Taking foot out of mouth, he apologizes

October 3, 2009 

There are many ways a politician can respond to a query from a voter, but in terms of inappropriateness, this one may take the cake.

Last week, voters Edward and Laurie Alexander e-mailed Raleigh mayoral candidate Gregg Kunz asking how he felt about the 2nd Amendment and the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Kunz, a political novice, replied that he supports the 2nd Amendment and also supports having restrictions on illegal weapons. The Alexanders replied that, because of Kunz's answers, the couple would not be voting for him Oct. 6.

Now here's where it gets weird. In Kunz's next e-mail, he went off on the Alexanders, implying that they belong to an unlicensed militia and have a stash of weapons. "Because this country is so great we accept that we must tolerate wackos like you," Kunz wrote. "Place both your votes up your *%$#."

The Alexanders were, as you might expect, appalled.

"You sir, are unfit for public office!" they wrote, telling Kunz that he was crude, crass and unprofessional.

So Kunz, 48, doubled-down on the insults in his next e-mail, calling the Alexanders ignorant and telling them that their militia would not be able to influence Kunz if he is elected mayor.

"This is Raleigh, not Ruby Ridge," Kunz wrote, before signing off with the following statement: "How you like me now?"

Kunz would later apologize to the Alexanders for his messages, which he said were indeed crude and crass. He said he thought the Alexander e-mails had been sent by some of his friends who were pulling his leg.

"My subsequent replies to you were my attempt at humor to these friends," Kunz wrote.

The Alexanders accepted Kunz's apology but said they still won't be voting for him on Tuesday.

Pollster turns political

Democratic pollster Dean Debnam has jumped right into the middle of the heated Wake County school board elections by buying a television ad that's now appearing on WRAL.

The ad claims that voting for school board candidates Debra Goldman, Chris Malone and Deborah Prickett will result in higher property taxes to pay for their support of neighborhood schools. The three have been critics of the school district's diversity policy.

The ad is paid for by Wake Citizens for Good Government, a new political action committee that Debnam formed Monday. Debnam owns Public Policy Polling, which has been polling about the school board races for internal use.

Candidates' faves

Maybe there should have been a dance-off instead of a city election this year.

Some of Raleigh's local politicians had a chance to share their favorite songs on the radio with students at St. Augustine's College and Shaw University, as part of a Q&A sent out to candidates.

The results? A fairly decent mix CD.

Highlights include City Council candidate Lee Sartain's choice of Cascada's "Evacuate the Dancefloor" and Black Eyed Peas songs that both incumbent Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and incumbent City Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin named as their faves. Baldwin's all about the feel-good hit "I Gotta Feeling," while Meeker apparently likes the, um, body-shaking rhythms of "Boom Boom Pow."

Come Tuesday, Tripol is betting that Meeker is hoping he can tell his three challengers, as the Peas sing, that they're "so 2000 and late."

Her unlucky day

Wake County school board candidate Debra Goldman won't soon forget about her Wednesday afternoon debate on WPTF.

Goldman was at WPTF's offices on Highwoods Boulevard in Raleigh when she was told that her car had been broken into in the radio station's parking lot. The debate with fellow District 9 school board candidate Lois Nixon ended early so Goldman could take care of the situation.

Political trail

The Northern Wake Republican Club will meet Thursday at Events at Newton Square, 230 Newton Road, Raleigh. Dinner will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. Program begins at 6:30 and ends at 8:30. The public is invited. Guest speaker is former State Auditor Les Merritt, a co-founder of the nonpartisan Foundation for Ethics in Public Service.

Compiled by staff writers David Bracken, T. Keung Hui and Sarah Ovaska

Triangle Politics is a weekly look at the local political scene. Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529 or send e-mail to sarah.ovaska@newsobserver.com or metroeds@newsobserver.com.

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