05/07/04 — Ballance withdraws from 1st Congressional District race

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Ballance withdraws from 1st Congressional District race

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on May 7, 2004 2:01 PM

Congressman Frank Ballance Jr. said today that he would withdraw as a candidate for re-election.

Ballance, whose district includes part of Wayne County, has been criticized for establishing a foundation and then having state money granted to it while he was a member of the General Assembly from Warren County. But he said his resignation at the end of this term was because of his health.

Frank Ballance


Ballance, a Democrat, had filed for re-election on Tuesday.

He said in a statement today that he had been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease, and his treatment was not progressing as he had hoped.

Ballance's statement said he suffered a setback on Wednesday and had treatment at Bethesda Navy Medical Center, which caused him to reconsider his decision to seek re-election.

"Considering the number of candidates in the primary and those expressing intent to file, I do not believe that the current state of my health will allow me to mount the vigorous campaign necessary to win," Ballance said.

"I am deeply saddened that I am disappointing so many of my friends and supporters who have urged me to seek re-election. I care very deeply for the people of the First Congressional District."

Ballance has been at the center of a controversy over a foundation he started in 1985. A federal grand jury has been examining the John A. Hyman Foundation, which was the subject of a stinging state audit in October. The FBI also has been looking into the foundation, state officials have said.

The audit determined the foundation, which ostensilbly ran a drug and alcohol counseling program in northeastern North Carolina, was riddled with conflicts of interest and made $325,000 in questionable payments.

The foundation has received $2.1 million in state money since 1994, thanks in part to Ballance, a longtime state legislator and foundation board chairman.

Ballance has served one term in Congress.