GOP candidates meet, compete for Wake seat
Posted March 3, 2012 3:37 p.m. EST
Updated March 4, 2012 9:51 a.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The three Republican candidates who want to replace Democrat Brad Miller in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District faced off Saturday evening in Raleigh for a forum sponsored by The Civitas Institute.
Paul Coble, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, former U.S. Attorney George Holding, and Bill Randall, a businessman who ran against Miller in 2010, will try to convince voters that they deserve the GOP nomination to face Democrat David Price.
They returned time and again to the topic of the economy, attacking President Barack Obama and each other about how to better balance the budget.
"We need to cut until we spend as much or less than we take in," Holding said. "And the cuts are going to be difficult."
Randall wanted to go even further. "We need to look at being efficient and effective and even look to return money to the taxpayers, not just get it down to zero," he said.
Coble described spending in Washington, D.C., as an addiction. "If we don't change that," he said, "we will see our economy destroyed, and we will see this country go into bankruptcy. We will actually lose our economic security in this country."
The discussion got most heated when moderator David Crabtree, of WRAL News, pushed the candidates on their support for North Carolina's Amendment 1, the proposition to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
All three agreed it was right to let a vote decide the issue. "Is the will of the people ever wrong?" Crabtree asked.
Holding lightened the mood by saying, "We did make one mistake – electing Barack Obama president of the United States."
Miller decided in January that he wouldn't seek a sixth term after Republican lawmakers redrew his district to pit him against Price, the Democratic incumbent in the 4th District.
The debate was the capstone to a two-day conference hosted by Civitas to encourage conservative activism in the coming political season.