Rex Gore says he has taken steps to correct what caused him to stumble off the blocks in his bid to be re-elected as the district attorney for Brunswick, Columbus and Bladen counties.
An announcement of his plan to run again was e-mailed to the media last week from his executive assistant's office computer, possibly in violation of state election law.
The issue has been referred to the State Board of Elections lawyer for an answer, according to Johnnie McLean Deputy Director for the state board.
No one is saying that Gore deliberately used public resources for partisan politics, but his announced Democratic primary opponent said it shows that Gore's office cannot separate campaigning from the day-to-day work of the district attorney's office.
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"I don't know that it's understandable for someone who's been in office for 26 years," said Butch Pope, a Columbus County attorney who said he will file next week to run against Gore in the May 4 Democratic primary.
Gore said Thursday he received an e-mail transmission from the state board's lawyer that indicated that the action might be considered a violation.
Gore said he thought of the announcement of his candidacy as just another press release like others his office sends to the media. It didn't ask for votes, he said, and gave no contact information where supporters could join his campaign.
But he knows that it could be considered a violation of state election laws if someone wants to press the issue.
Gore said he realized the error early this week and contacted the State Board of Elections to let officials there know what happened.
The state board investigates and rules on elections violations reported to local boards of election.
Gore said he has told his staff to be extra careful not to mix his campaigning with their office work. He said he has also taken a personal computer to the office so he personally can send campaign information out on that, if necessary.
"We're satisfied this won't happen again," Gore said.