Tim D'Annunzio has pulled out of a scheduled 8th district Republican congressional debate that was to have aired on a Raleigh television station.
NBC17 said D'Annunzio and Harold Johnson had signed a "terms for participation" agreement on May 10 to participate in a 60-minute debate on June 8. The debate was to have been sponsored by the TV station, The Independent Tribune and The League of Women Voters of North Carolina.
But the station said Tuesday that it had received a statement from D'Annunzio withdrawing from the debate, reports Rob Christensen.
"This is to formally inform you that due to the collaboration between the Harold Johnson campaign and the news media to use partial truth, innuendo and accusations to unfairly smear me, I have decided to withdraw from the debate that was to be taped on June 8, 2010," D'Annunzio said.
NBC17 News said in a statement that it provides "fair, accurate and balanced coverage in our newscasts and debates."
On Wednesday, D'Annunzio accused NBC17 of trying to harass and intimidate his family when a reporter showed up at his Raeford business seeking an interview. According to D'Annunzio, the reporter talked to his 14-year old son and asked him to contact the candidate on his cell phone.
"The reporter then went on to demand I appear for an interview to explain myself," D'Annunzio said. "Again, I refused to take part in their charade and political set-up, and told her they would have to create this story without me."
NBC17 has sponsored a number of debates this political season, including a 13th district Republican congressional debate this week and a Democratic Senate primary debate in April.
The 8th congressional district extends from Charlotte to Fayetteville and includes part of the Raleigh television market. The district is represented by Democrat Larry Kissell of Biscoe.