Man behind Raleigh ‘Drunk Town’ ads files complaint with board of elections

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Those behind the recent so-called “Drunk Town” ads filed a complaint with the Wake County Board of Elections Monday afternoon.

The person behind the ads, which first popped up in The News & Observer, feels Raleigh is turning into a “Drunk Town,” with too much noise created by bars and clubs.

The ad showed a man who appeared drunk, leaning on a telephone pole.

Dean Debnam and his political action committee, Wake Citizens for Good Government, filed an official complaint with the board of elections Monday. Debnam claims that five Raleigh City Council members have been campaigning illegally at various bars and restaurants that are part of the group “Keep Raleigh Vibrant,” the same group that has endorsed the candidates for city council.

“I was concerned about the activities of the people who were campaigning downtown. I believe there’s been some coordination and there’s been some illegal expenditures, [or] at least expenditures that haven’t been reported,” Debnam said.

Five council members are named in the complaint along with Keep Raleigh Vibrant, which was started by local business owner Zach Medford.

“It’s a publicity stunt and it’s frustrating that they’re doing this kind of antics to detract from the fact that young people are getting excited about the election and they’re going out and they’re actually voting,” said Medford.

Keep Raleigh Vibrant has been around since June and has more than 2,500 likes on Facebook.

The group also endorsed six candidates for city council, including Democratic incumbent Marry-Ann Baldwin. Although she is the focus of the ads, she’s the only one not named in the complaint.

Since the ad first appeared in The News & Observer, it has now surfaced on television and the radio.

Debnam admits some people may be offended by the ads.

“Well, the ads are aggressive. But if you look at the debate on the other side or you’ve been to the city council chamber on the night when they’re talking about it they’re pretty mild. And if you read any of the comments that are coming out afterwards you’d see what really nasty and really aggressive is,” Debnam said.

Debnam said he hopes the Wake County Board of Elections will investigate and take appropriate action.

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