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Williams’ campaign takes issue with sign

Arthur Williams’ campaign contends this sign in the window of the Beaufort County Republican Party headquarters violates the N.C. Republican Party’s plan of organization. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

The Arthur Williams for N.C House campaign filed a formal complaint last week with the N.C. Republican Party over a sign in the Beaufort County Republican Party headquarters that endorses Williams’ opponent in the upcoming July 17 second primary.
Williams, who lives in Beaufort County, is facing fellow Republican Mattie Lawson, a Dare County resident, in the second primary to determine the GOP nominee to take on Democrat Paul Tine, another Dare County resident, in the race for the 6th District seat in the N.C. House of Representatives.
The complaint, which was filed with NCGOP Executive Director Scott Laster, contends that local party endorsements in Republican primaries are contrary to the NCGOP plan of organization.
“The Beaufort County GOP headquarters located in the office of the Beaufort Observer, owned by County Commissioner Hood Richardson, prominently displays a sign endorsing Mattie Lawson over Arthur Williams in the Republican State House 6 runoff July 17. The Beaufort County GOP headquarters is located at 208 N. Market Street in downtown Washington,” reads a news release issued by Williams’ campaign director Ashley Woolard, a former congressional candidate and a 2012 presidential elector.
“This is a flagrant violation and conflict of interest.   The endorsement is a direct violation of the NCGOP plan of organization which seeks to prohibit local party involvement in Republican primary elections, thus maintaining a level playing field for the voters,” Woolard said. “I am disappointed and disturbed to see the local party transitioned into nothing more than an editorial platform for the Beaufort Observer whose office they currently reside in.  One of two signs needs to come down — the pro-Lawson sign or the one claiming to be the Beaufort County GOP headquarters. And from our perspective it doesn’t matter which one. When I became Beaufort County GOP Chairman in 2007 the same people who are violating the rules now were victims of the same thing back then. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.”
Richardson responded to the complaint by sending an email to the Washington Daily News.
“The filing of the complaint with the state Republican Party shows the desperation in the Williams camp. The signage on my building is legitimate. It is there because, I as owner of the building, along with many others, do not believe Arthur Williams can change from a yellow dog Democrat into a Republican,” Richardson wrote in the email.
A telephone message left on Laster’s voice mail Monday afternoon and asking about the state GOP party’s procedures regarding such complaints was not returned by the deadline for this edition of the Daily News.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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