04/14/04 — Butterfield won't challenge Ballance

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Butterfield won't challenge Ballance

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 14, 2004 1:59 PM

A potential Democratic candidate announced Tuesday that he would not challenge U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance in the Democratic primary.

Superior Court Judge G.K. Butterfield, however, said he would run if Ballance dropped out of the race.

Ballance, whose First Congressional District includes Wayne County, is the chairman and founder of an organization that is being investigated for misuse of government money.

Butterfield, of Wilson and a former member of the North Carolina Supreme Court, formed an exploratory committee in January to consider a possible run for Congress.

The committee conducted a poll of likely Democratic voters in the district and found that 58 percent were not familiar with the ongoing federal investigation into misuse of funds by Ballance's Hyman Foundation.

"I continue to feel that the First District has been damaged by the Hyman investigation," Butterfield said. "Many of my friends across the district feel embarrassed about the federal investigation and feel that we need a fresh start in the First District.

"I am grateful to them for their belief that I could serve the people of the district in an effective way."

Butterfield said that he will run if Ballance decides not to do so. The filing deadline is May 7.

But he also said, "I made a commitment to Rep. Ballance several months ago that I would not challenge him in the primary. I have not wavered from this commitment. The congressman is our connection to Washington, and it is necessary that he be unobstructed in his work."

Republicans Greg Dority and Jerry Williford have said they will run for the office.