpoint. I will really study the cost-benefit analysis.”
The veteran lawmaker said the more urgent priority was finding alternative sources of energy. She also advocated eliminating incentives for oil companies.
Neal, a Chapel Hill corporate financial adviser, immediately said he opposes drilling in Alaska, suggesting the nation should tap into the nation’s large strategic petroleum reserve first. President Bush favors continuing pumping oil into the reserve in case of an international disruption in oil markets.
“I don’t believe we can begin talking about plundering our natural environment in order to generate more oil on the marketplace,” said Neal, an entrepreneur.
Williams cited data indicating the oil in the wildlife refuge would take years to develop and do little to influence gas prices. Staley said drilling for oil and would only continue a cycle of President Bush’s energy policy, which he dubbed “Drill until you’re sick. Get all the oil out of the earth you can.”
“It’s only led to more consumption and more pollution,” Staley said.
Two Alaska Republicans introduced a measure last month to open drilling in the protected area in the northeastern part of their state should oil prices reach $125 a barrel for five straight days. And on Tuesday, Bush sought to blame Congress for high energy prices and renewed his call for drilling in the wildlife refuge.
The Energy Information Administration estimated in 2005 that it would take about a decade to begin pulling oil out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The federal agency said by 2025 the oil from the refuge would only move gasoline prices by less than a penny a gallon in 2003 dollars.
Tuesday’s debate was only the second of the primary race, the first coming on radio last month. Neal accused Hagan of avoiding debates when she backed away from a proposed meeting hosted by WTVD-TV in Durham. Her campaign said at the time it would only accept a debate in which all five candidates were invited.
Duskin Lassiter, a Lexington trucker, did not participate in the UNC-Greensboro event.
Hagan has built her lead in statewide polls with a large television advertising buy and reported last week she still had more than $317,000 cash on hand in mid-April. Neal reported having just over $18,000 while the others have reported having no more than just a couple hundred dollars.
Dole has already banked about $3.2 million for her re-election bid and has a wide lead over her challenger.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: April 13

Coronavirus

County switches vaccines for Livingstone clinic after federal, state guidance

Coronavirus

US recommends ‘pause’ for J&J vaccine over clot reports

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

Education

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options