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Pantano Hosts "Steel Challange" Fundraiser, Refuses to Speak with WHQR

By Roderick McClain


10-25-10 – Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District Ilario Pantano held a campaign fundraiser at a shooting range in Brunswick County yesterday. The event was called a steel challenge and attendees brought pistols, bullets, and their checkbooks.

Along Highway 211, the Ant Hill Shooting Range sits in a clearing of longleaf pine, its headquarters a mobile home.

By noon yesterday, nearly 60 people had lined up at the registration desk. One of them was Joshua Scott, a fireman's instructor from Fayetteville. He supports Pantano in his race against Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre. He's also a regular at the shooting range.

"Our Second Amendment rights are very valuable. It's a very large portion of our heritage as Americans."

The event kicked off when Pantano's big red diesel engine pickup pulled up.

"Yay! Are all these people here to take my money? They're all gonna outshoot me? Oh my goodness."

Pantano greeted his supporters, then turned to the media tent, where he refused to comment to NPR.

"Well thank you very much. Thank you. Are you the gentleman that's here with NPR? I don't have a comment for NPR, so I'm gonna be speaking to everybody else."

When another reporter asked about the comment, Pantano said he doesn't like seeing censorship and politically correct behavior by organizations that receive public money.

More specifically, he says he doesn't agree with how NPR handled last week's firing of former news analyst Juan Williams.

In addition to Pantano's remarks at the event, someone anonymously put up a hand-drawn sign at the range entrance. The sign featured the letters N-P-R inside a black circle, with a red strike-mark cutting through.