How much political fallout will there be over the publicity about Wake County school board member Debra Goldman naming board member Chris Malone as a suspect in a burglary she reported in 2010 and the conflicting statements they gave about their relationship?
As noted in today's article, the two face consequences in how it will affect their campaigns for state office. They also face consequences about how the controversy will affect them on the school board, especially if they don't win their elections next month.
As Andy Taylor, an N.C. State University political professor noted, people aren't talking now about the firing of Superintendent Tony Tata.
"If they're not talking about Tata or the Democratic majority, it's probably better for them," Taylor said of the board majority.
Taylor is working on a book on the Wake County school system focusing on what led to the 2009 election when he said consensus was lost in the community for the old student assignment policy.
Taylor said it would be "pretty hard" for Goldman or Malone, neither of whom are commenting about the 2010 incident, to stay on the board if they don't win their bids for higher office.
School board chairman Kevin said it’s too early to consider whether he would ask either Goldman or Malone to step down from the board. If either resigned, either because they won the election or just quit, the vacancy would be filled by the Democratic-led board.
“I don’t intend to be judgmental,” Hill said. “I would like to think that members would reflect and make that decision on their own, if needed.”
But Hill said the actions of Goldman and Malone could prove an obstacle to the smooth operation of the board.
“My first reaction is that it most certainly will have an impact on their effectiveness and credibility,” Hill said. “Former chairman Margiotta basically alleged that Debra Goldman used her vote to get back at Chris Malone.
That’s clearly not what the citizens and parents in Wake County want. They want to be able to trust that the board members are making good decisions for the kids in school.”
Taylor said it might be better for Democrats not to pressure them to resign, because the longer they stay on the more people will be reminded about the allegations heading into their 2013 re-election campaigns.
The issue of whether they should resign would be moot if they won next month.
Carter Wrenn, a Republican strategist who is not working for Goldman or Malone, said the incident “certainly won’t help” the candidates’ bid in this election season, but might not be a deciding factor, he said.
“Will it change people’s voting behavior? Who knows?” Wrenn said. “You’d have to be smarter than I am to know that.”
Taylor said it will hurt both Goldman and Malone’s campaigns, but especially Goldman.
“She's running for auditor," Taylor said. "The auditor is supposed to be keeping people in government honest, trying to protect the public’s interests and promoting transparency. This won't help her."
Taylor said it might be in the best interests for Republicans to let Goldman take the heat, pointing back to her 2010 vote to kill the zone plan.
"The only way to spin it for Republicans might to be make Malone the victim of it and sort of explain why she wavered and essentially backed out on the majority on the assignment plan,” Taylor said.
While Republicans volunteering at the State Fair on Sunday were mum about the controversy, Democratic volunteers were more than willing to talk.
"All we need is more drama.” said Michael Knight, Democratic volunteer form North Raleigh suggested the school board’s antics could be good fodder for a reality television show. “They have Honey Boo Boo — why not the Wake County School Board?”
Taylor agreed that the story is unusual, even for Wake County.
“It’s such a unique story that it’s hard to compare it to anything else that has happened before,” Taylor said. “It’s bizarre, I guess. It’s certainly not going to help the Republicans.”