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Commonwealth’s attorney candidate goes after attacks from opponent

Not true. Tracy Quackenbush Martin stood firm on the steps of the courthouse in Halifax Friday afternoon to “set the record straight” during a press conference she called to dispel “patently false” information disseminated by her opposition.  

“I am deeply disappointed that the type of negative attacks which plague our state governor’s race have reached our local politics, and in particular, the commonwealth’s attorney race.” 

She said she called the press conference after fliers were sent out to the public stating Martin does not have prosecution experience, she does not support the death penalty, and she is a liberal democrat. 

Martin says all these statements are false. 

While Martin does not have any lead prosecutorial experience, she does point to the time in which she interned for the U. S. Attorney’s Office while she was in law school in 1996. During this time she assisted with cases in the violent crime and white-collar crime divisions in Raleigh,  N.C.  

Martin pointed out that while this “may not be a huge point, it is a point to be made, and saying that she has zero experience is false.” 

Freshour has been the commonwealth’s attorney since August 2012. 

As stated in a previous Candidates Forum held for the public, Freshour said, “I have increased the number of charges prosecuted in circuit court by 43 percent and have increased the number of defendants prosecuted by 53 percent.” 

While having this experience, Martin claims the public has informed her they are “dissatisfied” with this experience. 

“My opponent touts his experience as the reason we should vote for him yet I have almost the entire population of people who have spoken to me complaining about the criminal justice system during his tenure. If he wants to take the credit for his experience of running that office, then he has to take responsibility for what the public sees that office doing,” said Martin during the press conference. 

During the Candidates Forums, each candidate also gave their opinion on the death penalty in which both said they were for the death penalty and would use in it in the appropriate case. 

“I do support the death penalty,” Martin reiterated at the press conference. 

“I have made this clear in print media, in private conversations and in public forums on multiple occasions. My opponent has been present when I have given this information, but he continues to circulate misinformation about me,” Martin added. 

 Freshour also has previously said he is a Republican, always has been and always will be. Martin has chosen to run as the Independent candidate in this race citing her reason as “politics has no place in the courtroom.” 

“I am neither a liberal Democrat nor a hard-line Republican. My husband and I always support the candidate we thought was best for the position,” said Martin. 

She also pointed out she and her husband have financially supported Delegate James Edmunds and Robert Hurt in the past. 

Lastly, Martin brought up an incident that occurred at the last Candidates Forum when the focus was turned to the recent raffle that Freshour attempted to conduct as a fundraiser using race tickets a supporter had provided his campaign.

Freshour called it an “honest mistake.” 

He also called into question Martin’s accountability citing a recent press release she had published in the newspaper about endorsements she had received.

“That article was prepared by her campaign. That article was submitted to the papers by her campaign. I called the State Board of Elections because I wanted to do the same thing, and I wanted to check and see if we had to have a disclaimer in there. And what do you know, the State Board of Elections said if you get an article because you pay for an ad, you have to have a disclaimer saying it was paid for and authorized by your campaign. But that did not appear in my opponent’s articles,” said Freshour at the forum. 

Since the forum, Martin said she has contacted Confidential Policy Adviser Nickie Shareden and Election Services Manager Chris Piper of the State Board of Elections. 

“I have studied the disclosure rules before the law enforcement article was submitted. I reviewed them again after my opponent accused me of failing to abide by them, and I contacted the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections staff has advised me that no such disclosure was required, and I have violated no disclosure rule,” said Martin. “Aside from a failure of my opponent to take accountability for his own actions, his claim about me was false.” 

Martin closed saying, “Before I decided to run for public office, I knew that it was an invitation to paint a target on my forehead, but I also expected a fairly high level of integrity, honesty and fairness in the campaign itself. I expected some attacks but different attacks that had to do with opinions of me. I’m absolutely skilled and experienced and have the heart of a public servant to serve as a public official with honesty and integrity.”