CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It’s a standard photo op: The handshake before the debate. But before the News 14/WTVI/League of Women Voters Debate in the GOP runoff for North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, Richard Hudson stuck out his hand and stood for an awkward moment waiting for opponent Scott Keadle to notice.
A painful few seconds later, Keadle grasped his opponents hand for the grip-and-grin.
Each man said he will endorse the other should he lose but there’s certainly no love lost between Hudson and Keadle.
It took just over five minutes of the taped debate for dentist Scott Keadle to produce the “l” word: lying.
“The fact of the matter is Richard Hudson is lying,” Keadle said.
Hudson responded minutes later. “He’s absolutely lying,” said Hudson.
Keadle is chapped about Hudson’s attack that he took so-called “Obama stimulus money” as an Iredell County Commissioner. Hudson is miffed that Keadle treats him like some kind of carpetbagger just because he worked for a couple of Congressmen (one of them being Robin Hayes who lost the seat to its present occupant, Larry Kissell).
“Mr. Hudson has lived for the last eleven years in Washington, D.C.,” Keadle challenged. “He still has a home in Arlington where his wife lives and works for a congressman from Arizona. Richard Hudson is not from here. Richard Hudson has been part of the problem.”
“That is absolutely not true,” Hudson countered. “I grew up in this district. I went to college at UNC Charlotte just down the road. I have lived almost my entire life in North Carolina. The last two and a half years I was in Washington and I came home to run for congress.”
The vehemence of both men threatens to alienate voters and both are very aware of it but each blames the other for the campaign’s deteriorating tone.
“I’ve been accused of lying,” said Keadle. “That is really what people are upset with is the lying. Richard has lied about my record.”
“To attack my dog, to attack my faith,” Hudson replied. “To smear me with these kinds of dishonest attacks--there is no place for this in politics.”
The runoff Tuesday will decide who faces Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell in the November general election.
You can watch the debate yourself on Time Warner Cable’s News 14 Carolina Tuesday night at 8 p.m. and again on Sunday morning at 11.