Staff Sergeant Christopher K.A. Slutman.
Sergeant Benjamin S. Hines.
Corporal Robert A. Hendriks.

Remember the names. They were the Marines killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2019. Here’s what we now know: Russian intelligence paid the Taliban to target American troops in Afghanistan and they may have been victims of that bounty. It’s a transgression that demands swift action by our President against the Russians.

Now Moe Davis, a retired Colonel in the Air Force, has some disturbing questions to ask: Does our Commander-in-Chief’s failure to act on that intelligence amount to dereliction of duty that has put our troops in danger? And is it the duty of every candidate for Congress to take a side? The answer to both questions inevitably should be yes.

Col. Davis joined the Air Force in 1983 when Ronald Reagan was President. He served under Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Over the course of his 25 years of military service, he often disagreed with policy decisions the Commanders-in-Chief made, but he never had any reason to question whether they were totally committed to our troops.

We can’t be sure of that with our current President.

A real leader would be leading an effort to coordinate international condemnation and sanctions. A real leader wouldn’t be pulling our troops out of Germany and off of Vladimir Putin’s flank. A real leader wouldn’t be coercing America’s allies to let Putin into the G-7.

A real leader would have our troops’ backs.

Remember the names. And know that there are only two sides here: You are either on the side of the men and women who wear the uniform, or you are on the side of those who would sell them out.

This Colonel is with the troops.

Which side are you on, Madison Cawthorn?


A Newsweek reporter reached out to the campaign last week to ask what set Col. Davis apart from Cawthorn, the Republican nominee. We’re glad they asked.

Here’s how we responded:

What sets Colonel Moe Davis apart from Madison Cawthorn? Experience. Knowledge. Leadership. A record of accomplishment.

Col. Davis spent 25 years in the Air Force. He was Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay and head of the entire Air Force Judiciary. After retiring as Colonel, he was Senior Specialist in National Security for the Congressional Research Service, Executive Director of the Crimes of War Education Project, law professor at Howard University and a judge with the U.S. Department of Labor.

If Mr. Cawthorn is elected, Congressman will be his first full-time adult job.

Col. Davis has a college degree from Appalachian State University, a law degree from North Carolina Central University and two master’s degrees – one each from George Washington University School of Law and the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General School.

Mr. Cawthorn has virtually no formal education.

Col. Davis has spent a lifetime in leadership roles. Mr. Cawthorn has never held a leadership role in an organization.

Mr. Cawthorn said Western North Carolina should send a fighter to Congress. He must mean Col. Davis, who took on both Republican and Democratic administrations to do the right thing. When Col. Davis was ordered by the Bush Administration to use evidence obtained by torture, he refused and resigned his post at Guantanamo Bay. He was honored for his stand against an illegal and immoral order by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which included Col. Davis in “Those Who Dared: 30 Officials Who Stood Up For Our Country.”

When Col. Davis was fired by the Library of Congress for writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that was critical of President Obama’s handling of Guantanamo, he sued to protect the free speech rights of government employees. After an almost seven year legal battle, the Justice Department caved. As a result of his stance, Moe received the Justice Charles E. Whittaker Award for professional courage and integrity, and was given the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award.

The choice in the 11th District couldn’t be any clearer.


We close every newsletter with the words “Mountain Strong,” and we don’t mean that as merely a campaign slogan. It’s about the individual and collective character we see in people in Western North Carolina, how we hang tough in times of trouble and come together in times of need.

We’ve seen that character reveal itself time and time again since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. This week we want to take a moment to give a shout-out to the many people throughout Western North Carolina who have donated materials and/or taken to their sewing machines to produce tens of thousands of masks to help protect us from contracting COVID-19.

We don’t know everyone who is making them, but here are a few we’ve come across:

  • Carolyn Brewster of Sew Fine Design in Brevard makes masks for those who can’t pay and accepts donations from those who can. Thanks to Julia Kennerly of the Transylvania County Democratic Party for letting us know about Carolyn.
  • A group of women in Macon County have created more than 1,000 masks for sale through the Appalachian Animal Rescue Center and through the mail. All proceeds go to the AARC. Thanks to Jean Wright and Cathy Howman of the AARC for passing this along.
  • Deda Edney, wife of NC House District 113 Democratic nominee Sam Edney, is working with campaign volunteers to make fabric masks that are donated to those in need in Transylvania, southern Henderson and Polk counties. Hundreds of masks have been donated. For more information on where to get masks or donate them, go to postcardsandpens.com.
  • About a dozen women volunteers in Haywood and Jackson counties who call themselves the Mask-A-Teers have free masks available to those in need. They have distributed thousands to date.
  • Many volunteers in Henderson County have stepped up individually, without working through an organization. But some are associated with the Henderson County Democratic Party and The Progressive Alliance of Henderson County as well. The masks have been donated in bulk to contribute to those who work in service jobs or healthcare.
  • And, of course, we can’t forget Joy Boothe, who started the Yancey County Mask Makers – over 11,000 masks donated! – and Janice Jackson in Mitchell County. We gave them a shout-out a while back as well.

We know there are others out there. We thank all of the mask makers of Western North Carolina.

Mountain Strong.


We are thrilled with the guests we have joining Moe Talks!

Today, we feature Diana McCall, Garden Manager for the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden in Black Mountain. It’s the largest community garden in Western North Carolina and a model for every city and town to follow in creating their own community gardens. Join us at 12:30 p.m. on Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Twitch.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., we welcome Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed to Moe Talks! Principal Chief Sneed, a former Marine and longtime teacher, manages day-to-day operations for the 15,000-member EBCI based in the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. He will discuss issues of concern for the EBCI, how they have managed the COVID-19 outbreak, challenges they are facing in reopening businesses, and other topics.

Here’s the link for Thursday’s event.

Hope you can join us!


One by one, we have seen Confederate flags, statues and monuments to Civil War icons removed in cities and states across the South. Last week, it was the Mississippi state flag with the Confederate stars and bars that finally came down. For the last time. The Confederate flag that adorned it will no longer represent that state … or divide it. Mississippi was the last state to join the 21st century and condemn a symbol that has roiled this country for far too long.

As Black Lives Matter protests, vigils and marches against police violence continue throughout the country, removing these symbols of division and pain is the right thing to do. It is only a step, of course. More fundamentally, as these protests have made clear, we need to change as a country and as a people. There is more work to be done, including reimagining the roles and missions we currently assign to law enforcement.

But let’s begin with that damned flag, which should have been relegated to the dustbin of history a century and a half ago. If Mississippi — Mississippi! — can remove it, then we can certainly take it out of our schools in Western North Carolina, too.

Once and for all.



You can now register to vote online. How easy is that! Go to this website to register and remember, you have to be registered 25 days before the election in order to vote on Election Day. The deadline is Oct. 9, but don’t wait until the last minute when the system may be inundated.


Concerned about voting in the age of the coronavirus? You can protect yourself and still exercise your right to vote using an absentee ballot, a method we are urging voters to choose this election cycle. Bear in mind there could be changes to the absentee ballot application. We’ll keep you updated.

Voters have until Oct. 27 to request an absentee ballot, but we would recommend it be submitted well in advance so that the State Board of Elections isn’t inundated at the last minute and there isn’t any delay in getting the ballot back in time.

Reminder, you don’t have to vote by absentee ballot if you apply. But it is a great back-up if there are any disruptions and a reduction in polling locations due to the pandemic. Keep in mind that even if you apply now, you won’t actually receive an absentee ballot until September.  Request for Absentee Ballots is currently changing due to new laws recently passed by NC Congress.  We will let you know when they are available.


Thank you to Becky and Chuck Elston of Hendersonville for giving the 10,000th contribution to our campaign on ActBlue. They received Moe Davis for Congress shirts as a gift.

We are grateful to all who have donated to this campaign so far. Our second-quarter deadline has passed, but our need remains high. We have less than four months to go until Nov. 3 and have to keep pace with a GOP that has already poured millions into buying this seat.

Don’t let them get away with it.

Please donate if you can. Thank you.


Stay home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Mountain Strong