• 37°

Rowan-Salisbury School Board race gets testy in final days

Editor’s note: this story has been updated to correctly reflect the seat number that Miller and Hughes are seeking.

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Following a complaint by candidate Gene Miller, the Rowan County Board of Elections last week temporarily barred incumbent school board member Chuck Hughes from handing out his campaign’s handbills at polls.

Last week, Miller filed a complaint with the Rowan County Board of Elections that Hughes’ handbills weren’t appropriately labeled. Hughes should have included a small statement on his campaign’s cards indicating who paid for the production, according to Rowan County Elections specialist Laura Russell. When those were excluded, Miller said he filed the complaint in an effort to ensure both candidates were playing “by the same rules.”

Miller said he recently purchased campaign flyers that excluded a statement about who paid for production of the items. He was told a transparency statement was required and decided to throw away his flyers rather than use a sticker or stamp to state who paid for the items.

“It seems that Mr. Hughes can’t play by the rules and we should all have to play by the same rules,” Miller said. “We should all have to play by the same rules.”

Miller, a former school administrator, and Hughes are opponents in the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education Seat 5 race. The Seat 5 race also includes Alisha Byrd, a local businesswoman and founder of Gemstones Academy.

There’s no doubt about it. The school board has become the most competitive local race on November ballots. A total of eight candidates are running for three seats.

Just over a week remains until election day.

Last week’s complaint is the first time tensions have flared in an individual race. Tempers flared in multiple races when the Rowan County Republican Party chose to endorse the three Republican incumbents — including Hughes. Three challengers who are registered Republicans were left without the support of their own party.

When asked about Miller’s complaint, Hughes started by noting his support from the local Republican Party.

“There are three people who have been endorsed in the race and he just doesn’t like that,” he said. “He’s just trying to do something that makes me look bad.”

Hughes was adamant that his campaign’s handbills fit within election law. He said campaign handbills or flyers don’t need to contain a statement describing who paid for the items unless they were larger than certain dimensions. He also said the transparency statement wasn’t required in nonpartisan races.

The transparency statement is, in fact, required, Russell said. As a result, he won’t be allowed to hand out the handbills until the statement is included, she said.

Now, Miller will be forced to take steps similar to Hughes before he’s allowed to pass out campaign handbills. Hughes could place the statement on the handbills with a stamp or a sticker. He could also purchase new ones.

When told by the Board of Elections that his handbills couldn’t be passed out, Hughes told the Salisbury Post that he misunderstood state law.

“It was an error and I appreciate him bringing it to my attention,” he said.

Despite the decision from the local Board of Elections, Hughes will still appear on handbills passed out at polls. The local Republicans’ endorsement means that he’s part of the party’s list of recommended candidates.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

Comments

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month