G.K. Butterfield is leading in money and endorsements in the First Congressional District race. Yet, he is treating every campaign stop as though he's an underdog.
"We've got to win Granville County," he said.
Butterfield actually needs to win Granville County twice. He is running in a special election against Republican Greg Dority. The winner fills out the term of Frank Ballance, who resigned for health reasons amid an investigation into the Hyman Foundation, a drug counseling program he founded.
Butterfield will also face off against other Democrats in a primary to see who makes it on the November ballot. Critics said Butterfield is getting an unfair advantage in both races as the so-called hand-picked successor to Ballance.
"I have not been anointed by anyone. I have 30 years of service in North Carolina. People have the opportunity to review my record," Butterfield said.
Dority said the Ballance/Butterfield connection is a major factor in the race.
"Economic prosperity and political corruption cannot co-exist in the same space at the same time. The Ballance issue with the Hyman Foundation has been critical in this election," he said.
Dority said he knows he is facing an uphill battle in both races. Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1 in the first district.
Tom Eisenmenger of Roanoke Rapids is the Libertarian candidate in the special election. Four Democrats, two Republicans and 1 Libertarian are involved in next week's primary.
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