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Graham campaign gains momentum
Congressional hopeful scores key endorsements
 
Published Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:27 pm
by Herbert L. White

N.C. Sen. Malcolm Graham’s congressional campaign may be finally picking up steam.

On Tuesday, Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines endorsed Graham for the 12th Congressional District seat vacated since January when Mel Watt resigned. Joines’ endorsement was the first for Graham north of his Charlotte base, where former mayor Harvey Gantt, N.C. Rep. Kelly Alexander, and former Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board chair Arthur Griffin have offered their support. Gantt, Charlotte’s first African American mayor and a towering figure in Democratic Party politics, is a coup for Graham, a former City Council member serving his fourth term in the General Assembly.

“I am humbled to have the endorsement of Harvey Gantt,” Graham said. “He is someone I admire and respect. Words cannot explain how honored I am to have his support.”

Charlotte, which contains 53 percent of the 12th District’s voters, is a key battleground. With three other local candidates in former Charlotte City Council member James Mitchell and political newcomers George Battle III and Curtis Osborne, a split base would lower the chances of an outright winner in the May primary.

A February poll conducted by a firm hired by Graham’s campaign suggests he’s the best-known candidate in Charlotte. The survey, conducted by Washington-based Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, found a Charlotte sweep in name identification with Graham leading with 66 percent recognition, compared to Battle at 57 percent and Mitchell at 54 percent. N.C. Rep. Alma Adams of Greensboro leads the out-of-town contingent at 21 percent recognition, followed by N.C. Rep. Marcus Brandon of High Point at 17 percent and Osborne at 15 percent.

Graham also polled the highest favorable rating in the poll at 62 percent positive, followed by Battle’s 52 percent and Mitchell at 47 percent.

In terms of voter support in Charlotte, Graham’s internal poll finds him leading the pack at 29 percent, nearly double Mitchell (15 percent) and Battle, who had 10 percent. Adams and Brandon, the top fundraisers according to federal elections reports, were shown with 4 percent and 0 percent support, respectively.

The survey was conducted among 351 telephone interviews with likely May primary voters in the 12th District. The margin of sampling error is 5.2 percent.

 

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