Why does the NCGOP care who owns Bowles' domains?
After this earlier post about the state Democratic party buying up domains for candidates, NCGOP spokesman Rob Lockwood reached out to point out that the two Bowles domains owned by NCDP are shown as having been created Jan. 31st, while Blue, Faison, and Etheridge's domains are listed as having been created Feb 1st.
Lockwood alleges the NCDP only bought domains for the other potential candidates after they were "caught" this afternoon having bought the Bowles sites. "The discrepancy in registration dates for Bowles versus other candidates is curious for people who believe that they have a preferred candidate," he said.
But there are a couple of problems with that.
First, "DaltonforNC.com" was registered by the same proxy service Jan. 26th - the day he entered the gubernatorial race. It's not clear who owns it, though the Dems say it's not them. But Dalton owned WalterDalton.org long before his run for governor, and that's the site he updated when he made his announcement.
Second, the domains aren't timestamped - they're only dated. And domain registration operates on UTC (Greenwich Mean Time), so any site registered in the US after 7pm ET on Jan 31st would show up as a Feb. 1st registration. Without a timestamp, it's not possible to prove Lockwood's charge.
Third, all the candidates except Bowles already owned some version of their name as a domain (although Etheridge's domain is EtheridgeforCongress.com, which wouldn't work so well for a gubernatorial campaign).
All of which leads one to wonder about the GOP's angle here. It looks like Republicans are hoping to sour grassroots Dems on Bowles by labeling him a favorite of party leaders. Even last fall, when Faison was first making moves toward a run, it was common to see Republican staffers at his press conferences at the legislative building.
It's hardly uncommon for one party's operatives to take whacks at the opposing party's candidates. But it's interesting that the NCGOP is going out of its way to paint Bowles as the object of unfair party support in the primary. Perhaps it's a response to this week's PPP poll that finds Bowles would be most competitive Dem against presumptive GOP nominee Pat McCrory.
Update: Lockwood responded after the story posted:
"Part of my job is to read the news. I saw an article that said one thing, and when I researched it the facts didn’t seem to match the reality of what they told you," he said in an email.
"Since your article was framed in a way that made them look crafty, I figured it worthwhile to point out that I think their reasoning was cute cover. For me, it was an issue of honesty," he said. "You wrote an article which thematically disagreed with my opinion. I pointed that out because my perspective had one sentence in the original story, and they had a lot of what I’ll refer to as ‘favorable’ ink – quotes that explained their perspective whereas I didn’t get a chance to articulate my thought."
"If the evidence had lined up then there’s no story. It’s just that when I see them doing something that looks fishy, I point it out. I know that they do the same thing to me. That’s the way it goes in this line of work," Lockwood said.
It's still not clear what interest the GOP has in the internal workings of the Democratic primary before the race has even shaped up, let alone produced an opponent for McCrory.