A public dispute has arisen over Asheville City Council member and congressional candidate Cecil Bothwell‘s angry voicemail to Joe Dunn, after the former Council member wrote a letter to the Asheville Citizen-Times criticizing Bothwell and Council candidate Lael Gray.
“Hey Joe, this is Cecil Bothwell: I’m calling to tell you you’re full of shit,” the message begins. Bothwell asserted that he has extensive small business experience, that Dunn’s letter lied and that he was “an absolute piece of crap,” adding “I am offended, offended, offended that someone who’s been on Council could crap on someone like this… you are beneath contempt.” It ends by saying Dunn should “go away.”
“From day one my campaign slogan has been ‘Vote Bold.’ I’ll accept legitimate criticism, but I’ll fight tooth and nail against lies,” Bothwell writes to Xpress about the message. “Joe Dunn lied about me and my record and I stood up for myself the way I’ll stand up for the people of Western North Carolina.”
In another e-mail to Xpress, Bothwell noted that “yes, I used strong language in a private message. It’s my view that a former City Council member should have more respect for the office. Lying about other Council members is reprehensible. Furthermore, I filed a complaint with the Citizen-Times for publishing a letter containing obvious falsehoods about me and about Council candidate Lael Gray. They should set higher journalistic standards.”
Dunn’s letter, which ran Oct. 5, read as follows:
Cecil Bothwell has, in my opinion, once again showed his total ignorance as to how a small business might work. Since he has never developed a successful business of his own, and loves to see his name in print, he decided to attack Jan Davis for providing tire service for the ABC vehicle fleet. He has retracted his statements, but I feel his intent to smear the good name of Davis was obvious. Mr. Bothwell, along with the new slate of left leaning progressive candidates for council, do not reflect the mainstream of thinking for the majority of Asheville citizens. Candidate Lael Gray has stated that automobiles need to be eliminated from city streets. Asheville voters need to ask candidates Pelly, Gray, and Hunt one simple question. “What portion of the city budget do they plan to cut in order to pay for their special agendas during the economic downturn?” Will it be police, firefighters, or basic city services? Or will higher taxes be their agenda?
Dr. Joe Dunn, Asheville
Dunn is a former Asheville city councilman
An edited version of the voice message was highlighted by former radio host Matt Mittan earlier today, when he linked to it on his Twitter account, noting it came from “an annomous [sic] constituent.”
When asked about the link by Xpress, Bothwell said it was “a heavily edited recording which doesn’t reflect what I told Dr. Joe Dunn who lied about me in a letter to the AC-T.”
Conservative blogger Bobby Coggins (Thunderpig) posted the full, un-edited version of the message earlier this morning, and Bothwell commented on his site:
“I admit, I was furious. I actually think it’s pretty funny that Joe decided to share the message,” before continuing. “I was pissed at Dunn and at the paper for printing lies about me and about Lael’s platform. Should I be more reserved in personal communication with a liar and a slanderer? Maybe so.”
Gray responded to Dunn’s criticisms in an Oct. 10 message to her supporters.