Political notebook: North Carolina Republican Party files complaint with Federal Elections Commission

Published 12:10 am Monday, September 10, 2018

The North Carolina Republican Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission concerning Democratic congressional candidate Kathy Manning.

In the complaint, the party alleged illegal coordination between the political action committee Swing Left and Manning’s campaign for the 13th Congressional District seat.

Manning faces Republican incumbent Ted Budd in the November election.

The complaint cites comments from an Aug. 2 podcast interview with Abby Karp, a Swing Left volunteer and resident of Guilford County.

During the podcast, called “The Voter Project,” Karp spoke of her experience volunteering with Manning’s primary campaign and dialogue with Manning’s staff.

“Kathy’s staff was super professional and super open, and they said, ‘Why don’t you keep doing what you’re doing, but can you take some guidance from us as far as where to go and do more targeted work?’” said Karp. “… Since the primary, we have targeted canvasses in coordination with the primary.”

The North Carolina GOP alleges that Karp’s statements were an admission that Swing Left coordinated door-to-door efforts for the Democratic campaign. The party said such coordination violates a federal campaign regulation

“Coordination is found where an outside group makes an expenditure cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate or her authorized committee for the purpose of influencing an election,” the complaint said. “It is an established principle of campaign finance law that such coordinated expenditures are strictly prohibited.”

Hailey Barringer, communications director for Manning’s campaign, said the Republican complaint is a “baseless attack.”

She said the complaint was meant to distract voters from more pressing matters or questionable practices in Budd’s campaign for re-election.

Recently, the North Carolina Democratic Party called out the Budd campaign for what it called “scrubbing his website of any mention of health care.”

In a news release, the party cited a review by ThinkProgress that found changes on Budd’s website between the 2016 and 2018 campaigns.

According to the review, Budd in 2016 listed getting rid of Obamacare as one of the reasons he was running. This year, there are no mentions of Obamacare or  health care on the website.

North Carolina Association of Educators endorses Joe Fowler

The North Carolina Association of Educators has endorsed Democrat Joe Fowler for the House District 76 seat in the General Assembly. He would represent Rowan County.

The association is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees. It represents active, retired and student members.

A native of Mount Airy, Fowler is an advocate for quality public education and funding. According to a news release, Fowler said it is time North Carolina stops cutting and starts investing in students and public schools.

 “Our kids deserve nothing but the best, and every student deserves access to a high-quality and safe education,” he said.

Other issues that are a part of his campaign platform are the environment, agriculture and internet access.

Fowler is a graduate of Northland College with a degree in biology. After graduation, he began a career in conservation, working for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

He owns a value-added food business that produces specialty food products made with North Carolina produce and consults on local and urban agriculture and conservation projects.

“Joe Fowler offers North Carolinians a lifetime’s worth of public service and a devotion to public education,” said Melessia Winborne, president of the Rowan County Association of Educators. “He believes in more funding for public education, higher salaries for educators, and that the profession needs to be treated like it is the foundation of everything we do.”

The association’s focus is to support candidates who can help fully restore education funding to public schools and move the state forward. Its 2018 legislative priorities include:

• Retaining and recruiting quality educators.

• Increasing per-pupil expenditures; North Carolina is currently 39th in the nation.

• Increasing funding for textbooks.

• Restoring teacher assistant positions.

• Eliminating additional funding for private school vouchers.

• Providing professional compensation for educators; the state currently ranks 37th in the nation.