Garrison confronts latest GOP attack ad

Oct. 20—HENDERSON — A new GOP mailer ad attacks North Carolina House Representative Terry Garrison on the grounds that he's an accused domestic abuser.

In December of 1994, Garrison's then-wife Deloris Jerman accused him of physical abuse, alleging in a complaint filed two days after the incident that he "picked me up and threw me across footboard onto bed, jumped on my back and starting choking me." She incurred a bruised shoulder and throat.

On Jan. 3, 1995, after the pair "reconciled differences," Jerman withdrew her complaint, according to another court document. The pair divorced in 1998 and now reportedly maintain a friendly relationship — they appeared together in an interview with Axios Raleigh last week.

"There was an incident — it was resolved by court dismissal in a friendly and amicable manner," Garrison told The Dispatch. "It was a personal matter that we resolved, so when we went to court we had an understanding."

When asked how he feels about the incident looking back, Garrison said, "Well, [that was] almost 30 years ago. We've moved on with our lives — and so we've lived really productive lives. That's how things happened and where we are."

"My focus now is continuing to do the best job I can to serve the citizens of District 32 and the great state of North Carolina," he said.

Garrison called the recent ad campaign "dirty politics" and "misinformation" meant to "confuse" and "mislead" the public. He said the Republicans' end goal is to pass legislation that would be "damaging to the public."

Early last month, the GOP accused Garrison of being a "slumlord" in another ad campaign.

"This was just the Republican Party continuing its antics of sensationalizing accusations as facts against Democratic candidates to gain control of the North Carolina General Assembly in the upcoming election," Garrison said.

A Republican official explained the rationale behind the ads.

"Voters deserve to know the character of the people on their ballots before they go to vote, and a history of domestic violence is certainly something a voter would want to know," N.C. House Republican Caucus Director Stephen Wiley said of the ad. "To our knowledge this incident had not been covered before, despite the severity of it."

The House Republicans website notes that "67% of voters said they would be less likely to vote for Terry Garrison after learning this. This is the most persuasive message to unaffiliateds, moderates, white unaffiliateds, and white men and women 18-54."