Mecklenburg Republicans are accusing a District judge of deceiving voters by claiming to have been endorsed by "leading Republicans."
Judge Tim Smith, a Democrat, sent Republicans and unaffiliated voters thousands of fliers headlined, "Why do leading Republicans believe Judge Tim Smith is the right choice?"
"The mailer was clearly meant to deceive Republican voters into believing that Tim Smith has the support of the Republican Party and conservative leaders across Mecklenburg County," the party said in a statement. "This is simply not true."
Though judicial races are nominally non-partisan, both parties are promoting their own candidates. Mecklenburg Republicans support Smith's opponent, Matt Osman.
GOP vice chair Claire Mahoney said she's concerned about the party being associated with Smith "in any shape, manner or form." Smith, elected in 2006, has been reprimanded twice by the Judicial Standards Commission.
"There really wasn't an intent to mislead anyone," Smith said. 'They can go to my Web site and see the list of supporters I have, and if they have time they can pull up the registrations of the nearly 1,000 on there and they'll find that a lot of them are Republicans."
Asked who among them would be considered "leading Republicans," Smith named several supporters, none of whom are well-known Republicans. The most prominent former Republican among his endorsers is one-time Charlotte Mayor Eddie Knox, who is now unaffiliated.
"They're are some leading Republicans who support me," Smith said, "but who prefer to remain anonymous."