Candidate Has Tiff With Her Own Party
By MATTHEW EISLEY, AMY GARDNER AND DAN KANE, Staff Writers
October 22, 2004
To capitalize on a federal election complaint that someone apparently has filed against one of her opponents, Rachel Hunter, a Republican candidate for justice on the state Supreme Court, had planned a news conference earlier this week at state GOP headquarters on Raleigh's Hillsborough Street.
But there was a problem with her plan.
The opponent she targeted, fellow Republican Paul Newby, is the only one of four Republicans running for the seat that the GOP endorsed.
And Hunter was going to criticize party leaders to boot.
So Bill Peaslee, the state party's chief of staff and political director, ordered her campaign entourage off the party's property.
Hunter moved her show to the sidewalk across the street, next to the Velvet Cloak Inn -- where they were told to remove their cars.
"Apparently they thought they could have a news conference on private property," Peaslee said as he watched it from his stoop.
The tiff was the latest salvo in a monthslong row between Hunter and party officials.
They say she's unqualified for the job and didn't deserve their endorsement, which she sought.
Peaslee called the matter "a case of sour grapes."
"She didn't get the endorsement, so she's trying to throw mud," he said.
Hunter says party leaders have smeared her reputation.
"The party leadership has gone further than just an endorsement," she said. "They have defamed me, my employer and the educational institutions I attended. ... They have even called me fat and ugly."
Hunter has repeatedly slammed her party in return.
"They are an embarrassment and a laughingstock in the eyes of the public and the opposition," she says on her Web page.
Newby's case "once more displays the arrogance, stupidity and incompetence of the party leadership in putting all their eggs into one basket," she said.