GUILFORD COUNTY – The primary battle between incumbent N.C. House Majority Whip Jon Hardister and former state lawmaker Mark McDaniel for District 59 is heating up amid accusations of libel from the latter aimed at a Greensboro-based paper that is endorsing the former.
We covered Hardister’s acceptance of campaign donations ($2,000) from the LeftistN.C. Advocates for Justice PAC, which has pushed policies like giving drivers licenses to illegal aliens and is part of a cluster of hard Left activist organizations that have pulled out all the stops in recent years to “eviscerate” Republicans.
Hardister responded to the attention with assurances he is opposed to most of the organization’s policy positions, and went on to tout his recent endorsement by the Rhino Times.
Beyond the irony of being endorsed by a paper with ‘Rhino’ in it’s name, the endorsement itself possible opened up a new legal front in the primary battle after it hit McDaniel for business dealings in such a way as to earn lawsuit threats from McDaniel based on the alleged inaccuracies in the story.
Here is McDaniel’s response to the story:
So, either the Rhino Times is going to issue a retraction, or it seems as if they may have a lawsuit on their hands from McDaniel.
Past business dealings are certainly fair game in politics, but knowingly misrepresenting facts to tar and feather somebody, as McDaniel is alleging, might not be the best way to go about it.
On the policy front, a large focus of the campaign between the two primary contenders is on the issue of taxes, specifically sales taxes on services, which were enacted and expanded under a series of Republican-led tax reforms since winning the majority.
McDaniel is almost exclusively basing his campaign on opposition to such taxes, saying they kick business owners while they’re down and promising to fight for their repeal.
Hardister and others counter that the new taxes were part of a large scale tax reform that has become a model for Republicans around the country.
To be clear, the Republican tax reforms of the past several years have certainly moved the state in the right direction and contributed to a high business ranking and above average economic growth. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the moving parts in the tax changes are positive, and the messy role out of sales tax on services is one blatant example of that.
What do you think? Should Guilford County send the Majority Whip packing on account of his pragmatic approaches that earn endorsements from Leftist PACs and the Rhino Times, or is the leadership influence for the district worth the risk?