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Davis’ e-mail draws rebuke

August 27, 2001 

Harnett County Rep. Don Davis continues to catch heat for an e-mail message he forwarded last week to his colleagues in the General Assembly.

Rep. Lesley Cox of Sanford, who shares the 19th state House district with Davis, assailed him on the floor of the House on Thursday, a day after three other lawmakers spoke against Davis. On Wednesday a state senator sent an e-mail in rebuttal to the one Davis sent Monday evening, and on Friday a minister in Durham called for Davis to be ousted from the legislature.

The e-mail Davis sent to lawmakers was written by a man in Colorado. It says that white men and Christianity made the United States great and the country has declined as their influence has diminished. It also says Catholics and state religions enslaved Europe. Davis said Tuesday that he agreed with some of the letter. On Wednesday, when he issued a public apology, he said the letter does not reflect his views and that he passed it along to show people the kind of material available on the Internet.

Cox and Davis share a district representing Lee, Harnett and part of Sampson counties. Cox is a Democrat, Davis a Republican.

“I want to apologize to you from our delegation, to the members of this House, to the Senate,” Cox said Thursday. “I’m shocked, I’m embarrassed by my colleague’s words. I’m embarrassed for my district. I’m embarrassed for my friends, and I’m embarrassed for myself. I should have said something yesterday, but it’s actually taken me this long to get my thoughts together.

“I’ve received e-mails and telephone calls and all kinds of conversation about what took place yesterday. I’ve even had some letters requesting my colleague resign. You know that’s up to him and that’s up to the people of our district, but I just want to stand before you and apologize to you, to tell you that I’m sorry. I want to apologize to my district, to my friends and quite frankly anyone within the sound of my voice. I want to say I’m sorry.”

Rep. Leo Daughtry, the head of the Republicans in the state House, spoke immediately after Cox and said lawmakers should let the matter rest.

“In respect to the e-mail message, I hope that we can move forward at this point and put that behind us,” he said. “Rep. Davis in a sincere way apologized to this body. He did all he could do to make amends to everyone here. And I think it’s time for us to move on with the budget and other serious matters we have and put this behind us.”

Greensboro state Sen. Bill Martin sent the e-mail in rebuttal to Davis’ message.

“Whose brand of Christianity is this? It’s not mine,” he wrote. “This seems to be the same brand of Christianity that I heard espoused by some radio ministers in the 1950s and 1960s -- interestingly, in so many ways they were almost indistinguishable from speeches made by ministers of the Ku Klux Klan.”

The Rev. Paul Scott of Durham said Friday that he wrote to the legislature. “Anyone who claims to represent the good people of North Carolina and is so insensitive to the feelings of the nonwhite citizens of North Carolina should be strongly reprimanded by the North Carolina Legislative Assembly and kicked out of Raleigh,” his letter reads.

Party switch

Jose Cardona, a candidate for the District 9 seat on the Fayetteville City Council, has switched political parties.

Cardona changed his registration from Democrat to Republican last week.

Cardona said he changed parties because he was getting no support from the Democrats. “You’re out there by yourself,” he said.

Cardona said he switched to the Republican Party because it can give him support. “I need all the information I can get.”

Doc Scheffler, head of the Cumberland County Republican Party, said Cardona’s switch shows that the Hispanic community has more in common with his party than with the Democrats.

Scheffler said, “If you don’t like the status quo, you’re a Republican.”

Council races are nonpartisan.

Cardona is challenging Anne Fogleman, who is an at-large member of the council. The at-large seats are being eliminated in the upcoming election, so she filed for a district race to return to the council. District 9 incumbent Rollin Shaw did not seek re-election.

Fund-raising letters

Fayetteville mayoral candidate Marshall Pitts Jr. said overzealous campaign workers recently sent out 40 fund-raising letters on city stationery.

“It was an inadvertent and honest mistake,” Pitts said.

Pitts said he reimbursed the city $2.04, the cost of the stationery.

Bob Campbell, director of the Cumberland County Board of Elections, said Pitts did not violate any state election laws.

Deadline to register

Sept. 14 is the last day for Fayetteville residents to register to vote in the Oct. 9 primary. Election officials said people who have moved need to notify the Cumberland County Board of Elections of their new address.

District changes

Fayetteville residents who are in precincts split between districts are encouraged to check with the Cumberland County Board of Elections to make sure they go to the correct polling place.

The city’s elections boundaries were recently changed because of the 2000 census and annexation and many neighborhoods were shifted to new districts.

For instance, Cumberland Heights and the area around Mazarick Park were shifted from District 4 to District 5.

Twenty-three of the city’s election precincts cross district lines.

Party recognized

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina was recently certified as an “officially recognized political party” in North Carolina, allowing candidates ballot access through the 2004 elections.

The Libertarians submitted 59,966 signatures to meet the requirements of state law.

“The ballot access laws in this state amount to a whopping poll tax on opposition parties,” said Sean Haugh, the party's executive director. Haugh estimated the party spent $100,000 gaining signatures, money that “we can’t spend on campaigning.”

Legislation to ease third-party ballot access was killed recently in the state House.

Have a tip for Inside Politics? Staff writer Don Worthington can be reached at 486-3511 or

Copyright 2001 The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer.

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