A North Carolina congressional candidate is under fire for changing his position on amnesty, but the candidate’s campaign maintains he has always been opposed to amnesty.
In a hot contest to attain the Republican nomination for retiring North Carolina Republican Rep. Howard Coble’s 6th District seat between Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr. and Mark Walker, a pastor from Greensboro, immigration has become a topic for scrutiny.
Berger Jr. charges that Walker has changed his opinion on amnesty for illegal immigrants, pointing, in part, to a mobile website purporting to belong to Walker with a label at the bottom reading “Paid for by: Walker 4 NC,” and a donate button.
The immigration portion of the website reads, “After border security and working with those who’ve legally applied, I would propose legislation that would provide an incremental pathway to legalization for 12 million illegal immigrants.”
Walker told the Rhino Times in June that the website belonged to him.
His current website however, denies any affinity for amnesty.
“Mark is opposed to all forms of immigration amnesty. The immigration system is broken, and we must fix it. Our first priority must be to secure our porous borders; without secure borders, reforms will have no effect,” the site reads.
When asked if the website arguing for amnesty belonged to Walker, campaign spokeswoman Julie Emmons explained that the website was a “fake,” “politics as usual,” and that the campaign only has one website, the one arguing against amnesty.
“We do not have two websites,” she responded to Breitbart News. “The one listed was created by either our opponent or a 3rd party working on his behalf. It contains language that has been distorted, pulled out of context, and then presented as Mark’s current views. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Emmons further denied that Walker’s position on immigration has changed, pointing to endorsements by area sheriffs as proof of his anti-amnesty, pro-enforcement bonafides.
“Mark has always opposed amnesty. He has never wavered and has always believed that we need to secure the borders and ports first,” she emailed, going on to charge the Berger campaign of “misleading and lying” about Walker’s record on immigration reform.
“He’s taken advantage of the fact that Mark is a pastor and has done humanitarian work and is implying that he’s weak on this issue,” she charged.
Within 24 hours of Breitbart News’s asking the Walker campaign about the website, the website was taken down.
When pressed about the coincidence, Emmons responded in an email, “Really? No, we don’t know anything about it. Well, I do now.”
Meanwhile the Berger campaign slammed Walker for failing to own up to the website and his past stances.
“Mark Walker needs to own his record and stop lying to the people of the 6th District. His stories are becoming bigger and bigger tales, and his claims are downright delusional. Now, after facing tough questions, he’s turning to lies and deception to hide his views on the issues,” Berger campaign spokesman Gillum Ferguson charged.
“Phil Berger has never wavered from his opposition to amnesty and he been a rock solid conservative from day one,” he added.
Neither candidate amassed enough votes to avoid a run-off in the May primary. A run-off primary is scheduled for July 15.