WHITEVILLE, NC (WECT) – A Facebook page belonging to a candidate running for Columbus County sheriff promotes an event that offers voters the opportunity to meet the challenger and leave with free cigars, cigarettes and snacks.
"Bring your families, come get free cigars, cigarettes, drinks, snacks all Free!! You can take home Norton's Agenda and meet his Arab family who's his top Supporters," reads the statement posted Wednesday on the "Blockbuster Showdown" Facebook page belonging to Calvin Norton, one of five Democrats running for sheriff.
"I don't suppose to have no knowledge of it, and I don't have any knowledge of it," Norton said, referring to the event set to take place April 4 at a Whiteville gas station. "Pursuant to law, candidates cannot offer bribery."
But when asked why his Facebook page posted the item, Norton explained several administrators have rights to publish updates.
"That's why you see mistakes, you see misspelled words," Norton said. "There's young people handling that."
"There's all kind of things that (are going to) be given away that day by whomever that pay for it, however, my duty as a candidate is to meet and greet anywhere I'm invited. Whether it's in the hood, whether it's in the White House, whether it's in the courthouse."
Don Wright, general counsel at the N.C. State Board of Elections, said if someone files a complaint about a food giveaway, state officials investigate to determine if items are offered in exchange for a vote or as a general giveaway.
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