Crossing the party line

August 22, 2002 

Republican congressional candidate Carolyn Grant has support from Anne Faircloth, but it was a Democrat, Lawrence Davis, who got her dad's money.

Notable Republicans contributing to Davis' campaign for Congress from the 13th District are former Republican U.S. Senator Lauch Faircloth of Clinton, and Wake Forest businessman Bob Luddy, known for his contributions to the Republican Party and GOP candidates.

Davis has checks from plenty of Democrats, too, including former Gov. Jim Hunt, a partner in the law firm where Davis works, and Jeanette Hyde of Raleigh, a former ambassador to Barbados.

Davis, one of six Democrats in the primary, was state Democratic chairman when Faircloth was a Democrat, but Davis said he doesn't know Faircloth well. He said he doesn't know Luddy, but was told he should seek him for a donation.

Registered Republicans in the state contributed about $26,000 to Davis' campaign in the first half of the year, somewhat rare for a congressional primary.

"They perceive me as a moderate and they prefer me to the alternatives," Davis said. "And they perceive that the Democratic nominee, the way the district was carved up, will likely be able to win the general election."

Tort-reform debate

A Davis fund-raising letter signed by a friend, Dr. Bill Lambeth, blasts state Sen. Brad Miller, another Democrat running in the 13th District, for his contributions from lawyers and for the support he is getting from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Lambeth's letter talks about Davis' support for capping punitive damage awards in medical malpractice suits. In an interview, Davis said that capping punitive damages -- the jury awards for pain and suffering -- will reduce health-care costs.

"I had long felt that we need to have a more rational system of settling court litigation," Davis said.

Miller, a lawyer, said he has raised much of his money from lawyers because those are the people he knows. But he said he doubts that malpractice awards are driving up health-care costs.

"I do think that the negligence law does make society safer," Miller said. "It's a way to compensate people who have been harmed because of carelessness."

Trial Lawyers' picks

The N.C. Academy of Trial Lawyers has rolled out more endorsements in the upcoming elections.

In one of two Supreme Court races, the group endorsed Democrat incumbent Justice G.K. Butterfield, whom Gov. Mike Easley appointed to the court last year. Butterfield, a former trial judge, is the court's only black member.

The academy made no endorsement in the other Supreme Court race between incumbent Republican incumbent Justice Bob Orr and one of two Democrat candidates, Judge Bob Hunter of the Court of Appeals or Rutherfordton lawyer Bradley Greenway.

In the Court of Appeals races, the group endorsed Democrat incumbents Wanda Bryant, Hugh Campbell and Loretta Biggs; Republican District Court Judge Fritz Mercer of Charlotte; and Democrat lawyer Martha Geer of Raleigh.

Jones for Boyd

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones is helping Graham Boyd, a Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District, raise money. Jones and Richard Vinroot, the GOP candidate for governor in 2000, will be lead hosts of a Boyd fund-raiser Friday in Raleigh.

By staff writers Lynn Bonner and Matthew Eisley. Bonner can be reached at 829-4821 or at lbonner@newsobserver.com.

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