I had the pleasure of attending the Forsyth County GOP fundraiser and Texas Hold’em Poker tournament last Saturday evening. I had a great time, and came in just short of the final table at the tournament. Good times all around.
Just before play began, Dr. Christopher Cates introduced himself to me and a friend of mine, and I was wearing a Tom Graves sticker. Cates, Graves and about 10 others depending on the day are currently running for Congress in the 9th Congressional district, with Cates being the most recent entry into this contest. He asked if he could possibly “turn” us.
I said “I doubt it, but we can talk”. So we did.
He led with “I was recruited to run for Congress so I can help fix healthcare. I’m a cardiologist, and they need me up there.”
“Who recruited you?” I asked, as I wasn’t aware that with nearly a dozen folks running for this office, there was major “recruitment” going on. In fact, Dr. Lee Hawkins and Dr. Bert Loftman were already in the race before Cates jumped in.
“The G-7” he said, without missing a beat.
The blank, somewhat quizzical look I gave back was misinterpreted by him, I believe, because he decided to explain to me who the G-7 are. “You know, the G-7. Tom Price, the other guys in D.C., they need me up there to help them with health care”. And then I think he also said something about the A.M.A. or another doctors group. Frankly, I was stunned by his answer that he would boldly claim that the G-7 recruited him to run. I didn’t hear much else, though my friend and I both agree on the text of the above in quotes is an accurate representation of what we heard.
The reason I gave an incredulous look to Dr. Cates when he told me that he had been recruited by the G-7 is that it is provably untrue. And since Dr. Cates said Dr. Price specifically needed his help to solve the health care issue, I started with his office. I received the following response from his spokesperson:
“Rep. Price has not endorsed or recruited anyone in the GA-9 race.”
I spoke to representatives of a couple other offices as well, and generally got the same answer. All denied any recruitment activities of any kind. While some had met Dr. Cates, there was no effort to recruit him, and they mentioned that he in fact had sought them out.
There are a lot of reasons Cates may have said what he did. I’ve participated in candidate recruitment activities, and sometimes, candidates hear what they want to hear. Sometimes candidates are told things that are untrue by their consultants so that the consultant can separate them and their friends from a lot of money. And sometimes, candidates think they’re smarter than everyone else, and treat others like rubes who don’t know who the G-7 are when they are in fact the one that doesn’t understand the ground they are standing on.
I have no idea what Dr. Cates motivation for his statement was, nor if he felt if he was in fact telling the truth. My understanding is, however, that he plans on attending the G-7’s weekly meeting in D.C. tomorrow. At that meeting, I hope he addressed whether or not he was recruited by them. I have a feeling one or two of them may broach the subject as well.