Issues vs. negativism in NC-13 US House campaign

Issues vs. negativism in NC-13 US House campaign

By Harlan Brown
June 13, 2010

Have you ever complained about political candidates slinging mud at each other instead of focusing on the issues? Well, someone is trying to set a different example in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District.

Bill Randall and Bernie Reeves are the two remaining Republican candidates in a runoff election to be held on June 22. The winner will compete against incumbent Democrat Brad Miller in the general election.

Randall, a 27-year Navy veteran who achieved the rank of Command Master Chief, has pledged to "keep the high ground." He is running a campaign based on issues rather than personal attacks on his opponent. At his website, Randall cites Ronald Reagan’s "11th Commandment": "Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow Republican." The purpose was to not get things out in the public arena that could cause harm against another Republican.

Reeves, a local businessman, has chosen to sling personal accusations at his opponent. For example, he has accused Randall of plagiarism and of lying about his education. The latter accusation made front-page news at the Reeves website even though, according to the Raleigh News and Observer, the charge is false. At his website, Randall responded to the plagiarism, which was done by an individual who is no longer with the campaign.

As reported in NC-13 US House candidates differ on moral, governmental issues in debate, although the two candidates agree on a number of issues, significant differences exist on some issues. At a June 10 Tea Party event in Granville County, where Randall was the featured speaker, he focused on what he would do to represent his constituents rather than on what his opponent has allegedly done. Themes such as servant leadership, cutting back Big Government, and standing up without being intimidated were prominent in his speech.

In their own words

Following are excerpts from the Reeves and Randall home pages as of Sunday night, June 13:

Bernie Reeves

From Carter Wrenn as posted on

Here’s a mystery: Bill Randall says he has an MBA from National Louis University, but National Louis University says he doesn’t.

Bernie Reeves’ friend, who runs a company that recruits and screens executives for businesses, contacted National Louis University (in Illinois) to verify Randall’s MBA degree. The college instructed him to contact the National Student Clearinghouse – the same service Duke, UNC and NCSU use to allow employers to verify applicant’s degrees.

The Student Clearinghouse reported Bill Randall does not have an MBA. [Click here]

Bernie’s friend then re-contacted the National Student Clearinghouse to reconfirm the information; they reported again: No degree.

I then asked him to contact the University directly to confirm the information a third time. He called the Dean over the MBA program twice. No reply.

I called the University’s office of Admissions and Records and was told to contact the National Student Clearinghouse. I called the records office directly and asked to speak to the Degree Verification Coordinator. No reply. I emailed. No reply.

I sent Bill Randall a message on his website on Facebook. No reply.

Finally, at the NBC debate, Bernie explained to Bill what had happened, said he didn’t want to make an unfair charge and asked Bill if he did have an MBA.

Bill said, Yes. Absolutely.

Bernie followed up with an email asking Bill for verification of his degree. No reply.

Bernie called Bill and asked for verification – Bill refused to give it and said, You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Bill Randall

If you go to my website, you will see that one of the things I spelled-out right away was the need for this runoff (between me and Bernie Reeves) to be above board in every respect.  I asked that everyone pray for me… AND Bernie Reeves (and our campaigns).  The bottom line objective was to NOT give Brad Miller any ammunition to use against the eventual winner of the runoff.  Here’s the link:

In the 1960’s, Ronald Reagan coined a phrase now called “Reagan’s 11th Commandment.”  Simply put, Reagan stated:  “Thou Shalt Not Criticize Thy Fellow Republican.”  The purpose was to NOT get things out in the public arena that could cause harm against another Republican.  View this link (Rudy Guliani quotes Reagan):

Earlier in this NC-13th Congressional race, all four candidates (Huffman, Hurley, Randall and Reeves) pledged to support the eventual winner for the GOP nomination.  But today, when asked, Bernie Reeves said that he “hoped it didn’t come down to that.” (eventually supporting Randall).  He didn’t say “no,” but the question asked what he would do (hypothetically) should the other candidate win.  Note that now… Reeves refuses to affirm the same.

Many voters have expressed their utter disgust over politicians who sling mud with a “win-at-all-cost” campaign.  For me personally, I choose to let my actions confirm my words.  Only through decisive action (despite the circumstances) can you demonstrate resolve, leadership, integrity, and character.  I may be mistaken (in the mind of some), but I believe that this is what the voters in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District are looking for.

I affirm to each of you that despite the attacks and false accusations, I will keep the high ground.

The truth

The News and Observer reported yesterday, "This week, Reeves suggested that Randall was lying about earning an online master's degree. Reeves had to back down when the Chicago-based National-Louis University eventually affirmed that Randall had graduated."

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