Local News

Bolstered by Clinton, Edwards Challenges Faircloth

Posted July 30, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Thursday night, with President Clinton by his side, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Edwards announced a challenge to his Republican opponent, Lauch Faircloth. Edwards said he wants the campaign to focus on issues and not ad campaigns.

John Edwards has proposed that he and incumbent Senator Lauch Faircloth abandon their respective ad campaigns and instead, pool their money to buy TV and radio time for a series of forums. The forum idea has sparked a debate of its own.

"I have proposed that we eliminate, totally eliminate, 30 and 60 second television ads, and that we replace it with a real discussion on prime time television of the issues that matter to the voters of North Carolina," said Edwards.

He had the home crowd behind him when he launched his idea for an alternative to political advertising, but now Edwards has a much tougher sell -- convincing Faircloth to accept the proposal.

So far the Faircloth camp has not responded warmly to Edwards' idea, and GOP media advisors are ridiculing the Democratic challenger.

"He's in trouble. He's trying to change the rules in midstream, because he's not raising money, and I don't think it's going to work," said a spokesperson for Faircloth's campaign.

Edwards' campaign manager says that's not true, and he disputes the notion that his candidate's proposal backs Faircloth in a corner, by either making him agree to the forums or look like he supports negative political advertising.

The Federal Election Commission says through June, each candidate has raised over $4 million. Faircloth still has half of his money left. Edwards has spent most of his.