Republican congressional candidate William "Bill" Randall is suggesting that the Obama administration and BP conspired to intentionally spill oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
Randall admits that he has no evidence that what he says is true. But that is not stopping him from making the claim as he campaigns for the GOP runoff election Tuesday to determine who faces incumbent Democratic Rep. Brad Miller on the November ballot.
"Now, I'm not necessarily a conspiracy person ... and this is purely speculative on my part and not based on any fact, but personally I feel there is a possibility that there was some sort of collusion," said Randall, who has aligned himself with the tea party movement.
"I don't know how or why, but in that situation, if you have someone from a company proposing to violate the safety process and the government signing off on it, excuse me, maybe they wanted it to leak. But then it got beyond what was anticipated, and we had an explosion and loss of life."
Randall went on to suggest that there might be a "cover-up" of what really caused the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which resulted in 11 deaths and the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history.
"Is there a cover-up going on?" he asked. "I'm not saying there necessarily is. But I think there's enough facts on the table for people that [they] really need to do some investigative research and find out what went on with that and get a subpoena of records and everything else."
Randall made the statements after a reporter asked whether he supported President Barack Obama's six-month moratorium on new deep-water drilling for a safety review.
Pressed on what motivation the federal government and BP would have to purposely spill oil, Randall said he had no idea. But he reiterated that the issue needed to be investigated.
Video of Randall's comments were reposted on several left-leaning blogs Wednesday, bringing some national attention to what had been a low-profile race in the state's 13th Congressional District.
Randall is not the first conservative to claim that the spill might have been planned.
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, who oversaw the Bush administration's much-criticized response to Hurricane Katrina, made a similar claim on Fox News shortly after the rig went up in flames and sank. Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has also suggested that someone intentionally caused the spill to build political opposition to more drilling.
The White House declined to comment on Randall's claim Wednesday, as did the Miller campaign.
Tom Fetzer, the state's GOP chairman, also declined to comment.
Both Randall and his Republican primary opponent, Bernie Reeves, have been outspoken supporters of oil and gas exploration off the North Carolina coast, where drilling has long been banned.
Randall, a U.S. Navy retiree who moved to North Carolina 19 months ago, finished first in a four-way primary last month, edging out second-place finisher Reeves by just 135 votes.
Asked for comment, Reeves responded through a campaign spokesman: "Does Bill Randall also think we didn't land on the moon?"
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