One of North Carolina’s most powerful – and, perhaps, most politically vulnerable – Republicans in Congress has found himself in an unexpectedly close reelection contest this year and he’s being asked the tough questions.
Like, what’s up with his sock-less feet?
I’m not opposed, we manufacture a lot of socks in North Carolina – I just choose not to wear them.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, Republican from Winston-Salem, posted on Twitter Tuesday: “I’m not opposed to socks, I just choose not to wear them.”
The tweet includes an undated 30-second video clip from a TV interview Burr did with his hometown NBC news station affiliate WXII. During the interview, Burr further explains his sock and hosiery preferences.
One day before the incumbent’s sock tweet, Burr’s political foe Deborah Ross – the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate from Raleigh, N.C. – released a TV campaign ad featuring an unnamed-actor playing Burr. The actor has his feet propped up on a desk and is notably not wearing socks.
In the WXII interview – shared on the station’s news website last week – reporter Bill O’Neil asked Burr, “What’s your position on socks?”
Burr seemed to respond in stride, with a smile, and an easy explanation: “I’m not opposed, we manufacture a lot of socks in North Carolina – I just choose not to wear them. It’s a Southern thing. It’s a cultural thing.”
It’s not the first time Burr’s bare ankles have turned some heads: In 2008, he campaigned for Republican Sen. John McCain, then the party’s presidential nominee, in cold climates across the country while not wearing socks. Burr has also made light of his sock-less reputation at various times on social media.
Burr’s 2016 reelection fight will be his last, he announced earlier this summer at the Republican National Convention. And, it could be one of his more challenging battles in his long political career as most polls show Burr and Ross are neck-and-neck.
When not fielding questions about his socks – or lack thereof – Burr has been queried on his endorsement of Donald Trump in light of the presidential contender’s controversial campaign comments, and North Carolina’s HB2, the so-called bathroom law, currently facing a legal challenge. Burr also frequently talks about national security issues and touts his work as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman.