Breaking precedent the Guilford County Republican Party decided to get involved in the 2022 nonpartisan City Council election, but didn’t have much success.
Although the City Council elections are nonpartisan, it was well known that there wasn’t a single Republican on the City Council elected in 2017 which served until Aug. 11, 2022. In September 2021 Hugh Holston was appointed to fill a vacant at large seat on the City Council, but Holston is not a Republican.
In part because of the low voter turnout predicted in the unique July 26 City Council election, the Guilford County GOP saw a get-out-the-vote campaign as an opportunity to elect more Republicans to the City Council.
The effort which consisted mainly of two mailers and handouts at the polls didn’t have the desired effect and at least one Republican City Council candidate has been asking questions about the effort.
Former District 5 City Council candidate Tony Wilkins who was defeated by District 5 City Councilmember Tammi Thurm in the July 26 election, has been asking some questions about exactly what the Guilford County GOP did and has had difficulty getting answers.
On June 13 the Guilford County Republican Party Executive Committee voted to spend $12,000 on a get-out-the-vote campaign for Republican City Council candidates including Chris Meadows who at the same meeting announced he was running a write-in campaign for mayor.
The Republican City Council candidates who agreed to participate in the effort in addition to Meadows, At Large City Council candidate Katie Rossabi, District 4 City Council candidate Thurston Reeder and Wilkins all lost in the general election.
District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny who ran unopposed declined the offer to be included on the Guilford County GOP campaign material. Matheny is also the only Republican who won election to the City Council.
The first mailer sent out by the Guilford County GOP caused some controversy because while it was supposed to only be sent to Republicans registered to vote in Greensboro, it was sent to a number of Democrats and unaffiliated voters as well as voters who live in Guilford County but not in Greensboro.
While the Guilford County GOP picked up the cost of the campaign effort, the candidates who participated had to list a portion of that cost as a contribution on their campaign finance reports which led to some questions.
After the election, Wilkins noted that he did not receive the second GOP mailer and a number of Greensboro Republicans had contacted him and said they hadn’t received the second GOP mailer either. Wilkins asked the Guilford County GOP treasurer for the mail list and was referred to Meadows who along with being a write-in candidate was charged with handling the mailers for the Guilford County GOP. Meadows replied that he was too busy to send the mail list to Wilkins.
However, Chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party David Gleeson did send the second mail list to Wilkins and that list raised more questions.
Wilkins noted that he was not on the list and nor were a number of registered Republicans in Greensboro while some unaffiliated voters were as well as Guilford County voters who don’t live in Greensboro were on the list.
While serving on the City Council Wilkins became known for asking questions and continuing to ask them until he received answers.
Now that he has the list Wilkins wants to know who created it and why many Greensboro Republicans are not on it.