Skip to comments.GOP style cited as sticking point(Vernon Robinson too "extreme")
Posted on 04/28/2006 9:16:39 AM PDT by John Geyer
Vernon Robinson, the provocative former Winston-Salem city councilman who is an outspoken critic of illegal immigration, is once again an issue in Tuesday's Republican primary for the 13th Congressional District seat.
Robinson is drawing criticism from his two primary opponents, who say his reliance on hotbutton issues and his slashing style are likely to hurt Republican efforts to take the House seat held by Democrat Brad Miller of Raleigh.
The district runs from Raleigh, up along the Virginia border, and back down into Greensboro.
John Ross Hendrix, a graphic artist from Cary, and Charlie Sutherland, a Rockingham County soap manufacturer, say Robinson's brand of politics are too extreme for the district.
"Vernon, with his clownish antics, would probably be a complete embarrassment to the Republican Party," Hendrix said. "He's basically fear mongering."
Sutherland says Robinson "kind of scares me."
"His message is not very friendly," Sutherland said. "It seems to be putting people down more than needs to be."
Robinson dismisses such criticism as desperate last-minute attacks. He says his criticism of illegal immigration is within the GOP mainstream.
"I believe in securing the nation's borders and making English the official language as the centerpieces of my campaign," Robinson said. "I have a record as a mainstream conservative elected official for eight years. My opponents do not."
Controversy has often followed Robinson, one of the most recognizable figures in North Carolina Republican politics.
He has twice run unsuccessfully for state superintendent of public instruction. Robinson raised nearly $3 million, much of it by direct mail nationally, when he unsuccessfully sought the GOP nomination in the 5th Congressional District in 2004.
Robinson, an executive with a nonprofit foundation that lobbies for education changes such as more charter schools, served eight years as a Winston-Salem alderman.
Robinson still lives in the 5th District, but members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent.
Robinson has raised $230,000 for this campaign, which has enabled him to run radio ads. He has a strong sense of public relations, campaigning at a post office at the end of the tax filing period to emphasize his anti-tax stance and appearing with an anti-illegal immigrant crusader who was touring the country.
He has largely ignored his Republican opponents. Instead, his fire has been aimed at Miller, calling him a "loony liberal congressman."
Hendrix and Sutherland are running inexpensive campaigns that rely on personal contacts and distributing information on their Web sites.
They support the so-called FairTax bill that would repeal all corporate, individual income, payroll and other taxes and replace them with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax. They say it would provide a fairer, less complicated tax that would stimulate economic growth.
Hendrix, 56, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. He said he is concerned that the U.S. Constitution is being eroded from the political left and the political right -- from efforts to pass gun control legislation to the USA Patriot Act, which he said goes too far.
As a former paratrooper with a son who has served two tours in Iraq, Hendrix said he is dissatisfied with the way the Iraqi war has been prosecuted. He said the U.S. should have gone into Iraq the way it invaded Panama in 1989 -- arresting the country's leader and then leaving.
Hendrix describes himself "as a rare voice for reason and sanity."
Sutherland, 65, the owner of Charlie's Soap, said he originally entered the race because Miller did not respond to inquiries about the FairTax. But Sutherland said he has since decided to take the race seriously.
Sutherland has twice run for the state Senate, once for county commissioner and once for register of deeds. All of his races were unsuccessful.
Sutherland said he wants to make Congress subject to the same laws as average citizens.
Thanks for posting this...I've given to his races in the past and somehow missed this one. Contributing online right now.
Go get 'em, Vernon!
Yep - he needs support. It appears that those who actually want to stand strong and do something are always being criticized, even by their own, as too harsh. I guess it is only a matter of time (probably only a short time) before what is left of the Republican Party resembles the average Dim in philosophy.
Have you heard his radio spot? "Brad Miller's Mariachi Party." Hilarious.
I don't know Hendrix, but I do know Charlie Sutherland. Charlie was never a Republican. Even the RINOs knew that. As I recall, he registered as a Republican because the Democrats in Rockingham County wouldn't play nice with him.
When NandO quotes an ultra-RINO in order to smear a conservative, you know Vernon has them on the run again.
And no mention of Vernon's race? That's all I read about coming out of New Orleans.
"Jesse Helms is back. And this time, he's black."
A likely damn yankee (most people from Cary are) and a scalawag
"Vernon, with his clownish antics, would probably be a complete embarrassment to the Republican Party," Hendrix said. "He's basically fear mongering." Sutherland says Robinson "kind of scares me." "His message is not very friendly," Sutherland said. "It seems to be putting people down more than needs to be."
Well of course, anything to the right of Elizabeth Dole is considered an 'embarrassment' to the Republican party nowadays. And yet the party faithful still ask why no one wants to vote for party line candidates.
Well, isn't that special! Mr. Sutherland must be taking some extra-strength Niceness Tabs.
I just had dinner with Sutherland and he knows I won't be supporting him. I couldn't get a straight answer out of him on illegal immigration.
Good for you!
The only candidate who has the temerity to actually respond to the outrage of American citizens is described as "too extreme" and "not nice."
I suppose if he decided to sing that abortion of our national anthem in Tex-Mex Spanglish than he would be celebrated.
Is it any wonder that most Americans would rather drink Strychnine than associate themselves with the Republican Party today?
The only people who are embarassments-in my opinion-are the open border apologists and Rockefeller Republican rejects that are driving the GOP into the ground.
From the shores of NY Island, to the gulf stream waters, etc...
You could write an entire Woody Guthrie song about how unappealing the GOP is today.
Great verbiage, G.! Mr. Robinson is not in my district, but I wish him the best in his efforts.
The fourth time's the charm.
I'm afraid Mr. Robinson doesn't discern the difference between productive bluntness and unproductive bluntness. I'm reminded of a conversation I had with Anoreth recently. She was surprised that another young person on a website she frequents had been offended by her criticism of a story he'd written.
"He asked me what I thought of it," she pointed out.
"What did you say?" I asked.
"I said I think it stinks."
"Well, I can't imagine why he'd take offense at that," I said, with a "Sarcasm!" icon flashing above my head. "What, specifically, caused you to reach that helpful judgment?"
"The spelling and grammar were so bad that I could barely read it. The characters were boring. The dialogue was silly. And that's just a start!"
"Next time someone asks your opinion, why don't you skip the generalization, e.g., 'It stinks,' and go straight to the specific reasons you didn't like it. The more detailed and objective you are, 'The spelling and grammar errors made it difficult to read,' or 'The characters didn't say or do anything that I found interesting,' or 'The dialogue didn't reveal character or forward the action,' the more helpful it is for the writer, and the less offensive it can be."
This example is supposed to illustrate the problems I sense with Vernon Robinson's campaigns. He generates a lot of sound and fury, as well as early approval, by expressing the way he and many voters feel about controversial issues. However, by continuing to use wording that emphasizes feelings or judgments, especially disapproval, rather than moving on to detail, unemotionally, the specifics of what can and should be changed, within the context of the particular office for which he's campaigning, he loses voters before the election.
Voters who start out with enthusiasm, because they strongly agree that Situation X is very bad indeed, end up doubting Mr. Robinson's potential effectiveness in office. He doesn't seem to inspire a sense of his capacity to construct and enact positive change.
(Just my out-of-district opinion, of course!)
And while I'm wearing my Campaign Consultant hat (big red silk rose, matches my dress ...), I'll add that, in the primary two years ago, my sense of the Robinson campaign was that they were more focussed on the other candidates than on the voters. I don't know whether this emphasis was Mr. Robinson's or if it originated with others around him, but there was much unnecessary controversy about personalities and campaign tactics, rather than issues.
One problem in 2004 was that the primary campaign went on *forever*; the primary was in mid-August, because of redistricting controversy at the state level.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.