Why is local GOP Chair promoting county commissioner candidates?

mccallpac2As you likely read this week online or in local media, Our Schools First endorsed three pro-education candidates on the Republican primary ballot this month.

Soon afterward, ITAPAC, a self-described action committee dedicated to fiscally conservative values, endorsed three different candidates, who all scored Fs on OS1’s education survey

The problem? Until this week, one of ITAPAC’s members was Iredell GOP chairman and Register of Deeds Matt McCall. 

McCall had been listed on the ITAPAC website for about a year.

There’s nothing illegal about a party committee member belonging to or associating with a political action committee–however, McCall’s picture and bio were removed from the ITAPAC website this week. OS1 has also learned that the State Republican Party received a complaint about McCall’s involvement with ITAPAC.

One of ITAPAC’s endorsements for commissioner, T.J. Johnson, referred to the 2014 Education Bond Referendum as “irresponsible spending” on public education. (See “Are Our School Bonds in Danger?“)

Several Republicans we spoke with off the record indicated their disappointment in McCall’s involvement. “I’d expect the party chairman to be neutral and not take sides” in the primary, one Mooresville resident, who asked that his name not be shared, said.

Still, not only did McCall’s PAC hand-pick candidates, it also picked candidates whose education platforms are harmful to our schools. One of the reasons we formed Our Schools First as a PAC was to ensure that public education wouldn’t be overshadowed by petty politics. You can count on us to fight hard to support candidates.

Candidate Hatley Calls Bond Referendum Projects “Useless”

In Friday’s Record & Landmark, I-SS Board of Education candidate Steven Hatley issued a statement in response to not being endorsed by Our Schools First. In the statement, he referred to Our Schools First as a “liberal lobby” and the 2014 bond referendum projects as “useless” expenditures of tax dollars.

Our Schools First, of course, profoundly disagrees.

“OS1 is a non-partisan group, but we’re comprised of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from across Iredell County,” said James Hogan, spokesperson for Our Schools First. “We’ve endorsed several conservatives in the 2015 Republican primary, and we believe that investing in public education is among the most fiscally prudent choices a conservative politician can make.”

“Strong public schools contribute to economic development and job creation. Candidates like Hatley, who refuse to commit to growing our school system, are in fact working against our community’s future.”

OS1 opted to not endorse any candidates running in the I-SS Board of Education District 2 Republican primary. We are concerned that candidates for this office do not fully understand 1) the duties and responsibilities of the BOE, 2) the funding requirements of an appropriately resourced school system, and 3) the critical needs ahead within Iredell-Statesville Schools.


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