8th District Republican candidate D'Annunzio in fight with party leaders
8th District Republican congressional candidate Tim D'Annunzio says North Carolina Republican party leaders are out to discredit him because he won't take orders from them. "I haven't from day one. That's why we're in this situation. That's why they've looked for any means to destroy me." D'Annunzio is referring to claims in court documents from his divorce and child-custody proceedings in the mid-1990s. The Associated Press reports that state Republican party leaders are feeding those documents to some members of the media. The Charlotte Observer reported on those documents in a story that ran Sunday. According to those records, his estranged wife said that D'Annunzio had claimed to be the Messiah, intended to raise his stepfather from the dead, and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona. A Hoke County judge also wrote in a child support ruling that D'Annunzio was a "religious zealot" who believed the government was the "Antichrist." WFAE's Greg Collard attended Monday's press conference at the Cabarrus County Government Center. In this segment, he and WFAE's Julie Rose discuss what was said. Update (05/26/10) Republican Party leaders are continuing to distance themselves from D'Annunzio. The National Republican Congressional Committee is the latest to support Harold Johnson in the June 22nd runoff. "We don't want to provide Democrats with a Republican nominee who has a lot of serious issues in his background (with a) criminal record and such that gives Democrats fodder for attack ads and prevent us from winning this seat," said NRCC spokesman Andy Sere. The NRCC press release only identifies Johnson's opponent as Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell. It makes no mention of D'Annunzio. D'Annunzio has acknowledged past problems that include a criminal trespassing conviction in 1995. It was related to a domestic dispute. "What we're talking about is redemption and repentance. Repentance means you turn around and go a different way. That's what I did." D'Annunzio said at Monday's press conference. "My belief is once you do that, you're redeemed. That's what I did." Before taking questions, he told reporters that his children were present and that they "have never heard any of that stuff" in the Charlotte Observer story. The story referred to a 1995 psychiatric evaluation that was part of the child-custody case. According to the Observer, the psychiatrist wrote that D'Annunzio told him he had been in drug treatment for heroin dependence and jail three times for offenses that included burglary and assaulting a police officer. "I would appreciate it if you respect my family and me, and I'm not going to address any of the specific allegations that were part of the article," D'Annunzio told reporters. He was asked anyway. Did he discover the Ark of the Covenant? Was he ever addicted to heroin? What specifically are the lies he speaks of? He wouldn't answer, and threatened to end the press conference. At one point, he asked WFAE to leave the government center, a public building. "I am not going to talk about specifics of second-hand allegations," D'Annunzio said, imploring reporters to "do your work. Go do your research. If something is actually true, it's out there, you can go find it."