It’s a rule of thumb in elections: You can’t endorse candidates if you work in a state agency. When that candidate is on the school board who hired you and can fire you, that endorsement is clearly a conflict of interest. The 31st State Rep. District primary race has been a popcorn eating event for weeks now.
Enter Ralph Taylor, a Capital School District Board of Education member running for the 31st State Rep. seat against incumbent Sean Lynn for the Democratic ticket. Today, he posted the following on his Facebook page:
While Shelton does not come out and say “I endorse Ralph Taylor” it certainly comes across as an endorsement. Especially since it is two days before the Primary. The fact that the Capital Board of Education has allowed Taylor to use the microphone at board meetings to promote his campaign has not been ignored by attendees in the room. One attendee, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, said the following: “Taylor shouldn’t be using his seat on the board for political purposes. It gives the impression of vote for me or else.”
I wholeheartedly agree. Shelton’s short of a full endorsement definitely dances on that fine line between a reference letter and an endorsement. Is Shelton aware Taylor is using this as leverage in his campaign? I did ask the Taylor campaign on the Facebook post if this was an endorsement or a reference letter. The campaign responded it was “a note of support”. The campaign also asked if I was being “petty again”.
It is a given that district employees are not allowed to promote campaigns for school boards. The same is true for using state time to promote a candidate in elections. This is just weird.