Black GOP state House candidate files cease-and-desist over fake mugshot ad

N.C. House District 73 GOP candidate Brian Echevarria and his family. Courtesy of Vote for Brian Echevarria - NC House, District 73 Facebook page.

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  • N.C. House District Democrat candidate accused of using false ads against her GOP opponent, Brian Echevarria,
  • The mailer and TV ads, falsely claim Echevarria was arrested and had a mugshot, while Diamond Staton-Williams was herself convicted of lying to a police officer.
  • Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper appears in the TV ad supporting Staton-Williams.

The Republican candidate running for the NC House District 73 seat in Cabarrus County has filed two cease-and-desist letters against his Democratic opponent and her campaign, accusing her of running false ads against him. 

The original mailer and current TV ad depict Brian Echevarria with a fake mug shot, accusing him of bouncing a check and declaring bankruptcy, “owing tens of thousands to small businesses.” The ad also shows Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper endorsing his opponent, Diamond Staton-Williams.

In an interview with Carolina Journal, Echevarria says that while it is true that he bounced a check in 1998, two years after graduating high school, he was never arrested. He filed for bankruptcy in 2010 but said he never left small businesses “holding the bag.”

“They just fabricated the story, the party of identity politics,” Echevarria told Carolina Journal. “It is amazing that they would choose these methods to soil the black man. They are the ones who are supposed to care about identity politics. The minute a black man became inconvenient, they used the worst racist stereotypes to attack him.”

Staton-Williams, a nurse and Harrisburg town council member, was herself convicted of lying to a police officer. She was also charged with simple assault, but a district attorney dismissed the charge. Reports say she was going to court Wednesday to file a restraining order against a poll worker for staring at her. 

Echevarria noted that this was the first time he mentioned an opponent in his campaign since he began running on Jan. 4, even after a contentious primary. He also said he needed to fight back after Cooper “put his credibility behind an outright fabricated photo.” He said he is disappointed that Cooper would do such a thing, but isn’t surprised.

“Cooper obviously lied to get elected in 2000, so it’s kind of like his thing, for Governor Cooper to get involved and put his credibility and weight behind that,” he said. “He kept Gene Boyce in court for 14 years before admitting that he stretched out the truth and wrote down a lie. This guy is a court-certified liar, and so is my opponent, who was found guilty of lying to a police officer.”

Echevarria said they wanted to make him look like a criminal before the truth came out about his opponent. 

He said the campaign is desperate and trying to buy their district, spending $360,000 on TV advertising against him this week and $60,000 on Election Day. 

“They would do anything to win, and I think the kind of money they’re putting into doing this proves that they don’t believe they will,” Echevarria said. “You don’t put this kind of money into a race you’re winning. I think they’re just going scorched earth, and they’re just taking their shot.”

Echevarria is a businessman, building contractor, and financial advisor. He said his campaign is aligned with the Republican vision for the country’s future because they are on the right side of family, faith, and freedom. The other vision, he said, is the polar opposite.

Carolina Journal reached out to Staton-Williams’ campaign for comment, but there was no response as of the publication of this article.