“Good Old Boy” Politics Involved In Race, Candidate Alleges
GOP Says Numerous Complaints And Deception Forced Them To Act
With less than a week to go before the November 6th elections, the campaign for the Johnston County Board of Education is heating up – heating up between one of the candidates and the Johnston County Republican Party.
The controversy and name calling is over the Voter Guide distributed during each election by the county GOP. The guide is distributed by volunteers outside polling precincts with candidates the Republican Party is supporting.
In the race for school board, where there are three seats up for election, the GOP initially endorsed three candidates: Jason Barbour, Todd Sutton and Tracy Zukowski. All 3 names appeared on the Voter Guide until last week. When new Voter Guides were printed, Jason Barbour’s name was removed. Sutton and Zukowski’s name remained.
Barbour said removing his name is wrong and he is upset by the GOP’s actions.
“I am disappointed the Johnston County Republican Party decided to remove a viable conservative candidate from the voter guide. I am not here to play political games. Also, I have not been given a substantial reason for being removed from the voter guide. I will remain focused on reducing overcrowding, increasing teacher supplements, and pay raises for teacher assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and office staff.”
Barbour said his campaign has been about taking a stand on wasteful spending by school administration. “Johnston County is a great place but many people question the decisions being made by the Board of Education. Let’s not forget the $50,000 spent to change a mascot when the school desperately needed other things. Let’s not forget the raises given to employees making over $100,000 a year while teachers in the classroom suffered. I will not apologize for taking a stand on what I believe is a waste of taxpayers money.”
“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,” Barbour told WTSB News and JoCoReport.
Johnston County GOP Chairman Darryl Mitchell told WTSB being on the voter guide is a privilege but after numerous complaints about Barbour his name was removed.
“Being on the ‘Conservative Voter Guide‘ and having the support of Johnston County Republican Party is a privilege extended to Republican candidates who represent our principles, support our candidates, and conduct campaigns with honesty and integrity. The JCGOP Executive Board met with all our candidates right after filing ended to explain this and answer questions to avoid unnecessary problems.”
“During the first week of early voting, we received numerous calls about Jason Barbour’s campaign. 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.”
Mitchell added, “Pulling support from a candidate is not something the Executive Board was inclined to do, knowing the negative ramifications that could result; however, with this one candidate becoming a daily source of distraction, division, and discontent, at a time we need to be united and focused, we felt compelled to respond by removing Mr. Barbour’s name from our Voter Guide to free him to say and do what he thinks is best for his campaign, without interference or expectation from the Republican Party.”
The GOP Chairman told us Barbour was trying to deceive voters. “We are continuing to get complaints that he is deceiving voters by telling some he’s a Democrat and others he’s a Republican in order to get votes. It’s just not right.”
“We regret the situation, but we must do what is best for the integrity of the Republican Party, and what we believe to be in the best interest of Johnston County voters.”
Barbour disagrees saying its “good ole boy” politics at work in Johnston County trying to undermine his campaign.
“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. This hasn’t been easy for my family because we worked so hard. My parents, wife, and children have given so much to help me. I appreciate and love them more than anything.”
“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. Every Child a Chance is not just a campaign slogan, it’s what I truly believe!
In an email Wednesday, Jason Barbour told WTSB News he has not ruled out legal action against the GOP.