Raleigh, N.C. — A Democratic candidate for North Carolina labor commissioner has been charged with driving while impaired five times in the past 22 years, according to a review of court records.
Ty Richardson's latest arrest came in December in Wake County. He is scheduled to appear in court on the charge later this month.
Richardson also was arrested in Wake County in 1990 and 1994, in Nash County in 1991 and in Lenoir County in 1999. He was convicted in one case and had his license suspended. Two other times, he pleaded guilty to lesser charges, and one case was dismissed.
He said Wednesday that voters shouldn't be concerned about his arrests.
"I really don't feel as if it has anything to do with the current situation and the working conditions of the people of the state of North Carolina," he said. "I have been a good neighbor. I have done the things that are necessary. I haven't hurt anyone."
Richardson said he couldn't comment on the pending charge, but Marlowe Foster, another Democratic candidate for labor commissioner, said Richardson's record shows a pattern of poor judgment.
"He's been arrested five times for driving under the influence," Foster said. "I think, if you're going to run as the state's top safety enforcer, that's something the citizens and voters of North Carolina should know as they go to cast their ballot in early voting or cast their ballot on May 8th."
Former Labor Commissioner John Brooks, who also is running against Richardson, declined to comment on the matter.
Labor commissioner heads the state Department of Labor and is tasked with maintaining safe workplaces.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face incumbent Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry, who is running unopposed, in November.