Former housing board chairman will join Board of Elections

Published 5:13 pm Friday, July 24, 2015

When the Rowan County Board of Elections meets next week, it will have a new member — former Rowan County Housing Board Chairman Mac Butner.

Butner, a real estate broker, came under fire last year while holding the housing board position for comments he made on Facebook about African Americans, illegal immigrants, and protesters who are part of the Moral Monday Movement. His comments made news across the state. He chose not to reapply for the housing board.

Since then, Butner helped raise money for Faith Road being dedicated to legendary public servant Eugene McCombs. He also was recently elected to a leadership position in the Republican Party’s 5th Congressional District, but said he resigned from all political positions to take on his new role.

Butner will join local attorney John Hudson and Dave Collins, who co-owns a landscaping business. Both Collins and Hudson were re-appointed. The N.C. Board of Elections made the appointments this week. Butner, Hudson and Collins will be sworn in on Tuesday during the Board of Elections meeting at 12:45 p.m. in the county’s administration building. The board will select its officer positions during the meeting.

Rowan County Republican Party Chairman Stephen Kidd said he could not comment on the appointment.

Kidd, as the chairman of the local party, has authority to select appointees for the position. Appointments are ultimately approved by the N.C. Board of Elections.

Tommy John Costantino was originally selected for the board instead of Collins.

Rowan County Elections Specialist Laura Russell said a relative of Costantino is running for an elected position in the 2015 municipal races. Therefore, Costantino couldn’t hold the Board of Elections position.

Instead of Costantino, Collins was chosen for re-appointment.

The Board of Elections currently consists of two Republicans — Collins and Butner — and one Democrat — Hudson. The makeup of the Board of Elections directly correlates with the party of North Carolina’s governor. When North Carolina’s governor is a Democrat, two members of the board are Democrats.

When contacted about the Butner’s appointment, Rowan’s previous Republican Party Chairman John Leatherman congratulated Butner and wished him well.

“Mac is experienced and knows lots of people, and I think he is capable of doing a great job,” Leatherman said.

County Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds, who served as party chairman before Leatherman, refused to comment specifically about Butner.

“It’s not a wise time for me to be involved in that issue,” Edds said. “The Board of Elections is separate from the county commissioners for a reason, and I don’t have a say in the appointments.”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.