Woolard sure about victory

Published 1:49 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

Contributing Editor

Republican Ashley Woolard of Washington isn’t optimistic about his chances to defeat incumbent U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat, and represent the state’s 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives — he’s sure.
Woolard, speaking to about 35 Down East Republicans and their guests Thursday night, challenged his supporters to carry his message to voters at the polls and elsewhere. The Down East Republicans met at a Chocowinity restaurant.
“We’ve got an opportunity to win this race, but we’ve got to have your help,” Woolard said. “It is time for us as Republicans to no longer sit back. … We do not need to hear excuses why we cannot go out and work the polls. We don’t want to hear it. I’m not here tonight to give you my rah-rah speech or talk about my policies and where I stand. If you don’t know where I stand, I don’t need to be here tonight. … I’m telling you, as Republicans, we’ve got to get out and drive our vote.”
Tuesday is Election Day. Beaufort County voters have until 1 p.m. today to take advantage of the one-stop, early voting process at the Board of Elections, 1308 Highland Drive, Washington.
Woolard said it is up to voters to determine what the headlines in the Washington Daily News will say the day after Election Day. He asked the audience members to go home and write down what they want those headlines to say.
“Each night between now and Tuesday, each day, look at that and say, ‘What have I done today to make that headline a reality,” Woolard said.
“It’s huge,” Woolard said when asked after the meeting how much influence unaffiliated voters will have on Election Day. “Listen, there’s enough conservative Democrats, unaffiliateds and Republicans to win this seat. And do you think Butterfield would have been in Washington, N.C., yesterday (Wednesday) if he didn’t know that to be a fact?”
Woolard said his campaign has raised more than $150,000 during this political race, something Republicans have never done before in the 1st Congressional District. Woolard said he’s taken no money from political-action committees or special-interest groups.
“I’d rather take $10 from a voter than take $1,000 from Washington, D.C.,” Woolard said.
Woolard said he’s finding support and enthusiasm for his campaign throughout the district in places like Goldsboro, Elizabeth City and Roanoke Rapids.
“I can’t tell you the enthusiasm we’ve got. We’ve got to maintain that enthusiasm for the next five days. What we’re going to do after we take this election — we’re going to take back the U.S. Congress, ladies and gentleman. We’re going to take it back,” Woolard said, drawing applause from the audience. “We’re going to take back the state House. We’re going to take back the state Senate for the first time in over 150 years.”
“As Greg mentioned, we’re looking at numbers. We think we’re ahead right now,” Woolard said, referring to Greg Dority, another Washington Republican seeking a seat in Congress. Dority, who attended the meeting, is seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Mel Watt in the state’s 12th Congressional District.
“I’m going to Washington as a citizen-legislator. That means, go to Washington, do your job and come home,” Woolard said, adding that his wife and children will not be moving to the nation’s capital if he’s elected to Congress, “which means when I’m not needed in corrupt Washington, then I’ll be in the original Washington.”
Woolard said he wants to “bring fiscal sanity back to the U.S.” It’s time to end the socialistic agenda of the White House and Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Butterfield.
Woolard repeated his charge that Butterfield kept per-diem money given to him to use while on an overseas trip. Woolard contends that any leftover money should be returned to the federal government.
“We know he’s a thief,” said Woolard, adding that Butterfield took taxpayers’ money and put it in his pocket.
In an interview in September, Butterfield said he was not sure how much surplus per-diem travel money he had spent while on foreign trips, but asserted that every dollar was used to cover legitimate travel expenses.
Woolard renewed his charge that Butterfield accepted “bribe money” when he took $4,000 from the National Leadership Political Action Committee, which has been affiliated with embattled U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., whom Butterfield had to judge as part of a House ethics investigation into Rangel’s travel and assets. Butterfield serves on the House ethics panel.
Earlier this year, Butterfield explained that the PAC’s $4,000 was accepted by his campaign before his appointment to the ethics committee and that, “The bulk of the donations — $3,000 — came nearly five years ago during the 2004 election cycle.”
Other Republican candidates at the meeting asked for support from audience members. They included state House candidate Bill Cook, seeking to unseat Democratic incumbent Arthur Williams in the 6th House District; Al Klemm, an incumbent Beaufort County commissioner seeking re-election; and Beaufort County Board of Education candidates Teressa Banks, Cindy Winstead (both incumbents) and Terry Williams.
Staff Writer Jonathan Clayborne contributed to this article.