ZEBULON — Candidate endorsement lists published by Wake County’s two major political parties aren’t all-inclusive or exclusive.
A field of 17 candidates is running for Zebulon mayor, one seat on the Wake County school board, three seats on Knightdale Town Council, three seats on the Wendell Board of Commissioners, and two seats on Zebulon’s Board of Commissioners. The elections are officially nonpartisan, meaning there’s no party affiliation next to candidate’s names on the ballot. Voter registration records show 11 partisan candidates: seven Democrats and four Republicans.
But the Wake County Republican Party declined to endorse two registered Republicans, and the Wake County Democratic Party endorsed two unaffiliated candidates.
The Wake County GOP declined to endorse registered Republicans Richard Poole, who is running for mayor of Zebulon, and John Boyette, who is seeking a seat on Wendell’s Board of Commissioners.
Donna Williams, chairwoman of the Wake County Republican Party, said her group declined to endorse Poole because of his recent legal issues. In August, Zebulon police charged Poole with disorderly conduct and resisting an officer – the second time this summer police charged Poole with those same charges. Poole’s wife also has a restraining order against him, according to Zebulon police.
“We read that and said ‘No, thank you,’ ” Williams said.
Poole couldn’t be reached for comment. He is the only candidate challenging incumbent Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny, who the Wake County Democratic Party endorsed.
Williams said Wake Republicans couldn’t reach Boyette by phone, so they couldn’t vet him for an endorsement. Boyette didn’t return calls seeking comment for this story.
Meanwhile, the Wake County Democratic Party last week endorsed two unaffiliated candidates: Mike Chalk, an incumbent Knightdale Town Council candidate, and Ira Fuller, who’s seeking re-election to Wendell’s Board of Commissioners.
Dan Blue III, chairman of the Wake Democratic Party, said his group plans to support Chalk and Fuller by including their names in campaign materials and phone banking efforts. This is the first time the Wake Democratic Party has endorsed Chalk and Fuller.
Blue said Wake Democrats endorsed the duo because they’ve demonstrated “responsible governance” over the years while supporting efforts for parks and affordable housing. Chalk and Fuller each were surprised by the endorsement, saying they were not contacted by party officials and did not seek support from the group. Regardless, Fuller was flattered: “Anyone running for public office appreciates an endorsement.”
Chalk wasn’t as appreciative, saying he was taken aback and might ask that Democrats not use his name on election materials.
“I’ll think about it over the weekend before deciding what I’m gonna do,” Chalk said on Thursday. “I don’t think party politics should play a role in nonpartisan elections.”
The parties will be active, nonetheless.
Williams, the Wake GOP leader, said her group plans to provide volunteer help and monetary support for Don McIntyre of Wake Forest, who is running for school board, and incumbent Wendell Commissioner Ginna Gray.
“Their values align with what we stand for,” Williams said.
Williams said Wake Republicans endorsed McIntyre because he supports proximity-based student assignment. McIntyre is also a district vice chairman for the Wake GOP, according to the party’s website. Gray and McIntyre are the only registered Republicans running for local office in eastern Wake besides Boyette and Poole, who the party spurned.
The Wake County Democratic Party endorsed every registered Democrat in local races, including incumbent school board member Tom Benton of Zebulon. Blue said Wake Democrats support Benton because of his extensive education background, which includes a master’s degree in school administration, a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, and 32 years in Wake County schools.
Wake Democrats also endorsed party members Charles Bullock and Mark Swan for Knightdale Town Council. The party didn’t endorse anyone besides Fuller, an independent, for Wendell’s Board of Commissioners. In Zebulon, the Wake Democratic Party endorsed democrats Beverly Clark, Annie Moore and Glenn York.
Unaffiliated candidates include Knightdale Town Council candidate Randy Young, Wendell Board of Commissioners candidate Jon Lutz, Zebulon Board of Commissioners candidates Anne-Marie Mazur and her husband, Michael Mazur.