BY CASH MICHAELS OF THE WILMINGTON JOURNAL
First, there was evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in North Carolina, when a Russian-backed “Black” group attempted to exploit a fatal police shooting in Charlotte to suppress the Black youth vote.
Now, the “Linda Coleman for Congress” campaign for the Second Congressional District is alleging that there was Russian meddling again, this time targeting her 2016 campaign for lieutenant governor.
“…[S]taffers for the Linda Coleman for Congress campaign discovered that the domain name for Ms. Coleman’s Lieutenant Governor campaign website, LindaforNC.com, was recently purchased by a Russian citizen,” the campaign said in a March 7 press release. “We believe that this serves as further evidence that there is significant efforts by foreign entities to significantly influence our electoral processes and interfere with our democracy.”
On Friday, Ms. Coleman, a former NC House member and chair of the Wake County Commissioners, who lost the 2016 race for lt. governor by a slim margin, held a press conference to make clear that her campaign has already been in touch with the FBI, State Board of Elections and the NC Attorney General’s Office.
“Underhanded and deceptive strategies like this one only thrive when people choose not to speak out about what they see before them,” she said.
The NC Democratic Party says it’s not aware of any other campaign in the Carolina that may have been affected by alleged Russian meddling.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NC Republican Party, was markedly dismissive about Coleman’s claim, telling a local Raleigh television station, “Seems like they should direct these questions to the Clinton Campaign and the DNC, since they were conspiring with the Russians.”
Ms. Coleman is vying to become the third African-American to represent North Carolina in Congress, hoping to join Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) if she’s victorious during the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
In the Democratic primary, Coleman faces Gregory Chesser, Kenneth Romley, Japeth Matemu, and Wendy May.
The winner of that primary will face Republican incumbent George Holding in November.
Last month, Derrick Johnson, pres./CEO of the national NAACP, in a Feb. 20thstatement, called for “…a complete investigation” into allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
“It’s just as important that we also call for a thorough assessment of our election system to determine any potential weaknesses that could allow for the suppression or interference of votes during the upcoming midterm elections.”
Johnson continued, “The midterm elections have the potential to shift the entire balance of power in Congress, and it remains critical that the integrity of the voting process cannot be questioned,” later adding, ““It is clear that the Black vote has been targeted by both internal and external forces, and the NAACP is committed to challenging any attempt to reduce or diminish the political power of the African-American community, communities of color and the nation as a whole.”