Chavis mulling challenge to Crawford

Support for the GOP budget plan could bring House Democrat Jim Crawford a primary challenge by a nationally known civil rights leader.

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Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.
Laura Leslie

Support for the GOP budget plan could come at a steep cost to Rep. Jim Crawford, D-Oxford – a primary challenge by a nationally known civil rights leader.

Former national NAACP leader and longtime civil rights figure Dr. Benjamin Chavis confirmed by e-mail today he is considering returning to his hometown of Oxford, and will decide soon whether to challenge Crawford in 2012.

Chavis led the NAACP from 1993-94, organized the Million Man March in 1995, and co-founded the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network with Russell Simmons in 2001.  He's a well-known writer, speaker, and organizer, and is also a figure in the book "Blood Done Sign My Name." His website has a more complete biography.

Here's Chavis's response to our inquiry: 

"Oxford, NC is my home. My desire and plan to return to Granville County to continue my career of service to all the residents of the North Carolina is a true fact. I have received thousands of messages and requests from people who live in Granville County and throughout eastern NC who have encouraged me to return home.

"I will be making a decision about running for elective office after a special meeting at the First Baptist Church in Oxford on Tuesday evening.

"I am very concerned that some of my fellow Democrats are now supporting a regressive and terrible state budget proposal. I hope that Representative Crawford and other Democrats in the legislature will represent the will of all the people of NC more effectively.

"If I return to NC, it will not be to retire. It will be more than likely to run for Crawford's seat if he does not change his current stand on the proposed budget."

Crawford has indicated he's likely to vote with the GOP to override the governor's veto of the budget. That vote could come as soon as Tuesday.  


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