HUNTERSVILLE – Ron Julian has seen more negative campaigning this year than in any of his three previous runs for town commissioner.
Fellow commissioner and candidate Danny Phillips believes it’s worse now than it’s ever been.
Websites including www.therealdannyphillips.com – a site made by “A Concerned Citizen” attacking Phillips’ credibility as a commissioner – and advertisements blasting commissioners and mayoral candidates’ qualifications have sullied what promises to be a close race for seats on Huntersville’s dais, Julian said.
“This year has been the most negative campaign season I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I don’t have any problem with people running ads that use factual information, but some of what is out there is not factual.”
The cause of all the attacks isn’t fully known, but both believe it’s worse than expected heading into the Nov. 5 election.
“It’s what political races have come to,” Julian said. “It started at the federal level and worked its way down. It’s been tremendously negative. Every person who is voting should research candidates’ backgrounds, their criminal histories and decide who is fit for the job.”
Phillips said he’s no stranger to being talked about in a negative manner. He said he doesn’t pay attention to the anti-Phillips site – which also lambasts fellow town board candidates Charles Guignard and Rob Kidwell, as well as mayoral candidate Jim Puckett.
“All that stuff is old news. I’m focused on the issues,” Phillips said. “You can’t let things like that bother you when you’re in a campaign, because it happens. When I first considered going into town politics, I sat down with my family and we decided we were doing it for the right reasons.”
The attacks aren’t limited to Huntersville. A quick trip down West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius yields signs saying to “re-hire” commissioner John Bradford, alongside those saying to “fire” Bradford.
Advertisements denouncing Julian, fellow commissioner Sarah McAulay and incumbent mayor Jill Swain are also out there, Julian acknowledged.
“Part of what has gotten people to be so opinionated is the widening (Interstate 77) issue,” he said.