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GOP Incumbent Offers NRA Escorts

September 14, 2002

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ A Republican candidate for Congress is offering campaign volunteers extra protection for their forays into immigrant neighborhoods _ escorts from the National Rifle Association.

Democrats said the move by incumbent Rep. Robin Hayes’ campaign is an insult to residents, and held a rally Saturday in their support.

``We’ve knocked on doors in this neighborhood,″ said Paul Blank, campaign manager for Chris Kouri, Hayes’ Democratic opponent. ``We’ve had women and children go door-to-door, too.″ The volunteers went without NRA escorts, he said.

In an e-mail sent Thursday to Mecklenburg County Republicans about a campaign gathering, Hayes’ campaign managers said volunteers need not fear.

``NRA members will cover neighborhoods that might be uncomfortable for some volunteers,″ the e-mail said.

Hudson later conceded the message may have been insensitive, and he said he hoped the NRA escorts would not be carrying guns.

``I could understand, going back and reading it, that it could have been worded better,″ Hudson said. He said the campaign’s main concern is fast-moving traffic and not crime.

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