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Campaign fundraiser halted after learning State Code guidelines prohibits raffles

Halifax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Freshour said Thursday he immediately suspended a campaign fundraiser last week after learning it did not comply with State Board of Elections guidelines.

In a news release Thursday afternoon, Freshour explained the timeline and reasoning for his campaign’s decision to halt further fundraising efforts using race tickets to the Oct. 26 truck race in Martinsville that had been donated to his campaign.

 “My campaign committee decided to use the tickets to raise funds for the campaign,” Freshour said. 

His campaign ran an advertisement notifying the public of the raffle in the Friday, Sept. 27, edition of The Gazette-Virginian.

“Last week it came to my attention that the method my campaign was using may not be acceptable according to the Virginia State Board of Elections guidelines,” Freshour said.  

Virginia State Code prohibits political campaigns from using such fundraising methods.

“I immediately made contact with the State Board of Elections and fully disclosed all details of my campaign’s efforts regarding the race tickets.  The State Board of Elections informed me that the method my campaign was using did not fit within the board’s guidelines for raising campaign funds and that my campaign would have to return any funds collected regarding the race tickets,” the Republican candidate said.  

“I and my campaign fully cooperated with the State Board of Elections, and all funds are being returned to those who made donations,” Freshour said.  

According to the representative from the State Board of Elections Freshour said he spoke with Wednesday, “the board is fully satisfied with the way in which I responded to this situation and indicated my campaign is in good standing,” the candidate said.

The interim commonwealth’s attorney said he was confronted by a television news reporter Wednesday afternoon about his decision to suspend the fundraiser.

“Wednesday afternoon, after more than an hour trying a case in circuit court, upon exiting the courthouse, I was blocked by a person with a microphone followed by a cameraman,” Freshour said.  

“This person never approached me beforehand and never indicated to me what the purpose of the questions were before filming.  

“Unfortunately, the ‘report’ filed by this person was full of conjecture but lacking in facts,” Freshour claimed.  

“The State Board of Elections has indicated to me it is satisfied with the way in which I handled this situation, and in fact, the situation was resolved prior to Wednesday,” he added.

However, none of this was included in the report that aired, he further stated.  

“Additionally, the fact that I made full disclosure to the State Board of Elections and fully cooperated with the board to resolve the situation was also not part of the report,” Freshour stated in the release Thursday.

Freshour, who has served as interim commonwealth’s attorney since being sworn in August 2012 after Kim White was appointed judge of the 10th judicial circuit, is seeking the post in the Nov. 5 election. 

He faces opposition from Independent candidate Tracy Quackenbush Martin.