The Rev. William Barber, the president of the state NAACP, charged that the Wake County Republican Party is engaging in “race-baiting,” “fear-baiting” and “scare tactics” by using him and the Moral Monday movement as a campaign issue in the county board of commissioners races.
In a press release Monday morning, Wake GOP Chairwoman Donna Williams charged that the Democratic commission candidates are “ready to rubber stamp Rev. Barber's Moral Monday demands all over our county – over $4000 PER TAXPAYER to pay for their agenda." As a source, Williams cited an article from the conservative Civitas Institute that says it would cost taxpayers $10 billion to implement the demands from Moral Monday protesters.
In an interview Monday evening, Barber said that the GOP claims are “lies” designed to scare voters.
“This is nothing more than extremists in the Wake County GOP who are using fear-baiting and race-baiting to try to win an election,” Barber said. “It’s a shameful thing for them to do.”
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Barber said it’s wrong to try to link the Moral Monday movement to any single political party because it’s made up of people of different political beliefs and political parties.
Barber also disputed the accuracy of the $10 billion Civitas figure by pointing to the research done by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, which is part of the progressive N.C. Justice Center.
Alexandra Forter Sirota, the director of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, did an analysis of the requests by the Moral Monday protestors and found that the price tag would be $1.1 billion. But she said that if the $1.2 billion in tax cuts in House Bill 998 were reversed, there could be a net surplus of $106 million.
This isn’t the first time this year that North Carolina Republicans and conservative activists have tried to make Barber and Moral Monday a campaign issue.
Last week, conservative activist Joey Stansbury sent out a press release noting how Jessica Holmes, a Democratic candidate for the Wake County Board of Commissioners, had written a letter to the editor saying she was “one of thousands inspired by the fervent speeches of Rev. William Barber and other speakers at ‘Moral Monday.’”
Republican House candidate Gary Pendleton has run negative television ads against his Democratic opponent, Kim Hanchette, that feature Barber and Moral Monday.