Did Richard Petty endorse Republican candidate Christian Castelli for North Carolina's 6th Congressional District?
Photo by Richard Petty/Public Domain

Republican Christian Castelli is running for North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District.

Castelli’s campaign has been running ads featuring former NASCAR driver Richard Petty endorsing the candidate, with the racing legend saying that Castelli is “a leader who will fight for North Carolina values” and he has his “support.”

Richard Petty Disavows Endorsement

But that was something Petty said about Castelli’s 2022 campaign, not 2024.

So Petty is making clear he has not made a 2024 endorsement.

This makes Petty the seventh Republican to withdraw an endorsement in North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District race.

According to Yahoo News, “But eagle-eyed watchers might have noticed that the video was first posted on Castelli’s YouTube channel on Aug. 23, 2022, well before Castelli lost the 2022 election to Rep. Kathy Manning, a Democrat from Greensboro. And Petty’s family told McClatchy Monday the video was created for the 2022 cycle.”

So it appears Castelli’s campaign is using a two year old endorsement for current purposes.

That’s disingenuous and you could see why it might rub Petty and his family the wrong way.

The story continued:

Castelli’s opponent, former Rep. Mark Walker, questioned the validity of Petty’s endorsement to McClatchy as far back as Jan. 26, while defending himself against his own false endorsement allegations.

The Castelli campaign said Petty endorsed twice in two different cycles. Around the same time, McClatchy also started looking into rumors that the Petty family wasn’t happy with Castelli using the video this time around.

Castelli told McClatchy Monday what seemed to set off the Petty family was that a social media post went viral Friday that included the video.

On Saturday afternoon, Rebecca Petty Moffitt, Petty’s daughter and the executive director of The Petty Family Foundation, sent a written statement to McClatchy.

“Richard Petty has not endorsed any candidate for the 2024 Republican Primary,” Moffitt said. “Richard is a life-long conservative and has always been heavily involved in Republican politics but he has not made any primary endorsements in this election.”

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Candidates Respond

Castelli seemed frustrated when he addressed the situation to McClatchy News on Monday, “This has only become an issue in the last two weeks when people started paying attention to the primary. And this happens to be a very contentious primary here in NC06. I don’t want to be mischaracterized or anybody to make implications that I have lied or I’m presenting endorsements that I don’t have.”

“That’s not what I do. That’s what Mark Walker does,” he said referring to his opponent.

Walker told McClatchy in a text response, “I love Richard Petty and NASCAR. Yesterday’s race in Atlanta was an incredible photo finish. We don’t anticipate the same for the 6th District.”

This isn’t about politics as much as it is being respectful of another man’s word. If Petty was gracious enough to endorse Castelli in 2022, don’t exploit that gesture by pretending he’s doing the same in 2024. The candidate and the racing legend might even line up politically as Republicans, but that is not the point.

People deserve better. They deserve not to be misrepresented.

Especially someone like Richard Petty.