Charges Fly Between Two GOP Congressional Candidates
Tension appears to be mounting between two candidates challenging Rep. Howard Coble for his U.S. House seat.
Cathy Hinson, one of five Republicans contesting Coble for the party's nomination in the May 4 primary, told The Pilot last week that fellow challenger Dr. James Taylor, a physician who practices in Laurinburg and lives in Southern Pines, offered to pay her filing fee of $1,740 if she withdrew her candidacy and endorsed him.
Hinson, an educator and businesswoman from High Point, said Taylor has asked her to withdraw four times. She said the filing fee offer came in the form of a phone call on March 22.
"It was just a telephone conversation between him and myself," she said, "so there's no way I can prove that. But he has asked me four times to quit and back him, but this was the first time he's offered any kind of financial (incentive)."
Hinson said she refused, adding that she didn't enter the race to drop out before the primary.
Taylor issued a response in an e-mail statement.
"Cathy and I met several times both before and during the campaign in the interest of discussing our goals and issues," he said, "and we agree on most of the issues. During our last conversation I asked her, since I felt that at that point I was the stronger candidate, for her support.
"In an offhand comment, I told her that if at any time she decided to withdraw from the race, I would make a contribution to her campaign in the amount of her filing fee so that she could recoup that cost. It was never taken seriously by her, and I dismissed it."
Hinson said that she didn't trust Taylor and told him as much.
"He's a deal-maker, and he tries to work everything with an angle," she said. "To me, that's what we've got in Congress already."
The issue was first raised at a candidates forum sponsored by Moore TEA Citizens on April 10, when Hinson's father asked Taylor how many times he had asked Hinson to drop out and how much money he offered her if she did.
Taylor explained at the forum that the fight to unseat Coble, a 13-term incumbent, would be "uphill" and that he would, in fact, ask all of the candidates to drop out and back him, as he did with Hinson.
"I think that is the right thing they should do," he said, "because I am the better candidate, and it will save a lot of us a lot of money along the way. And that's what I was trying to do, save hard-earned taxpayer money so we didn't have to use it fighting against each other."
Hinson said she didn't know her father would ask the question.
The other Republican challengers are Guilford County Commissioner Billy Yow, of Greensboro; Jon Mangin, of Stokesdale; and Jeff Phillips, of Greensboro.
A Democrat, Sam Turner, of Salisbury, will face off against the Republican nominee in the fall's general election.
Contact John Krahnert III by e-mail at email@example.com.
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