Cooper’s second choice of Republican for elections board sworn in
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 9, 2020
RALEIGH (AP) — North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper picked another Republican to join the State Board of Elections on Thursday, a day after he rescinded his original appointment for a vacant seat designated for the GOP.
Cooper appointed Stacy “Four” Eggers of Watauga County to the fifth and final spot on the board. Eggers, a former state board member, was sworn in to the position during an online board meeting Thursday afternoon.
Cooper’s original choice to succeed recent board member David Black was James Carlton “Carr” McLamb Jr., but the governor’s general counsel wrote Wednesday to McLamb withdrawing the nomination. The letter to McLamb didn’t describe the reason.
A statement from McLamb to news outlets suggested the decision followed abuse allegations made against him. Cooper’s office confirmed on Thursday that allegations had surfaced.
“As a general rule, I do not respond to anonymous attacks, but let me be very clear, I never assaulted anyone or forced anyone into unwanted actions,” McLamb said in the release. “I’m fortunate to have dated smart, successful women, and all of my relationships have helped to make me a better person.”
Cooper announced Tuesday that he had chosen McLamb and former state Sen. Tommy Tucker to fill the two seats set aside for Republicans. Tucker also was sworn in during Thursday’s meeting.
Black and previous Republican board member Ken Raymond resigned last month after they said they weren’t given full information about a court agreement the board supported over absentee ballot procedures.
In keeping with the law, the state Republican Party offered to Cooper three candidates for each vacancy, and Cooper had chosen Tucker and McLamb. After McLamb’s nomination was rescinded, Cooper attorney William McKinney said the governor would choose Black’s successor from the other two candidates, which included Eggers.
The state party is responsible for vetting candidates, save for an outside ethics review, Cooper spokesperson Ford Porter said on Wednesday: “The work of the board does not need any more distractions.”
McLamb, a former state government agency attorney, said in his statement that while “I value public service,” he agreed the board “does not need additional distractions at this critical time.”
But Thursday, Porter said in an email that Cooper’s office “should have done a better job understanding and communicating the severity of these allegations, and this appointment should not have moved forward.”
State GOP spokesperson Tim Wigginton said in an email Thursday the party hadn’t been contacted about the allegations, but it’s “undoubtedly a troubling situation that we take very seriously.”