Dority to call for runoff election in U.S. House District 12

Published 3:28 pm Sunday, May 9, 2010

Staff Writer

A Republican congressional candidate from Washington says he will call for a runoff election in U.S. House District 12.
Greg Dority said he plans to send a letter to Gary Bartlett, executive director of the N.C. State Board of Elections, requesting a second primary.
June 22 is set aside for the second primary.
A number of races are destined for the runoff, including the Democratic, U.S. Senate contest between Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall.
A second primary is possible in the 12th Congressional District because none of the three GOP candidates there was able to get 40 percent of the vote in the May 4 primary election.
Dority got 34.31 percent, or 4,773 votes, in the district. The front-runner, Scott Cumbie of Winston-Salem, scored 39.49 percent of the vote, or 5,494 votes.
In third place was William Gillenwater of Greensboro, with 26.20 percent or 3,645 votes.
Though Dority lives in Washington, he hopes to win his party’s nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., in the Nov. 2 general election.
Watt’s District 12 winds through some of the state’s most-populous areas, including the cities of Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
Dority has pointed out the fact that there is no residency provision requiring a congressional candidate to live in the district in which he runs.
In a telephone interview Saturday, the Republican said he plans to target Watt’s record ahead of the second primary.
“We’re focusing entirely on Congressman Watt and his actions and holding him accountable,” he said. “We’re not talking about our opponents. We’re talking primarily about holding Congressman Watt responsible.”
Like numerous other observers and participants in politics, Dority predicted there will be a low turnout for the second primary.
“Basically, it’s which side can motivate their volunteers and get their vote out,” he commented.
Like the other Republicans in his race, Dority’s candidacy appears to be largely symbolic, an outgrowth of the GOP policy of not letting Democrats run unopposed.
Watt’s seat is generally considered safe.
Watt was first elected to Congress in 1992.
In 2006, he beat Republican challenger Ada Fisher by more than 36,000 votes, according to figures available on the State Board of Elections’ Web site.
In 2008, Watt handily bested Republican Ty Cobb Jr., garnering 215,908 votes to Cobb’s 85,814 votes.
Watt had more than $240,000 cash on hand in his campaign account as of April 14, the Federal Election Commission’s Web site shows.
Neither Dority, Cumbie nor Gillenwater had raised enough cash to warrant filing a report with the FEC.
“The race is all about volunteers and grass-roots efforts,” Dority said.