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Businessman Tim D’Annunzio, who is facing a runoff for the 8th district GOP nomination, spent Monday trying to contain the fallout from a damaging Charlotte Observer story in which the state party chairman called him “unfit for public service at any level.”

Sunday’s story used court records that have been circulating in GOP circles to detail D’Annunzio’s criminal history and psychological issues.

D’Annunzio, who has spent $1 million of his own money in the lead-up to the primary, tried to frame the story as an example of the party establishment desperately trying to hold on to power.

“We cannot allow negative, venomous, vicious attacks that let the insiders keep the people outside,” he said in a statement Monday afternoon.

State and national party officials believe that they have an opportunity to beat Rep. Larry Kissell (D) this fall, but only if sports broadcaster Harold Johnson (R) wins the June 22 runoff.

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