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[Roger Sharpe joins us today in the comments to chat about his candidacy for the NC-5.  As always with Blue America threads, please keep this on topic and polite.  And please stop by to give Roger a big FDL welcome!  -- CHS] 

Blue America has been examining a lot of longshot candidates this year. Not one of our men or women was favored. When we first started talking about Ned Lamont taking on a sitting U.S. Senator — and one of Lieberman’s supposed stature — we were laughed at.

Recent polls show several of our Blue America candidates actually pulling even or ahead of the Republican incumbents they are challenging. On the very day that Chris Carney joined us for a blog session, his under the radar race against deviant Republican Don Sherwood made headlines when a poll showed him winning by 7 points. After his FDL session, and using Blue America strategies, Larry Kissell’s race went from… well, from nowhere to being a race everyone is watching.

Now we’re taking on an even tougher race in North Carolina than Larry’s. In fact, Roger Sharpe is probably Blue America’s longest shot of the election year.

And he’s running against the only woman in the House of Representatives with a more extremist voting record than Mean Jean Schmidt, Rep. Virginia Foxx. Please click that link and look at the Foxx voting record. You will gasp! Every horrible thing you have heard about the Bush Regime involving itself in sounded like a great idea to Virginia Foxx. Far right Republicans like Tom DeLay, Steve King (the male Ann Coulter), Colbert’s friend Lynn Westmoreland, Roy Blunt, Barbara Cubin and John Doolittle almost look semi-sane compared to Foxx.

Talking with Roger on the phone a few days ago made me feel I was in the Old South. He reminded me of the kind of guy who would welcome a stranger with a tall glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot day. He seemed to be a real gentleman with old school values straight from Sunday School — but from the Sunday schools that teach about Jesus’ love, not about Pat Robertson’s and James Dobson’s hate, Sundays schools that teach about lending a hand to your neighbor, not about using the middle finger salute to celebrate your bigotry and human failings.

And Roger has committed himself to a life of community service, having served as a state senator when he was still in his 20s and as an educator and seminarian. During President Carter’s Administration, he worked as a special assistant to the Director of the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (negotiating higher education desegregation plans) and under President Reagan, he was appointed executive liaison to the White House for the National School Boards Association.

I think what pushed Roger into deciding to get down into the political trenches and run against Foxx was a very personal moment.

When Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, it was second nature for Roger to do what he did and second nature of Foxx to do what she did. Roger immediately went to his church to volunteer and, with many of his neighbors, went to Mississippi to work at a Lutheran-Episcopalian relief site.

Meanwhile, the KKK couldn’t even get a dozen of its most loyal congressional supporters to vote against giving aid to the striken communities of the Gulf Coast. Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated — were mortified at the picture of despair coming out of the region. But to the KKK caucus in the Congress…well…you know. Virginia Foxx joined the 10 other most vicious bigots in the entire House to vote "no." The 11 worst — and Virginia Foxx thought she was representing North Carolina values!

"She voted against giving aid to the Gulf States," Roger explained gently, still seeming disappointed and perplexed by the notion. "It made me think she had lost touch with her constituents’ values, the values of the people I grew up with. When neighbors are in need, we help them."

A grasping and brutal multimillionaire from the Bronx, Foxx, who lives in a gated community, doesn’t help anyone — except herself and the large corporations who contribute to her unbounded political ambitions. (I think I forgot to mention she had originally made a name for herself as a state legislator by introducing hate-filled bills aimed at denying equality to gays and, later, to immigrants.) She is loaded with legal bribes from the Big Business interests she is consistently serving. And while she does the bidding of the corporations, harming her constituents with terrible health care, high gas prices, off-shored jobs, declining education opportunities, she uses the most vile political demagoguery to make them think she has their interests in mind– joining a tiny minority of extremists, for example, to vote "no" on renewing the Voting Rights Act.

Our friends over at the TPM Cafe tell us Roger’s campaign won’t accept Big Business money at all because he believes, wisely, that you cannot clean house with mud on your shoes.

And cleaning The House is very much what he has in mind if he can make his Piedmont neighbors focus on what Virginia Foxx really is and what he is offering as an alternative. Blue NC has a solid interview with Sharpe from July 24th that shows clearly what that alternative is.

Roger told me he was startled to see Foxx return from a photo-op trip to Baghdad and come to the district to tell people that everything is "going well." Like most Americans, Roger does not think everything is "going well" in Iraq. In fact, Roger believes voters’ misgivings about the Bush/Foxx Iraq policies are going to help him win his race. And Roger isn’t just saying he wants to bring the troops home. His Iraq strategy goes way beyond that because, like more and more people paying attention, he realizes that people connected to the Bush Administration are profiteering from the war and must be held accountable.

People who think everything is going well will probably not want their delusions disturbed. More thoughtful folks in NC-05 need to get behind Roger’s selfless campaign to help clean up the mess people like Bush and Cheney and Foxx have made.

Roger is offering a dozen different ways to get involved with his campaign. Blue America wants to ask you to lend a hand right here at our ActBlue page. And the first 30 people who donate to Roger on our Blue America page today get a choice between two great CDs– Nina Simone’s Baltimore or the debut solo CD from country superstar John Rich. If you want Nina Simone, add .01. If you want John Rich, add .02. If you just want Roger Sharpe and no music, let your donation end with .00.