Roanoke County Board of Supervisors candidate Tom McCracken initially did not include a required disclaimer on his campaign signs and fliers, but he said Thursday that the situation is rectified.
Numerous people had complained about the Catawba District candidate not having a disclaimer citing who paid for his campaign signs and literature, according to the county Registrar’s Office.
Registrar Anna Cloeter said she’s received at least 20 phone calls, multiple emails and people coming into her office to complain about the legality of the campaign materials.
“I don’t believe that our office has reached out to him,” Cloeter wrote following a brief phone interview. “This is, in part, because we have no jurisdiction over campaign ads or signs, but also because we’ve been told by multiple voters over the past several weeks that they have already reached out to Mr. McCracken and/or the local party about the missing “authorized and paid or by” statements on his various campaign materials.”
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State law requires a “paid for by” tag followed by the name of the person or political committee responsible for the campaign materials to be displayed before it can be distributed.
McCracken said in a phone interview Thursday he has since purchased stickers he put on all of his campaign signs that state “Paid for by Tom McCracken,” and he has them for future fliers as well.
“It’s already been resolved. I was just unaware it needed to say ‘paid for by Tom McCracken,’” he said. “So every single sign out there has been fixed within 24 hours of me receiving that first complaint.”
McCracken announced his candidacy a little over a month ago, and signs for his campaign started appearing shortly thereafter.
Despite having run for a seat on the school board in 2015, McCracken said he wasn’t aware the disclaimer was required by law.
“When I ran for the school board, everything that went out on signs, door hangers, everything didn’t have anything other than Tom McCracken running for school board, just like I did this time,” he said. “I didn’t have any complaints … So I’ve remained ignorant of that specific issue … But again, I don’t really see much of a story here. I’m ignorant, didn’t know about it. Heard about it, and I fixed it. I don’t know what else I could do.”
McCracken won the 2015 race and began his term in 2016 before resigning approximately six months later.
The school board said in July 2016 McCracken may have violated state conflict of interest laws, a misdemeanor offense, by discussing with colleagues and school system employees a possible promotion for his wife, according to previous coverage by The Roanoke Times.
The allegation came a few days after McCracken’s attorney, Mel Williams, sent the board a letter saying his client had been coerced to resign his seat, because colleagues threatened to block his wife’s promotion by abstaining from any votes on the move if he remained on the board, according to previous coverage.
McCracken ultimately did not run again for his seat in the special election held to fill his vacancy, nor did he end up suing the school system.
McCracken is set to face off against fellow Republican and incumbent Martha Hooker in the GOP primary on June 20.
When asked about the signs earlier this week, Hooker said she’d “noticed” the signs missing the disclaimer, but did not offer any further comment.
The Virginia Department of Elections has yet to respond to multiple requests for comment regarding McCracken’s campaign materials.
Virginia’s code on requirements for print media advertisements sponsored by a person or political committee can be found on the state’s election website.