Some local Republican elected officials are backing away from their endorsements or denying they made them in Wake County school board member Chris Malone's bid to win the state House 35 seat.
As noted in today's North Raleigh News article by Paul A. Specht and Colin Campbell, some GOP politicians are distancing themselves from Malone since the recent reports about his relationship with fellow school board member Debra Goldman. In some ways, the reaction is similar to how state GOP officials are distancing themselves from Goldman in her run for state auditor.
“I know I endorsed him in the past,” said Commissioner Phil Matthews, vice chairman of the commissioners, of Malone. “But, I have not voted yet and am going to wait and see how things go before I take things further.”
Malone, a Republican, is running against Lori Millberg, a Democrat and former Wake school board member.
When contacted by phone, Commissioners chairman Paul Coble and Commissioner Tony Gurley declined to give direct answers to the question: “Do you support Chris Malone?”
“I support Republicans in their races,” Gurley said, declining to comment on Malone’s race. Coble said the situation is “complicated.”
Joe Bryan was the only Republican commissioner to confirm his support for Malone. “I already cast my vote, so it’s already a done deal,” he said. “I don’t regret it. ... In the end, I think he’ll be a more effective legislator.”
In an April candidates’ questionnaire, Malone said he’d been endorsed by “all Wake Forest and Rolesville Republican commissioners.”
Yet, Wake Forest commissioner Zachary Donahue and Rolesville commissioner Frank Hodge in interviews on Wednesday denied that they ever endorsed Malone. Donahue said he wasn’t aware the candidate was touting his support.
“My stance has always been that I’ve never endorsed anybody,” Donahue said.
Hodge said: “Millberg has had my support since Day One.”
Malone did not return a call seeking comment but texted a reporter to say Donahue had, in fact, previously endorsed him.
Republican Rolesville commissioner Gil Hartis declined to comment on Malone.