Before dozens of supporters on Tuesday, Democrat Antonio Blue officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress, 8th Congressional District.
The Dobbins Heights mayor is mounting a write-in campaign against Congressman Larry Kissell. Kissell announced in a Charlotte Observer news article in early July that he was not supporting President Obama’s bid for re-election, and in mid-July he joined only four other Democrats in voting to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.
“He has the best health care in the world and we pay for it,” Blue told the crowd. “How can you support a Democratic congressman who doesn’t support our President?”
To the applause of the crowd, Blue reiterated, “This is a winnable election. Don’t say it cannot be done. It can be done.”
“Of course we can do it,” said Laura Cromer of Ellerbe, who attended. She said she was disappointed in Kissell. “All things are possible. He could have been a little discreet in his comments. President Obama has done a tremendous job.”
Helen Cox, who attended, said she feels like people don’t realize Kissell is not supporting the President. “He voted against it (Affordable Health Care Act) the first time and voted against it in the last vote, which was unnecessary. He might as well be a Republican.”
Blue encouraged supporters to donate their time and talent to his campaign as the election is only three months away.
He also explained how to vote for him in the November general election. Because he is a write-in candidate, his name will not appear on the ballot. So supporters should not vote a straight Democratic ticket, but vote for each contest individually. Under the race for U.S. Congress, 8th District, voters will need to mark the box for write-in and then literally write in the name “Antonio Blue” in the blank provided.
Several people attending showed their support for a debate between Blue and Kissell, to which Blue consented.
“If it doesn’t happen, it won’t be because of me,” he said.
The mayor of Dobbins Heights, Blue is a retired veteran who served 24 years in the U.S. Army. He is also former Richmond County Democratic Party chair; serves on the Richmond County Arts Council Board of Directors; and is the president of the N.C. Black Elected Municipal Officials.
Blue was selected as a write-in challenger to Kissell last month by the 8th Congressional District Black Leadership Caucus Political Action Committee.
For more information on Blue’s campaign send email to email@example.com, or call 301-633-1565.
The Kissell campaign disagreed with Blue’s characterization.
Kissell spokesman Christopher Schuler described Kissell as “an independent voice.”
“Congressman Kissell has agreed with the president on some issues, and has stood up and disagreed with him when he didn’t,” Schuler said. “Our last Representative wrongly put blind loyalty to his party’s President first, and voters remember that. I can assure you that the Democratic Party is a ‘big tent’ and there is plenty of room for moderate folks like Larry in it.”
Also on the ballot for the 8th District is Republican Richard Hudson.