Turner campaign fined after missing finance report

Gay former candidate also owes former manager $1,000, declines comment on state fine, campaign reports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The campaign of a former candidate for state Senate has been fined by the state board of elections and faces termination of his campaign committee’s active status after failing to properly file a second quarter report due last July. Reports also indicate he owes his former campaign manager $1,000 in fees.

Ty Turner was among only a small handful of openly gay candidates who attempted to gain a seat in the state’s legislature last year. He ran in a crowded spring Democratic primary for the state Senate’s District 40 seat and carried only 6 percent of the vote.

His campaign was due to file a second quarter campaign finance report by July 10, which they did. The report, however, was improperly completed, missing a form that tracks expenditures of the campaign.

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When contacted Sunday, Ashlei Blue, Turner’s former campaign manager and treasurer, acknowledged mistakenly filing the report.

“It was a lesson learned,” said Blue, who began a start-up campaign management and consulting firm of her own. “I learned I cannot be a treasurer and a campaign manager at the same time.”

She said Sunday she’ll be working to get the corrected form to the state board of elections as soon as she can.

“I’m going to go ahead and file that,” she added. “I don’t want to leave him in bad shape. I’m going to complete my half.”

But Blue also confirmed information in one of Turner’s campaign reports, which show the campaign owes her $1,000. Blue said she donated $5,000 worth of work in-kind. The total amount due, Blue said, would likely top $1,000 once interest is added.

Turner declined on Sunday to answer several questions regarding his campaign reports and the campaign debt.

“[D]o not contact me again…thanks!” Turner wrote in response to questions. When asked if that was his official comment, Turner replied, “It is thanks!”

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It’s not clear how Turner will resolve the $500 state fine, his campaign debt or the possible termination of his campaign committee. It’s also not clear if Turner has raised money or spent money anytime after the second quarter report was due. If his campaign committee is made inactive, Turner would be unable to raise or spend any money.

Turner has until Feb. 28 to pay the $500 fine, or it will be forwarded to the state attorney general’s office for collection. He and Blue have until this Wednesday, Feb. 18, to file an amended and complete second quarter report.

Rumors have recently circulated among local Democratic Party circles that Turner might again attempt to run for a local or state office.

Blue has also heard those rumors, and, if that’s true, said Turner needs to prioritize finding a treasurer. She considered her work with him done after the campaign, especially considering the outstanding fees owed.

“If he’s going to continue to do that, finding a treasurer is the most important thing,” she said. “You’ve got to find somebody reliable and who can do the job. You don’t want to have money problems. Hopefully, that is on the top of his to-do list.”

Turner currently serves on Mecklenburg County’s Domestic Violence Advisory Board. He had a run-in last September with local police, who arrested him for leafleting after a progressive protest event. Turner and police officials shared differing versions of the events which led to his arrest.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.