NC congressional candidate warns of Russian meddling on her campaign

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Former Wake County Commissioner Linda Coleman is sounding the alarm on alleged Russian meddling in her campaign for office.

"I am a firm believer in see something, say something," Coleman said.

Coleman, a Democrat who is running for Congress in House District 2, said this week her staff learned about the alleged meddling after doing a Google search for her name. Coleman said that the site administrator sold her old website to someone from Russia.

The site in question is an old site from her lost 2016 bid for Lieutenant Governor.

"Underhanded and deceptive strategies like this one only thrive when people choose not to speak out about what they see before them," she said.

But when users click on one of the links on Coleman's site - it reveals a page written in a foreign language promoting pills for male sexual enhancement.

ABC11 contacted MVAR Media, which appeared to be the site's manager, about Coleman's concerns.

"MVAR Media does not work for Linda Coleman and we do not manage that website," the company said in response. "We can't speak to why she allowed her domain name to expire. The version of the site up now appears to be a copy obtained from of an old website we created for her 2016 Lieutenant Governor's campaign."

Coleman is running against at least five candidates for the second district.

They include:

Gregory Chesser, George Holding (the Republican incumbent), Kenneth Romley, Japheth Matemu, and Wendy May.

Romley's campaign is dismissive of Coleman's claims.

"This isn't a hacker. This is a Cialis ad," said Thomas Mills, a consultant to the Romley for Congress campaign. "If Ms. Coleman can't remember to renew her web domain, I'm not sure we should trust her to protect us from hackers or Russian campaign meddling."

Romley, like Coleman, is a Democrat.

Coleman says she was not aware the old site for her Lt. Governor campaign still existed.

"I let it lapse because I started running for Congress. And I no longer needed that domain," she explained.

Coleman said she contacted the FBI, State Board of Elections and the Department of Justice about the matter.

In a statement to ABC11, the DOJ said:

"The Attorney General continues to be very concerned about Russian meddling in U.S. elections. He is working with partners at every level of government to address Russian meddling in our elections."

The NC Democratic Party said it is not aware of any candidates dealing with this issue.

Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the NC GOP said this about the allegations of Russian meddling:

"Seems like they should direct these questions to the Clinton Campaign and the DNC, since they were conspiring with the Russians."
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