Few people are as publicly identified with the so-called birther issue as Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has his own posse on the case.
Last weekend, Arpaio shared his skepticism about President Barack Obamas birthplace and his eligibility for the White House when he was in Charlotte campaigning for Republican congressional candidate Jim Pendergraph.
So what does Pendergraph, and for that matter other 9th District candidates, think of Obamas legitimacy?
I have reason to be suspicious, he said. But I dont know. I havent seen the facts. I think theres a lot of smoke and generally when theres smoke theres got to be fire somewhere.
Obama sought to put questions about his birthplace aside last year when he released a birth certificate from Hawaii. For many people, that settled the issue.
Even Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus last year declared the issue a distraction and said, the president was born in the United States.
But in March, Arpaios group declared the birth certificate a forgery.
While Pendergraph said hes not sure it is, he said, Ive been around long enough to know people can forge anything.
Of eight other 9th District Republicans reached, some share Arpaios skepticism. Others give Obama the benefit of the doubt.
Edwin Peacock, a former city council member, said he definitely believes Obama was born in the U.S. Financial adviser Jon Gauthier said he assumes Obamas citizenship until we prove otherwise. And Ken Leonczyk, a minister, takes Obama at his word until I see evidence to the contrary.
But Richard Lynch of Belmont said, While I want to believe that Mr. Obama is a natural-born citizen, I must admit that the evidence leaves me with doubt.
Some candidates called the issue a distraction.
Republicans should be focusing on demonstrating how his policies are hurting America, not his birthplace, said insurance broker Mike Steinberg. If absolute proof turns up that he is not a naturally born citizen than it needs to be dealt with constitutionally.
Dan Barry, an insurance executive, and state Rep. Ric Killian said they prefer to talk about jobs and the economy. Real estate investor Robert Pittenger said hes more concerned with Obamas policies. Charlotte city councilman Andy Dulin could not be reached.