LAURINBURG — A two-time congressional hopeful is throwing his support behind a third-party candidate.
Democrat Christian Cano announced June 14 that he is endorsing Libertarian Jeff Scott for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District seat currently held by lame-duck Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger.
“I know that Jeff Scott will fight for my family and all our families equally in Congress,” Cano said in a letter on his campaign website. “More importantly, he is not beholden to the corporate deep pockets in Nancy Pelosi’s political machine, President 45’s (Donald Trump) hatred and bigotry, or the privileged interests focused on preserving the status quo and the ways they benefit.”
Scott said he was “extremely pleased” with the endorsement.
“This opens a lot of important doors for me to swing voters in this district,” he told the Daily Journal while on his way to an appearance in Fayetteville Friday afternoon.
Cano also accused the other candidates of being involved in collusion or corruption during the campaign.
“As a progressive and person of faith, major party collusion and corruption is a non-negotiable issue for my family and many of our families,” he said. “I have decided to put our country over party and endorse Jeff, because I know where he stands on the real-world issues facing our rich culturally diverse working-class and struggling neighbors.”
In his letter, Cano made sure to say that his endorsement of a Libertarian “does not and will not alter our complete dedication and support for flipping our North Carolina General Assembly” in the much-anticipated “blue wave,” with Democrats replacing Republicans in November’s mid-term elections.
Cano lost the Democratic primary last month to Dan McCready.
Pittenger was defeated by former Charlotte pastor Mark Harris in the Republican primary. He narrowly won a recount against Harris in the 2016 primary and handily won over Cano in the general election.
The 9th Congressional District comprises Scotland, Union, Anson, Richmond and Robeson counties, as well as parts of Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Bladen counties.
The two candidates met along the campaign trail and, according to Scott, “got along great.”
He described Cano as an “energetic campaigner” and said the Democrat is very interested in hearing different ideas that the Libertarian Party brings to the table — even though they might see eye to eye.
“We clearly agree on cannabis … and we’re both pleased at the progress in the country right now — and it’s about time,” Scott said. “Close to two-thirds of the public is really on board with at least ending the War on Drugs and having more sane policies.”
The pair made a public declaration of the endorsement at a local NORML meeting.
“Chris and I are both looking forward to what I call the post-war world,” Scott said, “so we have to think about these issues, now, different than simply saying, ‘Yes, people can try this. People can have access to it.’ … but we’re also going to have a long haul with the legal system that’s been popping people for too long.”
Scott grew up on the West Coast in the Oakland-Bay area of California.
“I felt like I was in a rat race and the rats were winning,” he said. “People were really struggling and I was looking at a two-hour commute …. I’m missing all my kids’ school events … it just wasn’t working.”
So in 2011, he packed up and moved to North Carolina, impressed by the state’s attractiveness and with the way Charlotte operates.
The financial consultant of 30-plus years first became interested in libertarianism in his teens, but never was really attracted to the party. However, he is currently chairman of the Mecklenburg County chapter of the Libertarian Party.
“This is a new calling for me,” he said. “Personally, I’m trying something new … but I think I can offer voters an actual real choice between (the two major parties.”
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