Did state Republican Party leaders gamble that Wake County school board member Debra Goldman could be elected state auditor without rumors about her alleged relationship with fellow board member Chris Malone derailing her candidacy?
As noted in today's article, Greg Dority says "senior" Republican Party leaders were worried that Goldman's character might emerge as an issue in the runoff. Dority, who finished second in the May primary, says those leaders pressured him into not requesting a runoff, which allowed Goldman a clear path to Election Day.
When he was considering entering the auditor’s race earlier this year, Dority said he was approached by Wake County residents who wanted to tell him about Goldman’s 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 didn’t 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.”
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.
Amid all the media reports, it looks like state GOP leaders are moving faster now to distance themselves from Goldman.
On Monday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory was defending Goldman.
But on Tuesday, McCrory dodged a Charlotte broadcast reporter’s question on whether he had cast a ballot for Goldman in early voting.
“I voted for my Republicans. That’s what I did,” McCrory told WBT reporter Chris Miller.
Asked if Goldman had been among them, McCrory replied, “Thank you.”
McCrory might not be able to dodge the question if Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, presses him on the issue at tonight's debate.