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In today’s Herald, you’ll find a story I wrote about Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter and his decision to support two Democrats in the upcoming election. It’s worth noting, of course, because he’s a Republican supporting candidates on the “other side.”
Carter sat down with me for about 30 minutes Friday and talked to me about his publicly backing N.C. House District 51 candidate Jimmy Love Sr. at a political fundraiser Wednesday night. He’s also appeared in newspaper ads with Butch Johnson, a Democrat running for Lee County Board of Commissioners.
Carter’s decisions have led to public scrutiny by Republicans, both out in the open and on the anonymously written Lee County conservative blog.
I was curious what the reaction to the story would be today, and I wasn’t surprised to see the story was the subject of the two blogs who like to take shots at me on a consistent basis, the E-Lee Dustbatch, owned by whoever gives the author the time of day, and the previously mentioned blog. The Dustbatch (boy for a guy who says he doesn’t read us, he sho’ like ta’ write ’bout us) says I tilted the story to shed Republicans in a better light. I suppose to the author, owned by whoever gives him the time of day, allowing both sides to speak for a story is his definition of “spin” (something you’ll definitely not see on his site, if that’s his definition).
And yes, the chairman of the Lee GOP was asked to comment because Carter said some pretty strong statements about her, calling out her leadership and saying it was hurting the party. He also called it a party that attacks its own if they think differently than the status quo.
I tend to allow the other side to speak when things like that are said. He doesn’t. In fact, he’s usually the one standing behind the arsenal of stones that are cast.
As for our being “scooped,” … well, I suppose he has us there. The Herald DID choose to go with a centerpiece about when Halloween would be “celebrated” on Thursday, and we were not at the fundraising event where the endorsement was announced. Note, The Fayetteville Observer (a paper he holds in such high esteem) had a similar story earlier in the week about Halloween schedules. And also note, more people will Trick or Treat on Oct. 31, a Sunday, then will probably vote in Lee County. Our paper isn’t all about politics, which will never be considered the most important thing in the world to me.
That said, like the author, owned by whoever will give him the time of day, I’ve known about Carter’s opinion on these races (at least the Love race) for months. I requested this interview a few months ago and was turned down. When it happened publicly, I called again and this time was granted the interview.
And another thing … we don’t cover political fundraisers unless big names are expected. When a U.S. Army general came to Sanford a few years back to support Democrats, we covered it. When Pat McCrory, Elaine Marshall or any other “big wig” came to Sanford for fundraisers, we covered them.
If we covered every political fundraiser, we’d be covering a lot of them … and frankly, rarely do stories come from them. And we don’t just attend the ones held by the candidates we support, like that blog’s author, owned by whoever will give him the time of day.
I’m not a “deep thinker,” as he claims, but I do think my story was fair and unlike his claims, well thought out. No, not all of my hoped-for sources were available for comment, but that happens.
As for the other side, they’re mad, too.
“Lee Count’s Top Political Blog” had the headline today, “Nice hit piece today, Billy … and Sheriff!”. Actually, that’s the only time the piece mentions me. It’s mostly about what Tracy said in the interview.
But I imagine they think I wrote it to shed a better light on Carter and the Democrats he’s supporting.
Again … that’s not the case. It’s an interesting political story, one that people outside of the political realm may look at and say, “hmmm, I’d like to read that.”
I’m not 100 percent happy with the story. I do wish I would have had more time to write it … but deadlines are deadlines, whether they’re self-scheduled or not. I do stand 100 percent behind its accuracy, and I appreciate those who spoke to me for it.
And I love all of you. More than you’ll ever know.