N.C. GOP close on a replacement for Board of Elections spot

ncboeRALEIGH – The N.C. GOP is close to having a firm short-list of potential nominees to the  State Board of Elections.  The party has been taking nominees over the past week to submit to Gov. Pat McCrory for the final selection.

“The state party is in the process of collecting names of people willing to serve the state.  We are going to go through this list and move quickly to make nominations to the Governor,” said N.C. GOP Director Todd Poole.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections (NCSBE) serves in an oversight role to the full time staff, headed by Executive Director Kim Westbrook Stratch. Members of the board are nominated by their political party and appointed by the governor.

“We will get a list from NCGOP and the nominees will go through the normal vetting process; interviews, checking references, background checks, anything you would do when making an important hire or appointment,” said Graham Wilson, Press Secretary to Governor McCrory.

The quick action on a replacement comes after the resignation of board member Paul Foley from the NCSBE last Wednesday night.  In late 2014 staff found out that there was potential for a conflict of interest in Foley’s employment with Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, a large Winston Salem law firm representing sweepstakes company executive Chase Burns, who is under investigation by the NCSBE.  Foley then recused himself of all decisions regarding the case.  But in subsequent staff/board conference calls, Foley asked for status updates from staff, raising concerns with Stratch.

In an effort to ensure that Foley had no undue influence on the investigation, the NCSBE decided to turn the issue over to the Attorney General’s office.  The AG investigation found no evidence of wrong-doing on the part of Mr. Foley or the NCSBE.  Still, the potential for conflict concerned some, coupled with insider’s accounts of Foley’s pattern of fiercely badgering and micro-managing staff members on a variety of issues lead to Foley’s resignation.   Requesting to not be identified, some described him as “passionate,” others had more choice words.

Foley, 37, was appointed in 2010 to the NCSBE by Robin Hayes, then NCGOP chairman.  At the time Foley was serving as the General Counsel for the NCGOP and was know for his deep commitment and dedication to the party.