Elect 2012: Opponents endorse Keadle for runoff

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2012

By Karissa Minn
CHINA GROVE — Dr. Scott Keadle has been endorsed by two of his Republican primary opponents in the runoff election against Richard Hudson.
Early Wednesday afternoon, Vernon Robinson and Dr. John Whitley announced their support for Keadle at Gary’s Barbecue in China Grove.
“The reality is that this country wants change,” Robinson said at the impromptu press conference. “Scott Keadle is the change agent, and Richard is for the status quo, which would be disastrous for this country.”
Robinson is a former Winston-Salem City Council member who moved to Concord last year.
Whitley, a Fairmont neurosurgeon, said he’s confident that Keadle will defeat Richard Hudson in the runoff and U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell in the fall.
“We have a North Carolinian who is going to be running against the Washington insider in the runoff election, and the contrast and the differences could not be more clear,” Whitley said. “Scott will absolutely take Washington to task.”
Hudson, owner of a Concord consulting business, was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s primary race, with 32 percent of the vote compared to Keadle’s 22 percent.
But he didn’t make it over the 40 percent threshold to avoid a runoff election, and Keadle says he plans to take advantage of that.
“I think the people stood up — 68 percent of them — and said, ‘We don’t want someone from D.C. to come down here to be our congressman,’” Keadle said.
Both Keadle and Hudson frame the runoff as a competition between a true voice for the 8th district and an outsider influenced by Washington, D.C. They just disagree on who’s who.
Keadle lives in Mooresville, just outside the district lines.
He has worked in Salisbury for 22 years at his dental practice, where Keadle says he’s met more than 10,000 local patients.
Hudson is a former Congressional aide who lived in the nation’s capital for several years before moving to Concord in 2011.
Hudson has emphasized that he was raised in North Carolina from the age of 4, has lived in Concord before and considers it his home.
Chris Carter, Hudson’s campaign manager, released a statement Wednesday saying Hudson is “a candidate from the district with deep ties to the district.”
“I believe voters will see this for what it is — just another example of candidates coming from outside the district supporting a candidate who lives outside the district and is funded by a D.C. group completely outside the district,” Carter said.
Keadle is backed by two Washington-based political action committees — the Madison Project and the Club for Growth. Hudson has the support of the Young Guns Action Fund, which is also based in the nation’s capital.
Robinson finished third in Tuesday’s primary with 18 percent of the vote, and Whitley received 13 percent.
Although N.C. Rep. Fred Steen received just 14 percent of the vote district-wide, he carried Rowan County with 38 percent.
“I think it’s wonderful that people from Rowan County came out to support Fred Steen,” Keadle said. “I hope that I will get their support as well.”
Steen has not publicly endorsed either runoff candidate and did not return calls for comment Wednesday.
In a statement sent by a campaign staffer, Steen called the last six months “an interesting journey.”
“I still have work to do in Raleigh,” Steen said. “I will continue to work for Rowan County and its citizens.”
He thanked his family for supporting him during his 16 years in public office.
“I would like to thank all of the volunteers who made phones calls, walked neighborhoods and worked precincts for my campaign,” Steen said. “I am blessed to have so many friends and supporters.”
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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