State Republican Party leaders were aware of a reported relationship between Wake County school board members Debra Goldman and Chris Malone, yet they still discouraged other potential GOP candidates from opposing Goldman in her run for state auditor, a former opponent said Tuesday.
Party leaders were worried that Goldmans character might emerge as an issue in a runoff that was possible because she won less than 40 percent of the vote in the five-person Republican primary race. Those leaders cleared her path to the nomination without a runoff, Greg Dority, a former Beaufort County GOP chairman who finished second to Goldman in the May 8 primary, said Tuesday. Dority, an executive in the security field, is a 1981 graduate of N.C. State who has run unsuccessfully for Congress three times in the last decade.
Goldman is running for the statewide office in the Nov. 6 general election. According to a Cary Police report from June 2010, Goldman reported a break-in at her home and subsequently implicated her board colleague Malone as a suspect. In interviews with Cary police, Goldman and Malone gave contrasting versions of their association. Malone said they had a very heated physical relationship, but Goldman said she rebuffed Malones desire for a romantic bond. Malone was cleared as a suspect in the reported burglary.
Wayne King, North Carolina GOP first vice chairman, said Tuesday he had no knowledge of the relationship before he saw news accounts of it.
I never heard anything like this until this article that I read in your paper Sunday, King said.
Goldman did not return calls Tuesday.
When he was considering entering the auditors race earlier this year, Dority said he was approached by Wake County residents who wanted to tell him about Goldmans conduct so that he could use it against her in the primary. Dority declined to take that approach, but the idea arose again when he talked to out-of-state political consultants about whether to take part in a runoff.
They told me quite frankly that, For you to win this race, you are going to have to hit hard and attack her on the issue of character, and I didnt feel comfortable with that kind of race, Dority said Tuesday.
Dority said his conversations about whether to run were with people he described as senior party elements, very wise, very experienced, who acknowledged to him they knew about the reports involving Goldman and Malone. Dority declined to name the people he consulted.
They laid it out that it could be a big problem for the entire ticket, Dority said. Without the proverbial documentation, it would be a difficult thing for me to substantiate the allegations.
Without the documentation, they thought they could get through this.
Backing off Goldman
Since the emergence of the police report, state party officials have distanced themselves from Goldman, leaving her off a campaign tour thats designed to boost other statewide candidates. Pat McCrory, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, dodged a Charlotte broadcast reporters question Tuesday on whether he had cast a ballot for Goldman in early voting.
I voted for my Republicans. Thats what I did, McCrory told WBT reporter Chris Miller.
Asked if Goldman had been among them, McCrory replied, Thank you.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the 2010 police report continued to shake up the political landscape. Common Sense Matters cited the questions about whether the two school board members had a sexual relationship in a robocall urging people to vote against Malone, the Republican candidate for the state House District 35 seat.
With these kinds of distractions, its no wonder the schools screwed up student assignment plans and the bus schedule, says the phone call. Dont reward Malones unprofessional behavior by sending him to the state legislature.
Common Sense Matters is a liberal advocacy group that spent more than $100,000 last year to defeat Republican school board candidates in Wake County. This year, the group is targeting Republican candidates in several state legislative races.
In the May primary, Goldman finished with 34.4 percent of the vote, falling short of the 40 percent mark needed to avoid the runoff that Dority could have requested. Dority took second with 23.9 percent. Fern Shubert was third with 18.4 percent.
After Doritys decision, he won plaudits from a party leader.
I commend Greg for his decision not to seek a runoff after careful personal thought and consideration, King said in a May 17 statement. I applaud him for the manner in which he conducted his campaign. I look forward to working with him to help Debra Goldman and Pat McCrory win in November!
Shubert, a CPA and former legislator, said party officials attempted to dissuade her from running for state auditor on the day she filed for the slot. She heard the news indirectly, but determined through a chain of contacts that it was King who wanted her to drop her bid for the state auditors post.
He came to an event in Union County, and I went up and asked him what was up, Shubert said Tuesday.
He said, We really really needed you to run for treasurer, you have all the qualifications, Shubert said.
Afterward, Shubert said, she wondered why a party official would suggest that she run for a specific office the day after filing closed for state offices. Judy Kidd, a precinct captain in Union County, was with Shubert at the event and confirmed her account Tuesday. Efforts to reach King about Shuberts account were unsuccessful.
After she placed third in the primary, Shubert said, she agreed to endorse Dority at his request and after hearing his plans for the office.
He sounded better to me than anything else I heard about out there, Shubert said. I have no doubt that Mr. Dority had every intention of running until someone got to him.
Staff writers Anne Blythe and John Frank contributed to this report.