Republicans upset by Nelms’ campaign signs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Republican leaders say the campaign signs that former state Del. Robert E. Nelms, a candidate for clerk of Suffolk Circuit Court, has posted throughout the city are deliberately &uot;misleading&uot; to voters.

Wording on the red, white and blue signs – &uot;Nelms: Republican for Clerk of Circuit Court&uot; – can easily and erroneously lead voters to conclude that the Suffolk Republican Party is endorsing him, said Stephen Trent, party chairman. The signs do not specifically say the party is supporting him.

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In May, the Suffolk Republican Party voted to put its support and financial backing behind Republican candidate, T. Kirk Pretlow.

&uot;If it is not an integrity violation, it certainly is unethical,&uot; said Trent. &uot;…It’s not fair to Mr. Pretlow.

&uot;…We’d really like to see him pull these things (signs) off the street.&uot;

In 1992, Nelms was elected to the state House of Delegates on a Republican ticket. He opted not to seek re-election in 1996.

Shawn M. Smith, spokesman for the Republican Party of Virginia, reiterated Trent’s comments.

&uot;While Mr. Nelms has been supported by Republicans in the past, he currently is not the nominee of our party,&uot; said Smith.

&uot;Mr. Nelms does not have the support or endorsement of the Republican Party.

&uot;It is very important that voters know that Kirk Pretlow is the true Republican nominee.&uot;

Efforts to reach Nelms and Pretlow late Friday were unsuccessful.