The controversy over Wake County school board member Debra Goldman's 2010 police statements about fellow board member Chris Malone are turning into a statewide issue.
As noted in today's article, both major North Carolina gubernatorial candidates are speaking out about Goldman, the GOP candidate for state auditor. Republican candidate Pat McCrory is defending Goldman while Democratic candidate Walter Dalton is accusing McCrory of overlooking "Republican scandals."
In addition, state Republican officials are still publicly backing Goldman while behind the scenes distancing themselves from her.
"Pat believes that the timing of this story coming after voting has already started and its basis from a stolen police report to be troubling," said Brian Nick, a McCrory spokesman. "If the allegations are based on facts, Pat hopes that the folks involved are able to tend to these matters and his prayers are with the families impacted."
Nick also said McCrory "has prudently reserved judgment on a convoluted situation."
"Pat McCrory seems to have blinders when it comes to Republican scandals," said Schorr Johnson, a Dalton spokesman. "McCrory campaigned with Debra Goldman on Saturday and owes the voters an explanation about the kind of candidate he wants as the taxpayers' watchdog. Walter Dalton supports Beth Wood for State Auditor."
On the state GOP end, state Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes responded to the Goldman situation by urging people to vote for Republicans.
“All of our candidates were elected to be on the ballot by voters throughout North Carolina during the primary,” Hayes said in a written statement. “The North Carolina Republican Party will continue to ask voters to vote straight-ticket Republican.”
Goldman apparently didn't mention the story was coming when she attended a campaign rally Saturday in western North Carolina with McCrory, Hayes and other state GOP candidates. Goldman was there Saturday after having gotten multiple phone calls and a visit to her home from a reporter Friday about the story.
Goldman left Saturday's rally with several photos on her Facebook campaign page of her with McCrory and other GOP candidates. That's potentially not something those candidates want to be associated with right now.
Hayes didn’t learn about allegations about Malone and Goldman until he read the story Sunday morning, a spokesman said.
While McCrory's campaign issued the statement Monday, he didn't answer the question from a reporter whether he still endorsed Goldman.
Ed Goodwin, the GOP nominee for Secretary of State who was at Saturday's rally, declined comment.
Wake County school board member John Tedesco, who was at the Saturday rally, declined comment Monday on the potential impact of recent stories about Goldman on the rest of the GOP ticket. He also declined in general to comment about whether Goldman and Malone had a romantic relationship and if it impacted school board votes.
“I don’t have any comment on people’s personal lives, except that I’d encourage the community to pray for their families,” Tedesco said.
But by Monday afternoon, Tedesco’s Facebook campaign page had changed. A photo from Saturday’s rally which originally was posted with Goldman in it was later cropped to remove her image. Photo captions from the rally that originally mentioned her appearance were changed to remove her name.
On Tedesco’s personal Facebook page, Goldman’s name was no longer listed in the caption for one photo. The page also showed that Tedesco had deleted comments that people had made about Goldman and Malone’s situation.
Tedesco would only say he periodically updates the Facebook pages to make sure the items are relevant to his campaign. He also said he doesn't always list the names of other people in his photo captions.
While Goldman was on the state GOP campaign tour on Saturday, she's not on the list of trips announced Monday for this week. That's even though two events are in the Triangle, including Raleigh.
A GOP spokesman did not respond to questions about whether Goldman will appear at party campaign events between Monday and election day, Nov. 6.