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As a conservative Republican who believes that core values are paramount in our elected officials, I cannot support Scott Keadle, our Republican candidate, in the upcoming race for 12th Congressional District. This is a clear case where principle must take precedence over party.

Many well-meaning conservatives are saying, ``Anything's better than Mel Watt.' Even though this sounds reasonable, it is not true. Christians, conservatives and constitutionalists must remember that our goal is not to replace liberals with Republicans who barely speak our language. Our goal is to improve public policy. And this means electing only those who have a demonstrated commitment to conservative values. If we replace a liberal Democrat with a Republican-in-name-only, we have done nothing to advance conservatism.The instant gratification we would achieve by defeating Watt would be minuscule compared to the long-term gain realized by a Watt victory, which would give us two more years to organize and offer up a conservative candidate in 2000.

We cannot afford to send another Republican to Washington who will merely march in lock step with the current establishment. The 12th District's recent primary proved that Christian conservative values are winnable. Since someone representing these values will be available again in just two years, it would be foolish to settle for Keadle's marginal and questionable ideology today.\ Jim Hill\ Winston-Salem

The writer is a member of the 12th Congressional District GOP Executive Committee.


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