By Steve Reed
CLAYTON — With Tuesday’s general election days away, the Johnston County Republican Party withdrew support for a second GOP Johnston County school board candidate last week. The party dropped candidate Jason Barbour from a reprint of its GOP Voters Guide.
Party Chairman Darryl Mitchell said Thursday that the party had received several complaints about 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,” said Mitchell.
The Republican chairman said party officials received reports that Barbour “is deceiving voters by telling some he’s a Democrat and others he’s a Republican in order to get votes.”
Barbour, of Four Oaks, said he’s a victim of “good ol’ boy politics.”
“I am disappointed the Johnston County Republican Party decided to remove a viable conservative candidate from the voter guide,” said Barbour. “ I am not here to play political games. Also, I have not been given a substantial reason for being removed from the voter guide.
“Growing up I was always told about the ‘good ol’ boy’ system where people played favorites and blackballed those who really wanted to make a difference. I am discouraged by the Republican Party’s actions. I feel like it’s my family and faith going against a political machine.”
Mitchell said the decision wasn’t made lightly.
“Pulling support from a candidate is not something the executive board was inclined to do, knowing the negative ramifications that could result,” said Mitchell. “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. This will free him to say and do what he thinks is best for his campaign, without interference or expectation from the Republican Party.”
Barbour is the second school board candidate for whom the local GOP has withdrawn its support. Last month, the Johnston County Republican Party disavowed incumbent school board member Butler Hall in the Nov. 6 general election. Since the May 8 primary, in which Hall ranked second from last, he has not campaigned for re-election.
“It’s not right these decisions are being made by a select few and will affect all the children in Johnston County Schools,” said Barbour.”Political games shouldn’t be what decides an election. Removing candidates from the voter guide has not happened before, why now? Why Butler? Why me? Why now? Is there a motive behind this? I believe people are tired of these political games and hope they see through the nonsense.”
Barbour said he would continue in the race.
“I will remain focused on reducing overcrowding, increasing teacher supplements and [securing] pay raises for teacher assistants, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and office staff,” said Barbour. “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.”
Barbour said teachers have suffered while others in Johnston County Public Schools administration have profited.
“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,” said Barbour. “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.”