(CNN) – North Carolina's largest newspaper rescinded its endorsement in a congressional primary Thursday, saying the Republican candidate "has done nothing but embarrass us and himself" since receiving their backing less than a week ago.
Noting recent "birther" comments Jim Pendergraph made shortly after receiving their nod last Saturday, The Charlotte Observer said in an editorial there are "at least two better choices" among the nine GOP contenders seeking to fill the vacant 9th district seat.
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Pendergraph - a former sheriff who also served in the Army military police and is a commissioner of North Carolina's Mecklenburg County - drew the Observer's rebuke after questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama at a weekend campaign event, according to the paper.
"I have reason to be suspicious," the Observer quotes him as saying on Saturday. "But I don't know. I haven't seen the facts. I think there's a lot of smoke and generally when there's smoke there's got to be fire somewhere."
"I've been around long enough to know people can forge anything," Pendergraph continued, the paper said.
The remarks were made as the candidate attended events with Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose tough line on illegal immigration and skepticism of the birth record released by Obama have repeatedly landed him in the national spotlight.
The pair appeared at two events – a luncheon BBQ and a dinner - according to Pendergraph's website, and a report by a local television station, WSOC, on the dinner did not include the comments on Obama's birth.
CNN contacted Pendergraph's campaign Thursday evening for a response to the newspaper's decision and asked if his immigration comments were reported in proper context, but did not receive a response.
Ahead of the May 8th primary, the Observer endorsed Pendergraph as a "decided moderate" recognizing his "broad appeal" and "strong conservative voice" balanced by pragmatism and focus "focusing on constituent needs and getting things done."
In withdrawing their endorsement, the paper notes that "Pendergraph has contradicted much of what he told the Observer's editorial board in his endorsement interview last month."
"It all gives one the sense that Pendergraph will say whatever a given audience wants to hear, if it will help him get elected. That makes how he would act in Congress a mystery, " the paper wrote.
The paper suggested voters consider two of the other Republicans in the race whom the paper had singled out among the nine as strong contenders in their original endorsement of Pendergraph.
In a separate report on Pendergraph's comments, the Observer notes that some of the other GOP candidates rivals agreed with his position on Obama's citizenship, while others were skeptical or declined to comment.
- CNN's Steve Brusk contributed to this report