Jim Pendergraph Advances To Runoff Against Robert Pittenger

The North Carolina congressional candidate who made headlines when he expressed doubts about President Obama's citizenship has advanced to a runoff election for the District 9 U.S. House seat.

Jim Pendergraph will face off against fellow Republican Robert Pittenger on July 17, according to WBTV.com. Pendergraph and Pittenger beat out the other eight Republicans running in the primary Tuesday, but neither got the 40 percent of the vote necessary to nab the nomination.

"With 10 candidates, the mathematics don't make it easy for one person to come out on top with 40 percent so we expected a runoff from the start," Pendergraph said.

Pendergraph was initially endorsed by the Charlotte Observer, but the paper retracted its endorsement after he made birther remarks at a campaign event last month with Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“I have reason to be suspicious,” Pendergraph said, when asked about Obama's birth certificate. “But I don’t know. I haven’t seen the facts. I think there’s a lot of smoke and generally when there’s smoke there’s got to be fire somewhere.”

The Observer's editorial board responded in a scathing op-ed:

By buddying up to one of America’s more hateful egomaniacs and then joining with fringe “birthers” to question President Obama’s citizenship, Pendergraph has contradicted much of what he told the Observer’s editorial board in his endorsement interview last month. As a result, we have lost faith in him, and urge voters to consider Edwin Peacock or Ric Killian in the 9th Congressional District race.