On the eve of Tuesday's elections, county commissioner candidate Stephen Hopkins fired a verbal broadside at the People's Alliance and Commissioner Ellen Reckhow.
Accusing the PA of "Tea Party-like tactics," Hopkins (right) accused the liberal political-action group of making race an issue in the commissioners race and making "wild accusations" about incumbent commissioners Joe Bowser, Brenda Howerton and Michael Page.
"Reckhow and PA have sought to divide Durhamites and pit us one against the other," Hopkins said, reading a prepared statement outside the Old Courthouse this morning in company with four supporters and a reporter. The full statement is posted on Hopkins's Facebook campaign page, http://on.fb.me/JN7kmL.
Some PA members complained to the state Board of Elections last week that the Bowser, Howerton and Page campaigns were in collaboration with the Partnership for Progress Super PAC. After investigation, the board found no impropriety.
"PA's agenda is about absolute control of Durham," he said. "They don't care if they have to lie and file false accusations to get control." Hopkins also said the group's election platform disregarded the poor and crime in Durham.
In response to an enquiry from Bull's Eye, Peoples' Alliance President David Harris made his own statement:
"The People's Alliance has been a progressive voice in Durham since its founding in 1976. We are proud of our open, transparent and democratic endorsement process. The real issues facing Durham are poverty, education, jobs and planning our growth. Those are the issues PA focuses on, and the issues that we'll continue to focus on – tomorrow and far beyond. We look forward to working with other groups, agencies, and organizations to address the issues that we fight for day in and day out. We are equally proud of the candidates we have endorsed who ALL:
- Oppose the Amendment that would put discrimination back into our State Constitution, after it took centuries to get it out;
- Protect all residents by supporting responsible development that does not pollute our drinking water;
- Support our public schools and all families."
Bowser, Howerton and Page are in favor of the proposed 751 South subdivision, which the People's Alliance opposes.
Partnership for Progress, created and funded by 751 South developer Southern Durham Development, has endorsed Bowser, Howerton and Page, along with candidate Rickey Padgett,
The People's Alliance endorsed Reckhow for re-election, along with candidates Fred Foster, Wendy Jacobs and Will Wilson.
Padgett, Reckhow, Jacobs and Wilson are white; Bowser, Howerton, Page and Foster are black.