Mumpower runs under unusual terms

Carl Mumpower mentions that he's a psychiatrist, and he knows how to be soft-spoken.

But soothing acceptance was not what he was shooting for last week when he held his campaign hostage until his demands were met.

The Republican congressional candidate from Asheville “suspended” his campaign until local leaders of his own party declared, in writing, that they shared his core principles. So many actually did that, after a few days of limbo, he declared himself an active campaigner again on Friday.

“I have a reputation for being tenacious about things that matter,” said Mumpower, an Asheville City Council member who is trying to unseat freshman Rep. Heather Shuler, a Democrat from Waynesville.

Mumpower said he is trying to help his party focus.

“The Republican Party has betrayed the promises and principles on which it's founded,” he said.

Publicity stunt or not, it's rooted in a real intra-party dispute that can be traced in part to Mumpower saying earlier this year that he wanted President Bush to be impeached for failing to protect the nation's borders.

“You can imagine how my party reacted to that,” he said.

He's also angry at folks like Sens. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., for voting to override a presidential veto of what Mumpower calls “an absurdly expensive pork-laden bill that's about everything but farming.”

Stephen Duncan, the 11th District Republican chairman, said local leaders were happy to “reaffirm what our party stands for and do our part to draw attention to these things to show why we're different than the Democrats.”

But he acknowledged it might seem like his people are rather divided.

“Actually, it's taken a little swallowing to understand what is being attempted here,” Duncan said. “There are some who were caught by surprise because they supported these principles, always have.”

The principles, by the way, call for free enterprise, fiscal responsibility and dignity, among others.