State Republican Party Chairman Tom Fetzer has called Democratic House Majority leader Hugh Holliman and apologized if a recent GOP mailer caused he or his family any personal pain.
Fetzer said the two had a good conversation.
The state GOP had mailed out flyer into Holliman's district saying his support for the Racial Justice Act could allow death row inmates to “leave prison early in next door.”
A version of the flyer went into a number of Democratic house districts, but it was particularly sensitive in the case of Holliman, because his 16 year old daughter Suzi kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1985. Holliman witnessed the murderer's execution in 1998.
Fetzer said he did not realize that Holliman's daughter had been murdered.
Meanwhile, the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP has sent a letter to Fetzer demanding he repudiate what he called a racist and untruthful mailer.
“This mailer matched the low-point in racist election tactics in North Carolina, set by Jesse Helms' infamous 'white hands' ad, aired just a few days before election day to prevent any intelligent rebuttal,” Barber wrote,
He was referring to an ad in Helms 1990 Senate campaign against Democrat Harvey Gantt that accused Gantt of supporting affirmative action programs that denied white people of jobs.
Barber also noted that the ad is inaccurate because under the law passed in 2009, a death-row inmate who makes an appeal, if successful can only have his sentence change to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Racial Justice Act is designed to make it less likely that someone will be executed because of racial bias in the state's justice system. It allows judges to consider statistics and anecdotal trends of racial disparities in death sentences, as well as testimony, to change a death sentence to life in prison without parole.