In the Stump's occasional series on this election cycle's tragically underwhelming Republican challengers, the GOP nominee to challenge freshman Democrat Heath Shuler committed campaign seppuku today:

The Republican nominee trying to unseat a Democratic congressman in North Carolina said Monday he has suspended his campaign amid growing frustration with his own party. Carl Mumpower, who is vying for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, said he wants GOP leaders in the 11th Congressional District to hold its own politicians to the party's core conservative principles. He has ended all campaign activity until at least half of the 15 counties in the district that covers western North Carolina commit to holding local, state and federal officials accountable. ...

Since winning the party's May primary, Mumpower has spent much of his time fighting with his own party. Last month, Mumpower called for the impeachment of President Bush for failing to control illegal immigration. Shuler campaign manager Andrew Whalen issued a statement, saying, "Mr. Mumpower is entitled to run, or in this case not run, his campaign however he sees fit."

I would hope that "Mumpower!" becomes a dirty word around the NRCC offices, since it's one thing for a token opponent in an uncompetitive district to pitch this kind of ideological tantrum, but Shuler's conservative district ought to have been a good chance for a GOP turnover. 

Photo: Irreverent Asheville youth mock Carl Mumpower with Mumpower masks.

--Eve Fairbanks