At the News 14/WTVI/League of Women Voters debate, Pendergraph and Pittenger posed for photos shaking hands. But in the second half of the debate, Pendergraph came out swinging.
“As a state senator he failed to recuse himself from a vote where he profited greatly,” Pendergraph said. “That’s illegal. And as a career law enforcement officer I can promise you that will be investigated.”
Then like a prosecutor cross-examining a hostile witness, Pendergraph leaned over the table separating him and Pittenger and presented him with a photocopy of the deed to the Waxhaw land.
“And I have to ask, Mr. Pittenger, is that your signature on this deed?”
Pittenger responded, “I think it’s well understood what you have there and we’ll respond to it.”
Pittenger has accused Pendergraph of desperation tactics saying an ethics committee investigation had cleared him in the 2003 land deal and there was no criminal investigation.
“This is political nonsense,” said Pittenger in a post-debate interview. “These are people who have a political agenda. They have their own reasons they want to use something like this that is a very cheap shot that has no basis at all.”
Pendergraph explicitly stated that the issue of “trust” was crucial in the election because so little separated he and Pittenger on the issues. Pendergraph declined to say whether he would endorse Pittenger in the general election if he won the primary, saying he had not thought about it and to check back with him after next Tuesday’s runoff.