Supporters of the 8th District incumbent Democrat launched an effort Friday called Conservatives for Kissell.
U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell is facing re-election in a district with a lot more Republican voters and such an effort could be helpful. The district, which includes Scotland, stretches from Davidson County to Robeson County. It has about 28,000 more Republicans than it did in 2010 because of redistricting.
The Kissell campaign appears to be trying to attract conservative constituents. In a press statement issued by his campaign on Friday, Kissell described himself as “one of the most moderate members of Congress.”
The appeal to conservative voters comes on the heels of Kissell taking harsh criticism from members of his own party over his recent votes and statements in opposition to the Obama administration. One of those votes came this week when Kissell sided with Republicans in the House to repeal Obama’s health care reform. The Biscoe Democrat also said he would not endorse the president for re-election.
As a result the 8th District Black Leadership Caucus Political Action Committee on Wednesday announced that it was withdrawing its support of Kissell in favor of a write-in candidate, Antonio Blue of Richmond County. The group, which had supported Kissell in previous elections, said the congressman now appeared “unconcerned about its interests.”
Kissell said his recent actions have more to do with principle than politics. He said he has tried to do what is in the best interest of the entire district over special interests.
“You never agree with anyone all of the time and I know that no one will ever agree with my voting record 100 percent of the time ….”Kissell said in a statement. “I was elected to work for all of the people, and that is exactly what I intend to keep doing should the people of the 8th District send me back to serve them for two more years.”
Kissell argues that he still has “wide-spread support from groups like Conservatives for Kissell, which is made up of conservative Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this support,” said Kissell. “I’ve always set politics aside to focus on doing the work of the people. I’m proud that folks of all political leanings are willing to stand with me in the fight.”
The group’s website lists constituents, elected officials and business people from across the region.
One of the supporters whose endorsement is included on the website is Laurel Hill farming executive Allen McLaurin. McLaurin touts Kissell for his legislative work on agriculture.
“When Larry came down and spoke with us, we knew we could count on him to do what is right for this district and he has been instrumental for us in the agricultural community,” McLaurin said.
Former County Commissioner Leon Butler also provided Kissell with an endorsement on the website.
Kissell is also expected to face the winner of Tuesday’s Republican runoff between Richard Hudson and Scott Keadle.