GOP communes over barbecue

Published 3:56 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Staff Writer

EDWARD — More than 50 Beaufort County Republicans came together over one of the culinary staples of politics — barbecued pork — Saturday during a fundraiser at Bennett Vineyards.
Owned by former GOP commissioner candidate Buddy Harrell, the vineyard grounds and buildings were offered by the hosts along with roasted pig and locally bottled wine from native grapes.
Among the highlights was the band Carolina Still, which played at intervals before and after short speeches given by a few candidates.
“I’m hoping we’ll inspire enough people to vote Republican,” said Harrell, who encouraged his guests to wander among the grape vines in search of ripe fruits.
According to Larry Britt, chairman of the Beaufort County Republican Party, Saturday’s $15-per-head function carried no fundraising target.
“It’s just a little better feeling among Republicans,” Britt explained, adding that the county GOP had been divided in past years.
“We’re not this year, and we’re inviting everybody into our tent,” he said.
Among the people under that tent was Darrell Cayton Jr., a Democrat running in a two-way, nonpartisan race for District Court judge in the five-county 2nd Judicial District.
“I want every vote in the 2nd Judicial District, Democrat, Republican, independent,” Cayton said. “I don’t discriminate.”
Cayton said he had called the event’s organizers to make sure he would be welcome. He said he grew up about a mile from the vineyards, “as the crow flies.”
“Nobody’s looked ugly at me today,” he said, referring to his political affiliation. “And most of them know.”
Cayton is running against Watsi Sutton, who, like her opponent, is a Washington attorney. Both candidates hope a majority of voters will pick them to replace retiring Judge Sam Grimes.
Among the GOP candidates on hand Saturday were incumbent county Commissioners Stan Deatherage and Al Klemm; Beaufort County sheriff hopeful Donald Dixon; Bill Cook, who’s taking on state Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort; and Greg Dority, a Washington resident who’s going up against U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., in the west-central part of the state.
In brief remarks to the crowd, Dority predicted Republican gains in the Nov. 2 general election, stating these gains will exceed those made when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994.
“I assure you this wave will be bigger than ’94,” he said.