Elections

Durham County sheriff disavows racially charged Facebook post on election day

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews  has been criticized for his response to ICE holds.
Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews has been criticized for his response to ICE holds. tlong@newsobserver.com

Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews' campaign has taken down a Facebook post that some community members say appeared to endorse a supporter's racist views.

A man posted a comment on the campaign's Facebook page that said:

“Durham County you better not apathetically sit home on your tails tomorrow … as city block [sic] voters immigrants and minorities will flock to the polls. Then the city special interests will vote out the old … and man … you won’t’ like the ethic [sic] take over new!”

The Facebook page Re-elect Sheriff Mike Andrews for Durham County Sheriff responded, “Amen Bobby!”

The man responded “good luck.”

On Tuesday, Andrews denounced the post.

“I do not agree with it in any form or fashion,” he said.

Andrews learned about the post Tuesday morning and had it taken down, he said.

Andrews said one of the page’s moderators who was supposed to schedule events posted the "Amen" comment. The person, one of three moderators on the page including Andrews, wasn’t supposed to be commenting on posts, the sheriff said, and is no longer a moderator or part of the campaign.

Andrews said the post is embarrassing and disappointing considering he has tried to run a clean campaign and it doesn’t reflect his values.

Although the post was deleted, people widely shared a screenshot of the post on social media.

"Team Andrews dropped the dog whistles and has now gone full racist bullhorn," wrote one person commenting on a Facebook post that was shared more than 100 times.

Morrisville Police Chief Patrice Andrews wrote a Facebook post on the re-elect Andrews page saying she was withdrawing her support.

"I believe in accountability for those that you charge with the most important aspects of your professional and personal life. This came across my feed today," she wrote, sharing a screenshot of the deleted post. "What is most disheartening is the response from the moderator on this page supporting this person’s overtly racist and discriminating message. I believe in diversity and inclusiveness. This does not reflect my values and therefore I am removing my endorsement for re-election."

Andrews faces challenger Clarence Birkhead in today's Democratic primary for sheriff. There are no Republican candidates, meaning today's winner will likely be the next sheriff.

The post comes on the last day in an election in which public support for Andrews was already waning compared to the 2014 election.

In 2014, Andrews — who was challenged by Birkhead and another — was endorsed by the Durham People's Alliance Political Action Committee and the Friends of Durham — two of the city's three main political actions committees. This year those two PACs joined the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People in endorsing Birkhead.

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Virginia Bridges: 919-829-8924, @virginiabridges
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