GOP Threatens Legal Action Against School Board Candidate

Attorney Demands Candidate Cease And Desist Making False Statements

The Johnston County Republican Party has threatened legal action against a candidate for the Johnston County Board of Education.  Friday afternoon, an attorney for the NC Republican Party wrote a letter on behalf of the Johnston County GOP to school board candidate Jason Barbour of Four Oaks demanding that he stop making statements he has been endorsed by the organization.  If he doesn’t, the attorney says the GOP will take legal action against Barbour on Monday.

The action comes two days after Barbour told WTSB News he was considering legal action against the GOP for removing his name from the Voter Guide.  The Voter Guide is distributed by volunteers outside polling precincts and includes candidates endorsed by the local GOP.   Barbour was one of three candidates initially endorsed by the GOP for the school board. But when new Voter Guides were printed last week his name was removed.

Barbour said he was disappointed and called the party’s move “good old boy politics.”

GOP Chairman Darryl Mitchell told WTSB on Wednesday that Barbour’s name was removed because of numerous complaints about his campaign tactics including telling some potential voters he is a Democrat and others he is a Republican in an attempt to gain their vote.  “Some of the main issues were addressed with him directly, but with every day, more complaints came in about his conduct, comments, and campaign tactics, which some believed were a detriment to our party, and cause to reconsider our support of his candidacy.”

School Board candidate Jason Barbour of Four Oaks

In response, Barbour said Wednesday he was considering legal action against the Republican Party.  “Growing up I was always told about the ‘good old boy’’ system where people played favorites and blackballed those who really wanted to make a difference. I truly understand what the ‘good old boy’ system is now… I am discouraged by the Republican party’s actions. I feel like it’s my family and faith going against a political machine. But I’m not going to quit. If elected I will not be another “yes man.” Voters are sick and tired of the status quo. I will not apologize for running a campaign geared towards EVERY voter in Johnston County.”

WTSB News obtained a copy of the letter NC GOP Attorney Neal Inman send to Barbour on Friday.  The letter states:

I am an attorney with the North Carolina Republican Party and am assisting the Johnston County Republican Party. Demand is hereby made that you and your campaign cease and desist making any further statements that you are endorsed as a candidate for Johnston County School Board by the Johnston County Republican Party.  Without limitation, this specifically includes the distribution of any further literature or writings to prospective voters at polling places that would lead an individual to believe that you are a candidate endorsed by the Party in this race.

As you are well-aware, the Johnston County Republican Party revoked its endorsement of your candidacy after concerns were raised regarding your actions at polling places during early-voting. Several volunteers observed you making false statements to potential voters about your registration and affiliation before they entered the polling location. The Johnston County Republican Party is a private organization and has the complete right and privilege to endorse and person it chooses in the course of this election and make the general public aware of the endorsement. The Johnston County Republican Party is under no obligation whatsoever to endorse your candidacy in this race. Claiming the endorsement of the Party is false, misleading and without permission or authorization. 

If you do not cease and desist these activities, then the Johnston County Republican Party will file legal action and seek injunctive relief on Monday to prevent further confusion. We will seek damages for your actions and seek to recover legal fees and costs expended in pursuit of this action. The North Carolina Republican Party stand behind the Johnston County Republican Party and will offer the full weight of its resources in order to see that you comply with this demand. Please send written confirmation of your intent to comply with this letter by fax or e-mail to the contact information on this letter as soon as possible.

Barbour could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon about the GOP’s demands.  On Wednesday he did say, “If taking a stand on wasteful spending and being critical of these bad decisions gets me removed from the Conservative Voter Guide, then I will have to live with that. It is not easy because I am a conservative but the one thing I will not do is compromise what I believe is right.”