Did conservative businessman and former state legislator Art Pope play a bigger role in electing the new Wake County school board majority than has been previously known?
As noted in today's article by Thomas Goldsmith, Pope gets a lot of credit for the election results in an Oct. 7 e-mail message sent from Wake County GOP fundraising chairman Marc Scruggs to school board member Ron Margiotta.
“I am fairly pleased with the elections yesterday — especially with the school board,” Scruggs writes in an e-mail message obtained following a public records request. “Art Pope’s plan (that) the GOP implemented worked very well — and THANK YOU for your help and service.”
Scruggs goes on to say that Pope will be the "architect" in what would turn out to be John Tedesco's successful runoff election.
Pope and Scruggs couldn't be reached for the article. Margiotta, now the board chairman, said he barely remembered the e-mail message.
Critics of the new board have argued that there are people pulling the strings of the new board majority. Chris Fitzsimon, executive director of the liberal N.C. Policy Watch, said in a column last week that "it’s not hard to see the influence of Art Pope and the groups he funds on the new board’s operations."
The year-end campaign finance reports could shed some additional light on the issue after they're filed.
Here's the text of the e-mail message from Scruggs to Margiotta that I'll post as a PDF later:
I am fairly pleased with the elections yesterday — especially with the school board. Art Pope’s plan the GOP implemented worked very well — and THANK YOU for your help and service.
We are going to try to raise some money to help Tedesco win his run-off for the school board and the other Wake County Candidatessic in Cary, Fuquay and Garner.
We don’t have a solid game plan yet, but Art will be the architect. I am not soliciting $$$, but merely asking for permission to use your name on a fundraiser invitation as a host/co-host — however it is designed. I intend to include all other GOP Honorees and elected officials as well.
Be glad to share with you before we send anything. I understand if you feel some conflict. Again, thanks for your help and service!!!
Wake GOP Finance Chair
Click here to view Scruggs' e-mail message.