VOTE 2010 PROFILE: Butch Pope, candidate for District Attorney
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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- Election Day is less than two months away. Between now and then, we're going to get to know some of the candidates running in several of the big races in our area.

For the first time in 20 years, Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus Counties will soon have a new District Attorney. Incumbent Rex Gore lost his bid for reelection. Tonight, we introduce you to the man who knocked him out of the race: Democratic candidate and Whiteville attorney Butch Pope.

His name is Harold Pope, but everyone calls him Butch. He's been practicing law in Whiteville since 1983, but he didn't start his career as a lawyer. After part time jobs at the Starlight Drive-In and Kramer's Men's Store in Whiteville, Pope went on to graduate from Appalachian State University in 1970. From there, he went right to work as a science teacher at a junior high school in Charlotte.

Two years later, he tried his hat as a pharmaceutical rep, before spending seven years working for Dupont. It wasn't until 1980, at the age of 33, that Pope decided to go to law school.

"I like the courtroom," Pope said. "I like getting in front of that jury and selling my case."

After getting his law degree from NC Central University, Pope hung out his shingle near the courthouse in Whiteville. The Columbus County native is married with two grown daughters and two granddaughters. Pope says his family helped talk him in to running for district attorney, as did many people in the community.

"The interest when I announced really shocked me, because a lot of people don't really have an interest in the DA's office unless they've been a victim or a defendant," Pope said.

Pope says he wants the DA's office to have more structure, more direction, and better communication with the public and law enforcement.

"Everybody's got a cell phone, and I don't see any reason why our office, the DA's office, can't communicate with the officer," Pope said. "I'd also like to have one ADA assigned to a particular police department, sheriff's department, so they've always got a main contact."

Pope says his science background helps him understand forensic evidence, and his background in criminal defense law will give him an edge as a prosecutor, because he knows what it's like to sit on the other side of the table.

No matter who wins the race come November, the District Attorney's office will be getting new blood for the first time in decades. Pope says it's a needed change.

"Well, we can't just keep doing things the way we've been doing them," Pope. "In a lot of respects, the way we handle cases, it's just like it was when I started in 1983, and we've got to move along with that technology and with the needs, because the needs have changed."

Pope is running against Republican Jon David. David lives in Brunswick County and works as an assistant prosecutor in New Hanover County. We'll have much more on David in next week on WWAY NewsChannel 3.

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Are you kidding me? He is the ultimate good ol' boy. He is a criminal defense attorney who is being funded by every criminal defense attorney in Columbus County including R.C. Soles. It doesn't get any more good ol' boy than that. We need a proven prosecutor in the office who is going to use the court room to decide cases...not that back room.

Vote Jon David!

Obviously, you should get to know the candidates. I grew up with Butch Pope and worked with him on the Rescue Squad. If you think Butch Pope is a 'back room' kind of guy, you have no clue who he is. Mr. Pope has spent more time "in the court room" than most lawyers in the state, period! He is willing to shut down his thriving law practice to try to make our three counties a better, safer place. He's not just a defense lawyer, he is a trial lawyer representing abused and neglected children, law inforcement officers and the lists go on and on. He believes in the Constitution and OUR right to have counsel. Do you? He takes very seriously his obligation to the oath he took as a lawyer. Those of us who know him and the kind of person he is, knows how dedicated he is in doing the very best he can for his clients. (that is the oath he took). That is his character, first class! It shows in every aspect of his life. He is the kind of man we need as our district attorney.
VOTE POPE FOR D.A.

This man is who we truly need in that office. He will make the changes to truly bring the DA's office into the 21st century instead of the standard "good ole boy system" that has operated in these counties for far too long. He has a good work ethic and he is one of the rare lawyers I feel is trustworthy! Please VOTE POPE in November.

You guys clearly support Obama's "hope and change " as that's exactly the kind Butch Pope will offer. Yes Butch is a good guy and he's my friend. Yes he is highly experienced. But no he's not capable to stand up to the back room dealings that have gone on for 20 years in Columbus, Bladen and Brunswick. Butch will only try to get along and not rock the boat and under a Pope watch things will remain just as they have been. David appears to be someone who has many qualifications and he's not one of our established good ole boys. I say vote for Jon David and clean up these crooked attorneys and stop the back room dealings.