What a run for Republican Jim Pendergraph. 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.
Not infrequently, the Observer endorses candidates with whom we do not agree on all, or even most, of the issues. That is because we consider the views of the constituents the candidate seeks to represent. We often endorsed Rep. Sue Myrick using that logic. When choosing among 10 Republicans in the 9th District race, we considered not only the extent to which we agreed with the candidate but the extent to which he represented the views of the conservative 9th District. We seek a candidate with integrity, intellect, common sense and sincerity, and whose views are not so extreme as to not reflect his district.
Pendergraph came off as a decided moderate in our endorsement process, a comportment not entirely inconsistent with his work the past year-plus as a Mecklenburg County commissioner. He sounded reasonable on immigration, saying that illegal immigrants who are already here should be allowed to stay here. He supported comprehensive immigration reform and allowing current illegal immigrants to pay some penalty and then have a path to citizenship.
He also talked about his disdain for the polarization that plagues Washington today. He said balancing the budget would require something like the Bowles-Simpson plan, and specifically said taxes may have to rise as part of a comprehensive plan to erase the deficit. “Let’s be honest – it’s not going to be without pain for all of us,” he said.
Then he rallied in Huntersville with Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Melvillian character on a never-ending crusade against Latinos. The only thing that energizes Arpaio more than stroking his ego is profiling Hispanics. The U.S. Justice Department found Arpaio led “a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos” and one expert in the report said Arpaio led the worst racial profiling in U.S. history.
Pendergraph pandered further this week by saying he has “reason to be suspicious” about whether President Obama was born in the United States. “… Generally when there’s smoke, there’s got to be fire somewhere,” he said, even as he acknowledged “I haven’t seen the facts.”
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.
Peacock, Killian strong
Republican voters have at least two better choices in Tuesday’s primary. Former Charlotte City Council member Edwin Peacock brings a thoughtful, moderate approach to issues. He seeks to solve problems rather than be paralyzed by partisanship. And state Rep. Ric Killian brings broad experience in public office and the military. A colonel in the Army Reserve who has spent significant time in Afghanistan, Killian understands security matters. He is earnest and forthright and would bring a sensible conservatism to Congress.