Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Larry Kissell is a strong progressive candidate and he is on track to take North Carolina's 8th Congressional District away from Republican Robin Hayes. Larry has tailored his issues to the voters in the district and his stance on each reflects true progressive ideals.

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to meet Larry. I hadn't realized he would be at the Democratic convention in our county. I had been interested in this race from the beginning as I live on the border of his district, but not in it. I had initially thought Tim Dunn was the candidate to beat Hayes, but long before Dunn bowed out I had started to gravitate to Kissell. I wanted to meet him to see if all those qualities I felt he had - humility, integrity, compassion - were real.

Please join me below the fold.....

First, I am far from some giddy little school girl who would be impressed by a political candidate just because he's a political candidate - far, far from it. I admit, though, meeting Larry Kissell made my day. He is tall. Not imposing tall, but Mr. Smith-goes-to-Washington tall. Oh...and humble...yes, the humility is palpable, as is the honesty. This isn't some slick talking, in-your-face, self-anointed savior of the 8th District. Nope, just the opposite. Larry is real.

Don't let Larry's down-home charm fool you though, He has an edge. He may be honest and he may not be a politico, but he isn't stupid. In other words, don't let the humility disarm you because the man is smart enough to capitalize on the situation.

If you're worried about a lack of campaign experience, you can quit worrying. Larry started his campaign early enough that he is now completely at-ease with meeting and greeting and LISTENING. I stood back and watched him for a while. He was as comfortable in the crowd as the seasoned pro, Mel Watt. (My Rep.)

For those of you who haven't committed to helping Larry win in November and to helping bring a Democratic majority to the US House, I say, it's time. If you need a little more convincing, take a cue from the Fighting Dem, Tim Dunn. After ending his bid for the seat, Tim is not only endorsing Larry, but represented him at the Democratic Party convention in Fayetteville.

It is disappointing to get excited about a candidate just to find they aren't on the national radar. That isn't going to stop the Kissell campaign or North Carolina Democrats. However, it would be great if a few more voices would join with us to bring attention to this race.

With or without national attention, Larry Kissell and his supporters are doing what it takes to get elected. Larry has been endorsed by the NC AFL-CIO, the North Carolina Association of Educators and the (Char-Meck) Black Political Caucus.  The campaign is strong on grassroots efforts and has been visible on local blog communities like BlueNC, NCRumors, The Strategery of Life and, of course, here at The Southern Dem. The May primary is right around the corner and Larry should have no problem sailing right through.

The local press has started paying attention to the race. The Charlotte Observer's political coverage this year has been pretty pathetic across the board, but the smallerdaily and weekly papers have been ramping up the attention. That's a good thing, because those are the markets that count in this district.

A couple of days ago Jerry Meek, Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party, informed a national audience at MyDD that North Carolina Democrats would do their job to help bring a change to Washington and to take back the U.S. House of Representatives. He outlined the races in North Carolina's 8th and 11th Congressional Districts. The diary stayed on the recommended list long enough to attract some commenters and spread the word that despite what the WaPo says, NC has some districts that are in play.

This is a district with a Democratic Performance of 50.7%. That means that a Democrat can typically expect to get 50.7% of the vote against a Republican. But, as the grandson of the founder of Cannon Mills, Hayes can pretty much dump whatever cash he needs into the campaign. And he's proven that he's not averse to doing so. (By the way, Cannon Mills became Pillowtex. In 2003, Pillowtex shut down due to trade agreements that shipped jobs overseas. In the largest layoff in North Carolina history, over 4,300 hardworking people lost their jobs--most of them Hayes' constituents who worked for his old family company.)
With Robin Hayes having so much family money to pour into his campaign will it be possible for Larry to make a difference? Of course. Most candidates going up against Hayes are financial underdogs, but the last campaign showed that Hayes is vulnerable. In 2004 Beth Troutman spent $231,000 to Hayes' $1,461,000 and received 45% of the vote. It's not a wealthy district, though, and any assistance from those outside the district is welcome. Here is a link to Larry's site with ActBlue access.

The following list of issues and positions is not complete, but the heading on each is a link to a page on Larry Kissell's web site where more information is available.

On National SecurityLarry says:

We staged our way into Iraq in one year, there is no reason we can't stage our way out in one year.


An obvious root cause of terrorism that warrants expansion is our nation's self-defeating addiction to oil. ...... With 95% of the oil we use being imported, serving only to increase our trade deficit while taking us to some of the least stable places on earth and covertly funding our enemies in the war on terrorism in the process, we must implement a dedicated mentality to secure our future with home grown, alternative, renewable energy sources rendering us both secure and the world leader in energy production.


There is no rationale for a fiscally irresponsible $8.2 trillion debt making us safer....... Proponents of globalization and "free" trade may point to record corporate profit and expansion, but that's little comfort to those having lost their livelihoods as we outsource our domestic manufacturing readiness in a cynical race to the bottom.


"Supporting our troops" is more than a bumper sticker to be trotted out by an administration that neither plans for their success nor provides for their needs. Our armed forces are without question the best in the world with all credit going to them for maintaining stability in the mess this administration has spread globally. As the very life blood of our national security then, it's our moral obligation to provide the best possible care for those having made the sacrifice.

On Real Family ValuesLarry says:

Real Family Values quite simply means we expect far more from our Congress than being told how to be a family. It means having Representatives actually demonstrating values such as honesty and integrity.


A commitment to Real Family Values means helping working families rise above the poverty line instead of pushing millions more working families down the economic ladder while giving targeted tax breaks to idle wealth.

On Less GovernmentLarry says:

A simple accounting of our government's record deficit and a review of an administration yet to veto a single spending measure demonstrates how they have not delivered on their promise to decrease bureaucracy. It's simply bogus to state that there has effectively been any meaningful decrease in the size of government except for the reduction in some programs that actually help the working people, children, students and veterans of this nation.


A hallmark of a commitment to "less government" includes a commitment to protecting our personal freedoms and civil liberties, not the dangerous consolidation of executive power, abusive efforts to spy on our citizens, and intrusive legislation from a federal government treading in unchartered areas it has no business.

On Less TaxesLarry says:

I subscribe to the premise that any government action or inaction that leads to less money for my family is a tax on our livelihood. Therefore, what little actual tax "relief" as it was cynically named, real working families received through recent legislation has been more than taken away in rising energy bills, soaring medical costs and insurance premiums, increasing interest rates as a result of the rising national debt....and additional out-of-pocket expenses due to cuts in important programs like student loans and tracking down dead-beat parents.

The 8th District is comprised mostly of working class families. There are only a handful of precincts that reflect any level of wealth. Larry has the background and the demeanor to appeal to all the voters in the 8th, but especially the base. Larry spent 27 years in management in the textiles industry after earning a degree at Wake Forest University. He understands the concerns of the thousands in the district who lost their jobs to fair trade agreements. He's one of them.

While most manufacturing jobs in the district were lost after NAFTA, the fact that Robin Hayes promised to vote against CAFTA and then literally cast the deciding vote for it, has angered many who live in the district. Larry Kissell drives this point home everywhere he goes reminding the voters that before Hayes voted for it he said he was, "flat-out, horizontally opposed to CAFTA.".

Robin Hayes wasn't strong enough to stand up to his party even when he knew his vote was not in the best interest of his constituents. He broke a direct promise to the people of the 8th District. That doesn't sit well with the voters.

To add to the list of the issues outlined above, Larry also believes that there needs to be an increase in the minimum wage, a reduction in the "oil burden" on working families and a reversal of the programs implemented by the Bush administration that were planned to fail. He also believes:

The hard working families of the 8th District and our nation deserve a
commitment to education, economicopportunity, civil rights, personal freedoms, and the safe, clean environment that we all want for our families.
Larry Kissell is the strong leader the 8th District deserves. Larry can win, but more importantly, he will work for the common good and he will do it with honesty and humility and integrity.

Update:  I'm sorry to put this important information at the end of this piece, but I just finished putting together the financial information from the first quarter filings.  Larry has almost matched Robin Hayes with Larry's contributions coming in smaller amounts from fewer people.  In the first quarter Hayes received $71,655 from individuals and Larry Kissell received $64, 223.  Kissell had about triple the amount of small unitemized donations with his donations coming from over 250 people.  Hayes expenses were twice that of Kissell.  For Larry to have made such an impact while spending only $28,000 is amazing.

Hayes advantage comes from corporate PAC donations and his war chest.  This is where the netroots could put Larry over the top.   For those of you in districts with safe progressive candidates, please consider some financial support for a progressive Dem who needs your help.

This diary is crossposted at DailyKos.   Please consider recommending it on both sites.  This is a candidate who truly deserves the attention. (I know...they all do)

Tags: cafta, larry kissell, nc, robin hayes (all tags)





by Lance McCord 2006-04-20 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Frist!

Just barely.

I thought you were supposed to be studying?

by Anglico 2006-04-20 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Frist!

I thought we were here to avoid studying?

by faithfull 2006-04-20 09:19AM | 0 recs

Thanks for reminding me... I'm off to the library to cram for my Art History final tomorrow...

by HellofaSandwich 2006-04-20 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Good job, SD. Keep on pushing. I'll follow you anywhere.

by Anglico 2006-04-20 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Ya'll crack me up.

Here's the DailyKos diary for those who think it's worth the recommend. 101115/383

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Robin Hayes is running on what exactly?

Conservative values?  We'll assume that conservative values include voting to send jobs overseas then?  Conservative values include resigning elected positions and packing your whole family up and taking them to the Arctic Circle?

Hayes is a kook who will be an easy target for Kissell - especially if the netroots can help him fundraise (hint, hint).

by Screwy Hoolie 2006-04-20 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Keep those hints coming Screwy.

I'm sorry I will miss the book signing up your way.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 08:14AM | 0 recs

was a teacher, right?  

So, where is he?  

I hope he makes contact here on the internets.

by Robert P 2006-04-20 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

He still is a teacher, which is why he isn't here.  His campaign manager told me they are going to start reaching out on the web outside of NC.  I think it's a lot easier for an established candidate/politician like Brad Miller.  I'm sure Larry wanted to prove he deserved the netroots support by pulling in some strong numbers first.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

I was extremely dissapointed that Tim Dunn dropped out of this race, but I understand that his family's financial obligations played a part. I hope that Mr. Kissell can beat Hayes, because apart from being one of the weakest republican incumbents, he's also utterly lacking in integrity.

by JRyan 2006-04-20 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Tim is a great guy and he's proven it with all the help he's given the Kissell campaign.  I sure hope someone is working to keep this guy interested in politics.  You know in NC you don't have to live in your district for federal office.  Maybe we can convince Tim to take out a different Republican in 08.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

What a good idea. We could take over the 10th and the 5th!!!! Tim, anyone . . . HELP USSSSS!!!

Thanks for the great work, SD. You rock.

by Drama Queen 2006-04-20 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Thanks DQ!  I know you, Screwy, Martha and lots of others are working hard to oust Taylor in the 11th.  We appreciate what ya'll are doing too.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 09:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

Nice Job Sou Dem.  I am glad you inserted the update of the money numbers at the end, which goes to show that the grassroots support for Larry is there.  We can't match Hayes in PAC money but with a little help from our giving friends on the internet, maybe we will get more money in small donations!

by KevJ 2006-04-20 04:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

I was very excited to see the money numbers.  It's amazing that a new candidate came close to matching Robin Hayes dollar for dollar.  Great job to the Kissell campaign.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-20 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

I think it shows that when you have a good candidate, people who've been waiting to get a scummy one out come out of the woodwork with their support.

Plus,I'm sure the campaign has worked extremely hard. None of this comes easy.

by Drama Queen 2006-04-20 10:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

From what I can tell they are working very, very hard.  They are in all the right places.  Democrats in Charlotte have really embraced him and I think he'll do well here which is good.  I know the young man they have running the campaign here.  He's worked on my mother's campaigns and Larry and Mom share some precincts.  He knows what he's doing and I will get more involved helping once school is out and my oldest can stay with my youngest so mom can go play on the campaign trail.

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-21 12:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Larry Kissell Will Take NC-8 from Republicans

I received an email from the Kissell campaign and Larry thanks everyone here.  I asked him to consider writing  a post to share with the netroots and I think he may just give it a try.  Our primary in NC is May 2, so he's very busy getting ready for that.  I just wanted everyone to know that our support made an impression and he appreciates what we are all doing.

Go Larry Go!  We're pulling for you!

by The Southern Dem 2006-04-21 09:51AM | 0 recs


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