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Granville GOP calls for withdrawal

On June 27, the Granville County Board of Elections allowed, on technical grounds, for Chris Smoot to be placed on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for Granville County Sheriff. 

However, Smoot, who is currently the chief deputy sheriff for the Granville County Sheriff’s Office, admitted to illegally using the sheriff’s office to further his campaign. 

This admission came under oath at an elections board hearing held on June 24 and June 27. This is yet another black eye for the Granville County Sheriff’s Office. 

Under previous Democratic administrations, the former sheriff and several top deputies were charged with serious felonies. Mr. Smoot, while not charged in those cases, was a top deputy under that administration.

Smoots’ admissions of criminal behavior came after the leaders of the Granville County GOP filed a challenge about the number and validity of signatures, and the process used by Smoot to gather the necessary signatures to put him on the November 2022 general election ballot for sheriff. 

Among those concerns were serious allegations that Smoot misused his position as Chief Deputy Sheriff to pressure deputies and employees to sign his petition and to help with his campaign.

These concerns were confirmed at the June 24 hearing before the Granville County Board of Elections. Smoot admitted under oath he knowingly abused his position by misusing taxpayer funds and resources, and electioneered while on duty — all to help with his campaign. His testimony was that he knew it was illegal and did it anyway.

The Granville County GOP called on the board of elections to forward these admissions of Smoot’s illegal actions to both the NC State Board of Elections and the District Attorney’s Office.

“We are glad the truth of Mr. Smoot’s illegal actions related to his campaign has been brought to light,” said Granville GOP Chairman Chad McHenry. 

“In recent years, the Granville County Sheriff’s Office has suffered from a culture of corruption, one which Mr. Smoot has continued. The people of Granville County deserve honest law enforcement, but that will require new blood at the helm. We call on Mr. Smoot to do the right thing and abandon his candidacy and for the Granville County Democratic Party to join us in condemning Mr. Smoot’s conduct and requesting his withdrawal.”

The Granville GOP was represented by Boyd Sturges of the law firm Davis, Sturges & Tomlinson, Philip Thomas, who serves as chief counsel to the North Carolina Republican Party, and Kevin Cline of the firm Kevin Cline Law, PLLC.

Chad McHenry


Michael W. Magnanti