10/27/04 — School candidate denies endorsement

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School candidate denies endorsement

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 27, 2004 2:01 PM

A candidate for state superintendent of public instruction says his name was used in a Wayne county school board candidate's advertisement without permission, and it did not constitute an endorsement.

In the latest advertisement for Joseph Hackett, running for the at-large seat on the school board, a handwritten note from Bill Fletcher was included.

Fletcher said he had sent the note "after having a 15-minute discussion on the sidewalk with this young man and he has apparently used that as though it was an endorsement for this race."

He said he had not agreed for his name to be used in the ad, nor had he endorsed Hackett.

"I have not endorsed any candidate in any school board race, especially in Wayne County," he said. "Had I been asked, I would have declined."

Fletcher, who lives in Cary, said Tuesday he became aware of his inclusion in the ad when he received a call from Hackett's opponent, incumbent board member and Chairman Pete Gurley. He said Gurley had received calls from people asking about the endorsement.

Hackett said he never considered the reference to Fletcher to be an endorsement.

"I'm not saying that he did endorse me," he said. "I did not say in the ad that he endorsed me. I just put something out there of what he said and what he said about me."

Hackett said he included Fletcher's comments because "it spoke to my character as a person, that I would be a blessing to the schools and the community."

Which, Fletcher says, is the same thing as an endorsement.

"It's clear," he said. "Why use somebody's name if there's not an endorsement?"

Fletcher said he was not upset or angry, but he also did not want people to be misled.

He said he had spoken with Hackett and shared his concerns about the matter.

"He told me he didn't think running the personal note to him was necessarily an endorsement," Fletcher said. "I asked that in the future, he ask permission before doing that."