The Wake County Republican and Democratic parties have each released endorsements for Wake County school board, supporting a single candidate in all nine races. 

The parties also could have endorsed multiple candidates, a viable option given that 29 people are in the running and some of the candidates endorsed by the Wake County GOP hold extreme views. Democrats are competing against each other in three races, while Republicans are going head to head in four. 

Although the school board election is nonpartisan, most of the people running are registered Republicans or Democrats, which makes them eligible for an endorsement from their respective parties. Only two of the 29 candidates are unaffiliated. 

The Republican Endorsements

Being a registered Republican is a prerequisite to receiving an endorsement from the Wake County GOP, but “equally as important is what these folks believe, what their platforms are,” says Donna Williams, chair of the Wake County Republican Party. 

“If they did not align with the Wake County Republican Party belief, then they’re not going to get our endorsement,” Williams says, adding the party interviews each candidate and conducts background checks. 

Almost all of the local GOP’s endorsements align with those made by more extreme conservative groups. The Carolina Teachers Alliance (CTA), a new teachers association set up in opposition to the North Carolina Association of Educators, announced their picks for school board last month, which were the same as the GOP’s. 

Among the non-issues the CTA elevates are “parents rights,” “curriculum transparency,” and “removing (critical race theory) from the curriculum and teacher training.”

“Our (t)eachers need to have the freedom to teach patriotism and love of country, and should not be forced to deliver biased political indoctrination,” states the CTA website. 

Liberty First Grassroots, a conservative political action committee, also released endorsements for school board. The group’s endorsements were the same as the GOP’s except one. The candidate for District 6, Chad Stall, was not endorsed by Liberty First Grassroots. 

The group openly opposes gay marriage and “obscene” and “gender” books including “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” “Gender Queer,” and “George.”

One of the most stunning endorsements from the GOP was Michele Morrow in District 9, a candidate also endorsed by CTA and Liberty First Grassroots. Morrow is an adamant Trump supporter, conspiracy theorist, and anti-LGBTQ campaigner, per her posts on social media. In one video, she compares people in same-sex relationships to pedophiles and “sexual perverts,” says drag queens are “sexually confused” men who dress “like monsters,” and accuses them of preying on children. 

Here are the endorsements by the Wake County GOP (as well as by CTA):

District 1 – Cheryl Caulfield

District 2 – Monica Ruiz

District 3 – Wing Ng

District 4 – Becky Lew-Hobbs

District 5 – Jackie Boegel

District 6 – Chad Stall

District 7 – Jacob Arthur

District 8 – Steve Bergstrom

District 9 – Michele Morrow

The Democratic Endorsements

The Wake County Democratic Party also released its endorsements for the Wake County school board this month. The party is supporting every incumbent well as several Democratic candidates endorsed by incumbents who chose not to run again in November. 

“We look at each person individually,” says Kevyn Creech, chair of the Wake County Democratic Party. “We don’t accept pressure from groups that have particular viewpoints. A couple of people we endorsed were supported by outgoing incumbents. Do we take that under advisement? Yes. Does that make us pick someone over someone else? No.”

Creech went on to say that the candidates supported by the party are “truly diverse,” ranging from moderate to progressive. In a separate statement on social media, Creech wrote that the endorsed candidates are interested in supporting public schools unlike Republican candidates. 

“I remember when public school leadership was truly non-partisan…but the Tea Party takeover from 2009-2011 introduced rank partisanship and (the Wake County Public School System) began to re-segregate,” Creech wrote. 

“(The Wake County Democratic Party) could not stand idly by. Today’s rhetoric is even darker and more dangerous to our American Institutions for the Public Good. Our endorsed candidates stand for protecting our public schools—the institution that likely does the most for enfranchising our people and democratizing our country.”

Here are the endorsements by the Wake County Democratic Party:

District 1 – Ben Clapsaddle

District 2 – Monika Johnson-Hostler (incumbent)

District 3 – Doug Hammack 

District 4 – Tara Waters (incumbent)

District 5 – Lynn Edmonds

District 6 – Sam Hershey

District 7 – Chris Heagarty (incumbent)

District 8 – Lindsay Mahaffey (incumbent)

District 9 – Tyler Swanson

This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that Chad Stall was endorsed by the Wake County GOP and Carolina Teachers Alliance. 

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