Posted Sunday, October 30, 2016 10:10 pm
By Corey Friedman
Wilson Daily Times Editor
Republican congressional candidate H. Powell Dew Jr. brought his David and Goliath metaphor to life by slipping a Holy Land artifact into his opponent’s palm.
When U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield accompanied former President Bill Clinton on a downtown Wilson campaign stop Tuesday, Dew gave the Democratic incumbent a stone from the Valley of Elah, where the book of Samuel says the shepherd boy slayed the Philistine warrior with a stone from his slingshot.
“I gave both G.K. Butterfield and Bill Clinton a rock,” Dew said. “Even though they’re giants, they can easily be taken down.”
The challenger said Butterfield and Clinton accepted the unique gifts and Dew and Butterfield parted with a friendly hug.
“They both received them graciously and it was not meant with malice or ill intent,” Dew said. “It was personally edifying to me to be able to share that rock with them as we continue to face off these last few weeks and finish this on Nov. 8.”
Butterfield and former Gov. Jim Hunt accompanied Clinton on a stroll down Nash Street during an unannounced stop on the former president’s “Stronger Together” bus tour. Clinton shook hands with supporters and posed for pictures while campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
A Stantonsburg town councilman and the pastor of Fremont Missionary Baptist Church, Dew said he gathered the stones during a guided tour of biblical sites.
“The Valley of Elah is where David and Goliath met, and at the bottom of that valley is a creek bed,” Dew explained. “A couple years ago when I had a chance to go to Israel, our bus stopped there in the Valley of Elah and I got some small stones from the valley.”
Dew is challenging Butterfield, a Wilson native, for the 1st Congressional District seat he has held since taking office in 2004. Libertarian J.J. Summerell of Greensboro is also in the running.
The 1st Congressional District’s boundaries were redrawn this year following a February court ruling that the district was gerrymandered by race during the Republican-led General Assembly’s 2011 redistricting process, but the district has historically been a Democratic stronghold.
A 2012 Cook Political Report analysis gave the district a partisan voting index of D+17, meaning the average Democrat could expect a 17 percentage-point lead over the average Republican based on historical voting trends.
Butterfield, a six-term congressman, chief deputy Democratic whip and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, holds sweeping advantages in name recognition and fundraising.
Federal Election Commission reports show Butterfield with $637,582 in cash on hand at the end of the second quarter in July. Dew had just $161 in his campaign account, having raised $5,600 and spent $5,438 that quarter.
“This ballot race between me and G.K. Butterfield really is a David vs. Goliath,” Dew said. “He is well-known and well-established, and I’ve just compared it to a David vs. Goliath fight. As I’ve been going to different areas and talking to people, many times people are one-issue voters, and it only takes one issue to change somebody from one person to another candidate.”
A self-described conservative Republican, Dew is campaigning on a platform that includes restricting abortion, limiting marriage to one man and one woman, shifting educational policy from the federal government to the states, preserving the Second Amendment and enforcing immigration laws.
Dew said his presentation of the Holy Land stone to Butterfield and the congressman’s good-natured acceptance of the gift showed that political rivals can remain civil despite their disagreements.
“It’s a friendly competition,” he said. “We’re clearly divided on many issues, but it just is a gesture of saying, ‘It’s a David vs. Goliath race.’”
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