County GOP Chair defends criticizing Dawson in scathing release

County GOP Chair defends criticizing Dawson in scathing release

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Chairman of New Hanover County's Republican Party is defending a news release sent Monday night sharply criticizing a member of his own party running for re-election.

Michael Franklin says he wrote the release sent by the county GOP, which blasts County Commissioner Chairman Beth Dawson for voting to replace fellow Republican Woody White on the Cape Fear Community College Board of Trustees. Dawson supported appointing Jonathan Barfield, a Democrat, to the CFCC board after White served the past three years.

"We know that Commissioner Barfield is a tax and spend liberal democrat and that he will love any junkets he is able to jump on with the new appointment," the news release said. "Beth Dawson's support of this move is further evidence of her abandonment of our conservative values and distancing herself from the party."

"It was meant to get our point across, and the point of all her constituents that they are not happy with her voting record as of yet," Franklin said when asked about the release. "She still has a whole year to prove herself."

Dawson is one of seven Republicans running for three seats on the Board of Commissioners. Franklin said the party will not and cannot support any candidate over another in a primary election. When asked if he thinks it's fair for the party leader to publicly criticize a candidate running for re-election, Franklin said yes.

"I think it's very fair," he said. "This is not about the upcoming primary or any candidate over the other. This was about her record and the promises she made when she was elected by her fellow Republicans and how she is coming about with those."

Primary Election Day in North Carolina is March 15, 2016.

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