Cooper dodges questions about adviser’s support of Jennifer Roberts in heated mayoral primary

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Governor Roy Cooper refused to answer questions prompted by a fundraiser for Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts being hosted by one of his top advisers in Raleigh Thursday night.

Roberts will be in Raleigh for a fundraiser where donors are being asked to contribute between $250 and $5,200 to attend.

Roberts is running for a second term as mayor. She is being challenged for her party's nomination by Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles and State Senator Joel Ford. Councilman Kenny Smith, a Republican, has also thrown his hat in the ring for his party's nomination.

Listed among the hosts of the dinner is Ken Eudy, senior adviser to Roy Cooper.

On Thursday, Cooper demurred when asked whether it was appropriate for a senior member of his staff in the Governor's Office to be raising money for one of three candidates running in the Democratic Party primary for mayor of Charlotte.

"You know, I think people are free to support who they want to support," Cooper said.

But when asked whether Eudy's support of Roberts should be taken as an endorsement from the Governor's Office, Cooper refused to answer the question.

"What we've got to do right now is work on repealing House Bill 2 and get this legislature moving in the right direction," Cooper said in response to a question specifically about whether Eudy's fundraising for Roberts should be interpreted as an endorsement from his office.

Cooper continued his refusal to answer the question even after a reporter continued to try to get a 'yes' or 'no.'

"So, should that be taken, or shouldn't be taken, as your endorsement of Jennifer Roberts?" the reporter asked.

"What I want to do is repeal House Bill 2 and get that done first and then we can go to the next one," Cooper said.

"Sir, it's a year or no. Do you or do you not? Should we or should we not take that as an endorsement of Jennifer Roberts?" the reporter continued.

"I answered your question," Cooper responded as he ended the media availability.

A spokesman for Roberts' campaign declined to comment directly on Eudy support or Cooper's refusal to answer WBTV's questions but said the mayor is honored to have support from donors both in Charlotte and across the state.

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