Comments to local African-American newspaper come after editorial criticizing leader's conservative streak
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections said in a recent email to a local newspaper that relationships between two men are among the “most debased things in our society.”
Board of Elections Chair Ken Raymond’s comments came in a letter to The Winston-Salem Chronicle, a local African-American community newspaper, which had criticized Raymond for his conservative views and actions as board of elections chair. Raymond, a Republican, chairs the GOP-controlled county board.
In a December editorial, The Chronicle quipped that Raymond “would be the result if Allen West and Herman Cain could produce a lovechild.”
Raymond unleashed a volley of attacks against the newspaper in response.
“I’m a love-child produced by two men?” Raymond wrote in an email. “Is this is [sic] what you call thoughtful and insightful commentary? This statement is extremely crude and unprofessional. In fact, that concept only leads your readers to think about some of the most debased things in our society.”
Raymond continued, “Apparently, the Chronicle has reduced itself to a mockery of a newspaper. That’s the only possible reason why its editor referred to the chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections as ‘a love child produced by two men.’ And its [sic] the only possible reason why the editor is allowed to publish any disgusting thought that enters his mind.”
Despite Raymond’s objections, The Chronicle stood by their original editorial, writing last week, “It is clear that Raymond has a bloated sense of self-importance, but in reality, few know anything about him. Our reference – quite clear to anyone with at least a fifth-grade education – explained, in a nutshell, the kind of blowhard Raymond is to the many, many, many who know nothing about this man who is desperate to use his position as chairman of the Forsyth County Board of Elections to make a name for himself. He clearly is a mashup of Cain, West and all the other black Republicans who talk a lot but say very little. We don’t know exactly what Raymond took the reference to mean.”
But, Chad Nance, editor of the local news website Camel City Dispatch, thinks he knows exactly what Raymond meant, and called Raymond out for his “homophobia laced rant” on Sunday.
Nance told qnotes that The Chronicle‘s response to Raymond’s actions is reflective of the feeling in the local African-American community and the larger Forsyth County community.
“Raymond is a perennial candidate, a Republican partisan activist and many in the African-American community see his selection [as elections chair] as an attempt to fool them as [Republicans] instituted voter suppression,” Nance said.
Raymond has attempted to place armed sheriff’s deputies in local polling places, among other controversial moves including questioning a polling place on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. Other Republican-controlled election boards have also attacked student voting across the state, including at Appalachian State University and Elizabeth City State University.
According to Nance, Raymond has also been working with the Art Pope-backed Civitas Institute to have Forsyth County Elections Director Rob Coffman fired. Coffman has blocked several of Raymond’s questionable proposals.
“As a journalist,” Nance said, “it’s challenging to write about someone like Raymond. If you include all the facts about the situation, there is no way to make it look like you’re not writing an editorial, because the situation is so absurd.”
Nance added, “Raymond clearly doesn’t have the self-control or discipline to be a public official. He’s becoming a little unhinged.”
qnotes contacted Raymond for comment via telephone and email. Those messages had not been returned by Monday morning.