Network hosting third gubernatorial debate financially supports Cooper campaign

President of Capitol Broadcasting Company, parent company of WRAL, has made maximum contributions to Cooper, raising questions of impartiality

Gerry Broome—AP
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Roy Cooper

RALEIGH — Hours before Tuesday’s televised gubernatorial debate on WRAL,the campaign of incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory is drawing attention to the network’s financial support of Roy Cooper’s campaign for governor.According to campaign finance reports, WRAL’s owner, Jim Goodmon, CEO and President of WRAL parent company Capitol Broadcasting Company, and his family members have contributed nearly $37,000 to his political campaigns since Cooper’s first bid for attorney general 16 years ago. During his campaign for governor, they have directly contributed $32,700, even going as far as hosting fundraisers for Cooper.Those contributions qualify Goodmon as “max out” supporter of the Cooper campaign, raising questions about his network’s impartiality in coverage of the tight race for governor. However, while making the maximum contributions as an individual, the support for Cooper and other left-leaning political organizations by Goodmon reaches even further.Goodmon, and four family members, sit on the board of the non-profit A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which, according to filings, has contributed $1.7 million to Blue Print NC, a left-leaning political activist group. A 2013 memo outlining Blue Print NC’s legislative strategy document plans to “Eviscerate” McCrory and to weaken Republican leadership’s ability to govern. The leaked memo emerged as McCrory took office as the first Republican governor since the 1980s, paired with a Republican majority in the General Assembly for the first time in more than 100 years.Tuesday evening’s debate, the third such offering for candidates to appeal to voters, comes on the heels of an October 11 debate in which the candidates sparred over H.B. 2, the economy, and leadership.