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Meet the Candidates Night
Sam's first public appearance as a candidate for Davidson County Commissioner was at Saturday night's (February 9th, 2002) Lincoln Day Dinner & Fund Raiser for the Davidson County GOP. The spaghetti was almost as hot as the three speakers Elizabeth Dole (pictured at left with Sam), Jim Snyder and Howard Coble.  Sheriff Hege led the Pledge of Allegiance.
For additional photos of the Lincoln Day Dinner go to  Photo Gallery



Supporters cheer Dole during stop in Denton

Contact: TAFT WIREBACK, Staff Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2002

DENTON -- Elizabeth Dole and her most persistent rival for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate had their first head-to-head encounter Saturday, sort of.

The heavily favored Dole was keynote speaker at a Davidson County Republican Party fund-raiser, giving a 30-minute speech that melded her North Carolina roots, her experience in Washington and her positions on a variety of issues.

Lexington lawyer Jim Snyder, former Davidson GOP chairman, spoke for about five minutes sandwiched between the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.

Snyder gave an emotional, high-energy appeal for votes from more than 400 of his fellow countians in the South Davidson High School gymnasium.

Dole, already endorsed by the man she hopes to replace, U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, delivered a low-key, folksy speech that invoked GOP heavyweights former President Ronald Reagan, Helms, President Bush and her husband, former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.

Dole was interrupted several times by applause as she paced in front of the bleachers, holding a portable microphone. She got one of her loudest when she talked about the need to turn North Carolina's economy around.

"I'm glad that we're getting an extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits," Dole said of the recent decision giving more help to laid-off workers. "But our goal, it seems to me, ought to be a paycheck, not an unemployment check."

Dole urged passage of an economic stimulus package and tax cuts to get business back on track, more defense spending, an end to excessive governmental regulation, tougher enforcement of trade limits, and a variety of other remedies from better schools to less red tape.

"I think what I can bring to the table on these issues is 35 years of shaping public policy," she said, referring to a public career that includes heading the U.S. departments of Transportation and Labor.

The tall and slender Snyder, a former Wake Forest University basketball player, hit hot-button conservative themes in his speech.

He said he wanted to continue the Helms legacy by fighting against gun control, abortion and trade deals that send North Carolina jobs overseas.

"The jobs are going out of this state faster than sand through a sieve and I'm going to do something about it if you send me to Washington," Snyder said.

Snyder has criticized Dole from afar for not being conservative enough. He did not make that claim in Saturday's speech.

But he did say the upcoming Senate race should be decided by North Carolinians and not by outsiders, a veiled reference to Dole's strong support from national party leaders. Even the president put in a plug for her in his recent visit to Winston-Salem.

Before the speech, Snyder said he did not believe that he was facing a hopeless task. He said he was glad that he finally got five minutes to speak on the same stage as Dole after weeks of seeking that kind of opportunity.

The well-attended event was the county GOP's Lincoln Day dinner, a $15-a-plate fund-raiser for the upcoming election year. It drew Republican office holders including U.S. Rep. Howard Coble and Davidson County officials ranging from Sheriff Gerald Hege to Davidson County Commissioner Fred McClure, District Attorney Garry Frank, and Clerk of Court Brian Shipwash.

Contact Taft Wireback at 373-7100

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Thomasville Times:
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Lexington Dispatch:
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