North Carolina’s primary is less than three weeks away. It’s Super Tuesday and former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg will be on primary ballots for the first time. He’s been spending big on TV ads in North Carolina.
Recently his campaign mailed letters to people, criticizing President Donald Trump for creating chaos while in office, and asked for people’s vote. It included this phrase, "North Carolina election law allows all registered voters, regardless of registration to vote in the Democratic primary."
WRAL’s Paul Specht joins us now to assess this.
Lisa Worf: Clearly this is not true. If you’re a registered Republican, you can’t vote in the Democratic primary in North Carolina. So what happened here?
Paul Specht: You know, we asked the Bloomberg campaign that question and they didn't really give us a straight answer. But one could probably assume that this is a form letter of some sort that is sent out to lots of voters and that they just got it wrong.
Worf: Maybe mistaking us for South Carolina?
Specht: Maybe so, which is a huge ... That's a capital offense here in North Carolina.
Worf: Indeed. So do we know how many people received this mailer?
Specht: They wouldn't tell us that, either. And we did reach out asking for specifics on the number of people it went to, the kind of voters that it went to and things like that. And the campaign said that they targeted Democrats and unaffiliated voters. But we received this letter from someone who is a Libertarian. So it's also possible that it was sent to other political parties as well.
Worf: How is the campaign going to rectify this situation?
Specht: By the time we reached out to them they said they were already in the process of generating new letters with correct information on them. And they said that those letters were sent out -- or resent -- to people last week.
Worf: Let's look at primary voting in North Carolina. What is the rundown here? Who can vote in this Democratic primary?
Specht: If you would like to vote in the Democratic primary, you have to be registered as a Democrat or as an unaffiliated voter. And that's it.
Worf: And it's a semi-closed primary. What does that mean?
Specht: This is something that I learned through this fact-check. I've lived here all my life and did not know that the parties here in North Carolina have to agree, I guess amongst each other in their party leadership, to open their primaries to unaffiliated voters. Now, it is common practice for the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party to open up their primaries to unaffiliated voters. And they all do. And they all are in this election.
Worf: And this is a decision they have to make every primary, right?
Specht: That's right. Before the 1st of December. They have to let the state board of election know whatever their decision is.
Worf: That's Paul Specht of WRAL. Thanks, Paul.