So, it turns out Brian Turner, the Democratic challenger to North Carolina Rep. Tim Moffitt (R-116), recorded a phone call he made to Republican Buncombe County Commissioner David King.
(Rep. Tim Moffitt) (Brian Turner)
Democrat Brian Turner says he never told a county commissioner he was trying to help his campaign in making a bribery allegation against Republican state Rep. Tim Moffitt — and Turner says he has a recording proving that.
Turner provided the recording after King gave a sworn affidavit to the NC Board of Elections wherein he stated:
"On March 5, 2014, I heard rumors that Brian Turner was claiming that Representative Moffitt tried to bribe him with a job and threatened him. I called Brian Turner on the morning of March 9, 2014, and asked him why he was saying such things, which did not happen. In response, Brian Turner said "It is good for my campaign."
When revealing the audio recording, Turner denied that he said that.
However, beginning at the 17:27 mark in the audio, Turner said:
"I'm running to win. And Tim asked me not use certain things from that conversation in my campaign - and I won't. But, I'm not going to sit by and say, 'Well, I've got a two-term incumbent who wants to be Speaker of the House, who asked me to withdraw, who implied I might be able to get a job at UNC-TV, and if I stayed on the ballot I'm going to get destroyed by outside groups.
Those are things that were said. Those are things that, politically, can be advantageous to me in my campaign."
King offered no reply to this statement.
So, while it appears he got Turner's exact language wrong, the recording tends to supports King's statement about what Turner told him.
However, the recording does not support King's claim that Turner's response came when King asked him "...why he was saying such things, which did not happen."
(Commissioner David King)
King pushed back on Turner's claims
Although David King didn't directly ask Brian Turner why he was "saying such things," he did challenge Turner on his account of what Rep. Moffitt said at the meeting about the UNC-TV job and moving the UNC-TV operations to Asheville.
Turner said, "I guess I just wasn't prepared for the barrage. The 'I want you to withdraw.' The 'Hey, why don't we move UNC-TV to Asheville to give you something to do.' It's like, I've got a --"
King interrupted, "Well, he didn't say move it to Asheville. I just jokingly said to him, 'I'd like to have that here.'"
"Yeah, and he said, 'We can make that happen,'" replied Turner.
"No, he said you've got to get the Board of Governors to do that," King said.
(This conversation occurred at around 14:30 mark in the recording.)
Earlier in the conversation, King also disagreed with Turner about how he interpreted the UNC-TV discussion.
"The biggest concern that I had was when he started dangling UNC-TV out there," said Turner.
"I think what he meant when said that was that if you want to serve the state - and I thought he made reference to the fact that you have a TV background - go work for UNC-TV. And I jokingly said, 'Can we get that up here?'" King replied.
King went on to say, "I knew better than that, and he said, 'Yeah, if you can get the Board of Governors to move it.' I thought he meant - rather than run against him, maybe you should go manage UNC-TV."
Turner responded that he left "the service of the state" in order to run for the NC House against Moffitt.
Turner previously worked at UNC-Asheville.
(This conversation occurred at around 4:25 mark in the recording.)
"I hate politics. I hate the whole political thing."
Repeatedly and throughout the conversation King expressed his wish that Turner would drop the matter.
"I hope y'all can get this behind you and go ahead and start slugging it out for the office," King said.
Turner laughed and replied, "Let's get past this so we can move on to the real fight."
Earlier, King told Turner he hated that his effort to facilitate the lunch meeting between Turner and Moffitt had blown up like this, and said, "I hate politics. I hate the whole political thing."
Turner acknowledged that had Tim Moffitt been a fellow Democrat, his comments might not have struck him the same way.
"If [Democratic State Rep.] Susan Fisher had sat me down and said some of those things, I probably wouldn't have taken it in the same context because she's a member of my party," said Turner.
Turner wrapped up the conversation by stressing that he had no ill will towards King. Ne never told King he was recording the call.
Turner said, "You're still good in my book." He went on to call King his friend and noted twice how King had a primary he should be worrying about.
Turner said he didn't want King to "have to worry about this anymore" and concluded with saying, "I still think you're a good, solid man. And come November, whatever happens, I'd still like to count you among my friends."
King is heard on the tape taking a slow, deep breath before replying, "Whatever happens, I will still be among your friends."