COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The race for a local judgeship has turned personal.
A mailer sent out in the last few days by District Judge Sherry Dew Prince accuses her challenger Willie “Fred” Gore of being “A liberal Democrat to the core.” The mailer also points out former state Sen. R.C. Soles donated $500 to Gore, but Gore says he gave the money back.
Both Gore and Prince recently changed their political affiliations from Democrat to Republican ahead of their non-partisan race for Prince’s District Court seat in the 13th Judicial District, which includes Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties. Prince was once Soles’s law partner. She was appointed to her position by former Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.
Gore tells WWAY Soles did donate $500 to him in November 2013. Gore says nine days later, after he saw a record of the donation, he returned the money to Soles. Campaign finance records confirm the refund.
“It just wasn’t appropriate,” said Gore, who is an assistant district attorney in the 13th District. “I’ve prosecuted individuals who were associated with (Soles).”
Gore says he was the prosecutor who got a conviction against Allen “Frog” Strickland, who has close ties to Soles.
Gore also says Prince, who used to be the head of the Columbus County Democratic Party, has not shed her liberal roots. He shared with WWAY a link to records on the state Board of Elections website. The link is to a document filed in 2009 that shows if Judge Prince were to die with money still in her campaign coffers, it would all go to the Columbus County Democratic Party. According to the Board of Elections website, Prince has not submitted an update to that form in the five years since.
Prince did not immediately return a call for comment.
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