Wake County Schools

State elections board investigating Wake schools race flier

Posted September 14, 2011 5:58 p.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2011 10:40 p.m. EDT

— The State Board of Elections is investigating a campaign flier targeting five candidates running for the Wake County Board of Education.

The flier, which circulated at the school board's meeting last week and was posted to the candidates' Facebook pages on Monday, shows photos of national NAACP President Ben Jealous and state NAACP President Rev. William Barber, including a photo of Barber being arrested last year while protesting the end of the school system's long-standing policy of busing for socioeconomic diversity policy.

Under the heading "INDOCTRINATION," the flier calls candidates Susan Evans, Kevin Hill, Christine Kushner, Jim Martin and Keith Sutton "radicals" and "liberal allies" of Jealous and Barber and accuses them of supporting forced busing, social engineering and quota systems in student assignment.

The Wake County Democratic Party endorsed the five candidates last month.

Gary Sims, deputy director of the Wake County Board of Elections, says his board received a complaint about the flier on Tuesday and that it was sent to the state elections board.

The state board is investigating to see if the flier violates any campaign finance laws or any other election-related laws, Sims said.

Sutton spoke out about the flier on Tuesday, accusing the school board's Republican-backed majority and "their tea party supporters" of "name calling, attacks and division" ahead of the Oct. 11 election.

He said the person who posted the flier to his Facebook page went by the username "Rino Hunter," a term tea party activists use to accuse Republican candidates of being "RINOs" – "Republicans In Name Only."

"I would hope that both members of the board majority and our opponents would denounce such tactics being used," Sutton said.

Hill said Wednesday that he believes the fliers are inappropriate. His opponent Heather Losurdo agrees. 

"I feel like it was a step out of what should be happening," Losurdo said. 

Fellow candidate Jennifer Mansfield said the race has "gotten too political." 

Both women said they have not seen any attacks against their campaigns. 

Losurdo said she had a problem with a paper an overzealous supporter attached to her campaign flier. The paper called for a stop to the "liberal Obama-Perdue machine."

Going forward, Losurdo said she told volunteers not to add their opinions to her message.