RALEIGH, N.C. —Republican officials are working to derail the campaign of a tea party supported candidate in North Carolina — circulating documents from the man's messy divorce that depict him as a pot smoker who has called himself the messiah.
Tim D'Annunzio, a congressional candidate in North Carolina's most competitive district, has run an anti-establishment campaign with vows to dismantle entire branches of the federal government.
"Mr. D'Annunzio has disqualified himself by his background, his record and his behavior," said Tom Fetzer, North Carolina's Republican Party chairman. He said the GOP embraces the tea party but doesn't believe a person with such a checkered past should be the party's nominee.
In Hoke County divorce records, his wife said in 1995 that D'Annunzio had claimed to be the Messiah, had traveled to New Jersey to raise his stepfather from the dead, believed God would drop a 1,000-mile high pyramid as the New Jerusalem on Greenland and found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona.
A doctor's evaluation the following month said D'Annunzio used marijuana almost daily, had been living with another woman for several months, had once been in drug treatment for heroin dependence and was jailed a couple times as a teenager.
The doctor concluded that his religious beliefs were not delusional. A judge wrote in a child support ruling a few years later that D'Annunzio was a self-described religious zealot who believed the government was the Antichrist. The judge said he was willfully failing to make child support payments.
D'Annunzio declined Monday to discuss the specifics of his past and refused to confirm or deny the details of the court documents. He acknowledged having "a troubled upbringing" but that he got himself out of it and changed his life 16 years ago, when he had a religious conversion.
"The bigger story is that the power brokers in Raleigh and in Washington are willing to go to any length and use any unscrupulous tactic to try to destroy somebody," he said. D'Annunzio faces former television sportscaster Harold Johnson in a runoff vote June 22 for the 8th District.