On the last day before the runoff election, I received two pieces of mail from the PAC "Citizens for Conservative Leadership, Inc" parroting the tone of Robert Pittenger's attack adds. More on the PAC here. One was a repeat of an earlier mailing that accused Pendergraph of not doing enough to protect children as sheriff. The other was an attack about same sex benefits. It was pink with two male figurines on top of a wedding cake.
"Enough already!", I thought.
The next day, Pittenger wins and Jennifer Roberts sees an opening.
"What? No! That's not possible!" most staunch Republicans would say. This district is too conservative for Jennifer Roberts to ever have a chance. You may be right. You probably are right.
But then, there's this...
Check out the comments on this story - Pendergraph concedes District 9 race
Almost to a person, the posters are questioning whether they will vote for Pittenger after the negative campaign he ran. Yes, it was right after the race was called. Yes, it could all be disappointed Pendergraph people blowing off steam. But...to think that they will all come back in a few short months is wishful thinking.
Next there's this...Amendment 1
In the first primary, Edwin Peacock came in 3rd. He was the only Republican openly opposed to Amendment 1. When Pittenger attacks Roberts on this issue (and he will), it will drive many of these Peacock voters into her camp. One can bet Citizens for Conservative Leadership has a pile of those pink mailers ready to go. Add to that the fact that Mecklenburg county was one of a handful of counties that voted against Amendment 1. Even some heavily Republican precincts voted strongly against it. Here in Davidson, the heavily Rep 127 voted against Amendment 1 60%-40%. Those numbers don't bode well for keeping all the Republicans in Pittenger's camp.
Finally, there's this...Roberts will benefit from the DNC being in town. If the national Democrats think there is an opportunity here, Roberts' money issues will go away. The gap will be closer than with Pendergraph if that happens.
With all these things she may not win. She probably still won't win.
However, if this race is close because a few more NC-9 Republicans stay at home, or a few more NC-9 Democrats come out, that does not bode well for Republicans in a much more important race.
President Obama won North Carolina by only 14,000 votes in '08.
The selection of Robert Pittenger in NC-9 just made it a little harder to make up that ground.
UPDATE: Yesterday's Charlotte Observer reports Jennifer Roberts raised $250k through June. She will have more money than Jim Pendergraph did before this is over. It's key to note that the national party will be watching this number closely, similar to the way the Republicans were before naming Pendergraph, Pittenger, and even Dan Barry to their Young Guns program. My guess is Roberts is over the threshold for the DCCC to get into the race a bit more.