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Opinion

Opponents unhappy about mailer suggesting NC Governor endorsed in Meck race

A campaign mailer from Jennifer De La Jara, who is running for an at-large seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

A recent campaign mailer from school board member Jennifer De La Jara, who is running for an at-large seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, appears to insinuate she has a big endorsement in the Democratic primary: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

The mailer features a photo of De La Jara and Cooper, accompanied by the quote, “We need bold leaders for the challenges we face and a strong voice for the people, not special interests.”

The mailer does not say who the quote is attributed to.

Cooper has not, in fact, endorsed De La Jara. “The Governor has made no endorsement in the Mecklenburg County Commissioner’s race. Any representation of an endorsement is unauthorized and false,” Morgan Jackson, a campaign spokesperson for Cooper, told the Editorial Board in a response to a question about the mailer.

Several candidates complained to the governor’s office about the mailer, Jackson said Saturday. A former public official also contacted the Editorial Board about the mailer.

“To be clear, Governor Cooper has not endorsed in our race and I did not request his endorsement. I am honored to be photographed with one of the most effective AND popular Democratic Governor’s in the country and I wanted voters across Mecklenburg to see me with someone who shares our core values like Medicaid Expansion, adequate funding for schools, and a robust investment in our infrastructure,” De La Jara told the Editorial Board in an email.

De La Jara said the quote on the mailer is a snippet from her stump speech.

The mailer sent is confusing at best. Mecklenburg residents couldn’t be blamed if they see it and assume that De La Jara has the governor’s support, especially as voters face a tough choice regarding who to vote for in Tuesday’s primary. The Democratic field is competitive: six candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three at-large seats on the board.

Political advertisements are often misleading, regardless of which party they come from. There’s little that forbids politicians from misrepresenting the truth in promotional material, as it’s generally considered to be free speech and thus protected under the First Amendment. So as Election Day approaches, let this be a reminder that you shouldn’t believe every campaign ad you see on TV — or in your mailbox.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

What is the Editorial Board?

The Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer editorial boards combined in 2019 to provide fuller and more diverse North Carolina opinion content to our readers. The editorial board operates independently from the newsrooms in Charlotte and Raleigh and does not influence the work of the reporting and editing staffs. The combined board is led by N.C. Opinion Editor Peter St. Onge, who is joined in Raleigh by deputy Opinion editor Ned Barnett and opinion writer Sara Pequeño and in Charlotte by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Kevin Siers and opinion writer Paige Masten. Board members also include McClatchy Vice President of Local News Robyn Tomlin, Observer editor Rana Cash, News & Observer editor Bill Church and longtime News & Observer columnist Barry Saunders. For questions about the board or our editorials, email [email protected].

This story was originally published May 14, 2022 6:28 PM.

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