RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) - The North Carolina chapter of the NAACP is holding a debate today for candidates running for governor, but three Republican candidates will be elsewhere.
The three - Mayor Pat McCrory of Charlotte, lawyer Bill Graham of Salisbury and state Sen. Fred Smith of Johnston County - all said they would like to attend the debate, but are tied up with previous commitments.
Bob Orr, a former justice on the N.C. Supreme Court, is the only other Republican in the governor’s race. Orr plans to attend the debate, as do the three Democratic candidates.
The absence of the Republicans is reminiscent of a one-person presidential “debate” sponsored last July by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP invited all 10 Republican candidates running for president at the time, but only the fringe candidate Tom Tancredo showed up. The stage was lined with empty podiums.
In North Carolina, the president of the state’s NAACP chapter said yesterday that he wishes that all seven major-party candidates running for governor would attend today’s debate.