Mitcham says HBA qui­etly en­dors­ing his op­po­nent

Avail­abil­ity of his cam­paign signs ques­tioned by can­di­date

The Covington News - - Local news -

Though the New­ton County Home Builders As­so­ci­a­tion has not of­fi­cially en­dorsed any­one in the District 3 race for Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, Keith Mitcham, one of the candidates for that seat, said they have tac­itly en­dorsed his op­po­nent, Nancy Schulz.

Mitcham, a Repub­li­can, said he has not been given the same treat­ment by HBA as Schulz, a Demo­crat.

At is­sue is whether an in­vi­ta­tion to Schulz to drop off cam­paign signs at HBA head­quar­ters was also ex­tended to Mitcham.

An­drea Ham­mond, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the county HBA, said the de­ci­sion was made not to en­dorse any­one in the District 3 race be­cause “we met with both of [the candidates] and thought ei­ther one of them would rep­re­sent New­ton County very well.”

Ham­mond said an of­fer had been made to both Mitcham and Schulz as well as the other candidates that have been en­dorsed by HBA to in­clude cam­paign mail­ers in any HBA news­let­ter mail­ings and to drop off cam­paign yard signs at head­quar­ters that can be picked up by in­ter­ested mem­bers.

Bob Goucher, pres­i­dent of HBA, said the of­fer was ex­tend- ed to Mitcham over lunch some months back.

Ac­cord­ing to Mitcham, that of­fer was never made to him, which he sees as proof that the HBA has tac­itly en­dorsed Schulz.

“The of­fer was never made be­fore or af­ter [the gen­eral pri­mary] and if it were I would have de­clined be­cause they are a spe­cial in­ter­est group,” Mitcham said. “They are cam­paign­ing for my op­po­nent by pass­ing out signs.”

An Aug. 15 is­sue of the HBA’s news­let­ter in­cluded a box invit­ing mem­bers to pick up cam­paign signs for Kathy Mor­gan, who has been en­dorsed for county chair­man, and for Schulz. There was no men­tion of Mitcham in the box. “The prob­lem is, he is of the opin­ion and [in­cum­bent county chair­man] Aaron Varner is the same way that be­ing anti-home­builders is go­ing to get you votes,” said Goucher. [For­mer District 2 Com­mis­sioner] Ron­nie Dims­dale tried that. He’s no longer in of­fice.”

HBA has also en­dorsed Demo­crat Randy Vin­son in his race for the District 5 seat of the BOC. There has been no en­dorse­ment is­sued for the District 1 race by the home­builders.

“I’m just re­ally ir­ri­tated at that po­lit­i­cal stance when we are part of the com­mu­nity,” Goucher said. “We are some of the ma­jor tax­pay­ers in this com­mu­nity. This in­dus­try has been one of the big­gest sup­port­ers in the county.”

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