Politics & Government

Malcolm Graham targeted in 12th District race

Democratic congressional candidate Malcolm Graham continued to find himself a target Thursday night, this time over geography.

Graham was one of five 12th District Democratic candidates who appeared at a forum sponsored by party officials in the district that stretches from Charlotte to Greensboro.

A sixth candidate, Alma Adams, was represented by a surrogate at the forum at a Beatties Ford Road church.

The candidates, three from Charlotte, two from Guilford County and one from Forsyth County, were asked if a Charlottean should be the one to succeed longtime Rep. Mel Watt of Charlotte.

“Unlike Mr. Graham, I do not believe this seat should be held by a Charlottean necessarily,” said Curtis Osborne, a Charlotte lawyer.

Graham, a state senator, told the Observer in March that, “It’s important that this seat remain in Mecklenburg.”

Thursday night he said, “I think the best candidate is from Charlotte – me.”

Graham has also been targeted by at least one group supporting Adams.

A California-based super PAC called Progressive Kick is spending over $50,000 against Graham. One of its mailers features a milk carton with Graham’s picture under the word “Missing.” It calls him “a No-Show in Senate Job.”

The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research found that Graham missed all or part of 10 of 106 legislative days in 2013. That tied him for 42nd in attendance in the 50-member Senate.

“It’s beat up on Malcolm week,” Graham said Thursday. “I’m only focusing on things we can control.”

Graham has defended his attendance saying he had to meet the needs of his job and family.

The candidates, who included George Battle of Charlotte, Marcus Brandon of High Point, and Rajive Patel of Winston-Salem, generally agreed on issues from immigration to minimum wage to equal pay for women.

One exception was same-sex marriage.

While his rivals all endorsed it, Osborne said he supports it in states where it’s the law. That doesn’t include North Carolina. He said he would support civil unions in North Carolina because marriage in the state legally is between a man and a woman.

Battle disagreed.

“Why would I want to deny anybody else the right to be with the person they love?” he said.