Content warning: This story contains graphic accounts of physical and emotional abuse.
Republican congressional candidate Sandy Smith last week had choice words about a new TV ad by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that claims she physically abused her daughter a decade ago.
Smith addressed the ad on her website, saying “the Pelosi-run DCCC are so desperate to peddle fake misinformation of abuse from over a decade ago knowing it is totally false just so they can try and hurt me and my family.”
“When hearing of these false allegations, my daughter responded, ‘I love my mom and she is my best friend and the one person in this world I can always count on to have my back and protect me,’” the website states. “‘My mom is NOT a domestic abuser, she is a survivor and a protector. She moved our family to get away and protect us from my ex-stepfather who was physically abusive. It is only now as an adult I realize everything she did to protect me and I thank God every day that she didn’t give up on me.’”
While mother and daughter have publicly reconciled, the July 11, 2012 domestic violence order of protection shows that Smith’s daughter reported that she had been assaulted by her mother and an aunt “on multiple occasions,” according to court documents filed in Lenoir County District Court.
Court records and other reports also indicate that Smith was accused of battering her former husbands too.
“I don’t trust a single thing that comes out of her mouth,” one former husband, Eric Goranson, who divorced Smith in 2009, told WRAL in May.
Smith, in an email to the INDY Thursday, stated that “Mr. Goranson is seeking publicity and financial gain at the expense of my reputation as he has a long history of financial and criminal troubles.”
Smith added that Goranson also has a long history of being a domestic abuser, with multiple domestic violence protection orders issued against him from two other women. Smith attached screenshots of the domestic violence orders for which two other women petitioned the court in 2005 and 2012.
“I filed for the protection order,” Smith stated in the email. “Mr. Goranson did not, nor has he ever filed for a domestic violence protection order against me. He also never mentioned any of his false claims during the original domestic violence protection order hearing or when I renewed the order a year later.”
Smith described a no contact order issued during the divorce proceedings as “pretty standard, meaning don’t talk to each other to help keep the peace and was only in place during the divorce proceedings.”
Goranson, she added, “did make some false statements in court documents and the court addressed them.”
Goranson this week told the INDY that the domestic violence petitions filed by his former spouses are no-contact orders, and in much the manner that Smith described the procedure as “pretty standard,” he called it a “common practice” in Washington divorce proceedings.
As previously reported by the INDY this week, Smith is running for a seat in the state’s 1st Congressional District against Donald Davis, a Democrat and member of the state senate who was first elected in 2013, and political newcomer Eshan Patel, who is running as an independent.
Smith lost in 2020 to longtime incumbent G.K. Butterfield, who won with nearly 55 percent of the vote and announced late last year that he would not seek reelection.
The far-right candidate describes herself as a “Proud USMC [U.S. Marine Corps] Mom & Business Owner,” who is “#ProTrump, #ProVets, #ProWall, #Pro2nd, #ProLife, #MAGA,” according to her Twitter account.
Smith describes herself as an America First Christian Conservative, on the conservative social media platform GETTR.
Smith defeated her GOP opponent, Rocky Mount mayor Sandy Roberson during the May 17 primary, weeks after he made public a press release that described her “checkered past of scamming people and companies out of money, taking large ‘loans’ from the federal government, and even changing her identity multiple times.”
Roberson, in his statement, also noted that “Smith’s husbands have accused her of anger problems and other disturbing behavior.”
Roberson added that Butterfield “had this information during his 2020 election,” but opted not to use it because the race against Smith was not close.
“In 2022, which is primed to be an excellent environment for Republicans, we do not expect the Democrats to hold this information back should Sandy Smith become the Republican nominee.”
Smith’s daughter, in her motion for a protective order, reported that the county’s department of social services “has been called three times and the sheriff’s department has responded to approximately 9 calls.”
The then-teen wrote that “this has been escalating over the past 6 months.”
“I have been kicked out of the home, forced to live with my aunt, ran away from home due to being afraid of my family,” she explained in a complaint and motion for domestic violence protective order while the family resided in Kinston.
“They,” Smith’s daughter added, “constantly put me down and call me names such as: slut, cunt, bitch, whore, tramp, loser, crackhead, trailer park trash.”
Smith’s daughter also stated in the court affidavit that she had “very little clothing to wear” and wore her mom’s underwear because she went two days without clean underwear.
“So I got a clean pair of her underwear on and she said ‘take my underwear off, I don’t know where your pussy has been.’”
Goranson says he saw Smith drag her daughter, who was about 11 at the time, “backwards down the hallway screaming at her.” Goranson said he and Smith argued about the incident, and that a week later he woke up to Smith trying to “bash my head in with the alarm clock.”
Smith, in response to the ad, called the ad producers “desperate liars,” who “won’t tell you is this legal document was filed under duress using false information and was dismissed 5 days later by the judge at the request of my daughter.”
It certainly appears that Smith’s daughter was under duress when she filed for the protective order, and she’s right, a district court judge stated that her daughter “requested that this matter be set aside,” according to an affidavit filed on July 17, 2012.
There’s an allegation of domestic abuse against Smith by Goranson when he filed for divorce in 2009, while she resided in Pierce County, Washington.
On August 10, 2009, Goranson filed a motion in the Superior Court of Washington’s Pierce County that would bar his estranged wife from selling “community property” after they separated.
Goranson explained that he and his wife had been married for one month short of two years and separated on July 3 of that year “following a domestic violence” incident hours before.
Goranson stated that he had gone to bed the night before—“as usual at 9:30 p.m.”—at the couple’s Gig Harbor home. Smith’s former husband said in the middle of the night, on July 3, he was abruptly awakened by “a severe head pain.”
“Mrs. Goranson had hit me across the left side of my face with our radio/alarm clock,” Goranson stated in the court affidavit. “She continued a barrage of physical assault against me, using her hands, the clock and a broom.”
Goranson stated that he was still in a daze when he ran into the bathroom and locked the door.
“She proceeded to break through the door and continue her crazed attack,” Goranson stated. “She then screamed for me to leave.”
Goranson stated that he quickly gathered his clothes and personal items and left, and drove away while “getting my bearings for the first time since the abrupt awakening,” according to his court motion.
Goranson said he called the police who met him at a nearby parking lot. He returned to his home with the officers who charged both him and his wife with assault and domestic violence.
Goranson stated that the charges against him “were dropped without delay” during his arraignment.
On July 22 of that year, the former Mrs. Goranson filed a motion in court that stated she and her husband had separated on July 3 after an argument.
“Eric tried to take my purse from my hand and crushed my arm by trying to force the bathroom door shut across my arm several times,” she stated. “He threatened to break my arm and called me horrible names.”
Smith also stated that Goranson returned to the home “and started again” and that he had “new scratches on his face which he claimed I had inflicted.”
She says they were both arrested and charges against them were dropped.
Goranson filed another court affidavit that described his wife’s allegations of domestic violence “patently false.”
On July 16, a Pierce County superior court judge dissolved the marriage.
Smith’s first husband Randall Auman, filed for divorce in Cobb County, Georgia in September 1997, two years after their wedding.
Smith, in her email to the INDY Thursday, stated that Auman “has not seen or had any contact with our children in over 22 years and had the claims been true why would he abandon two young children in that kind of situation”
However, Auman told the INDY this week that far from abandoning his children, he didn’t know where Smith or his two children were “for the longest.”
Auman says he didn’t know Smith was in North Carolina until he filed a court motion asking for “overpayment of daycare expenses” that the congressional candidate claimed were owed to her as part of court-ordered child support when their children were teens.
Auman says the court ordered “$20,000 back in my favor.”
Moreover, Auman says he “found out from her ex-husband that she told the kids I was dead.”
Goranson says that’s true. He says he’s never met Auman “face-to-face,” but one Christmas, Auman sent his children “six huge boxes for Christmas,” and he put the gifts under their family tree.
“When Sandra came home and saw the children’s gifts from their father, she blew a gasket,” Goranson says. “She sent the children outside, re-wrapped the gifts, and put her name on them.”
“I laughed my ass off when I found out she was running for Congress,” Auman says. “She’s an ambitious person. She doesn’t care what she has to do to get what she wants. If she has to lie, she’ll lie. If she has to steal, she’ll steal. I haven’t talked to Sandra in a long time and I have no desire to, because the Sandra I know lies through her teeth.”
Meanwhile, Goranson shared with the INDY a little over one and a half hour video that was posted in July on social media.
The video is titled in part, “Eric Goranson Shares Abuse by Ex Sandy Smith, Candidate For Congress in NC.”
The video is accompanied by the hashtags, “#AbuseHasNoGender” and “#Mentoo.”
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