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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A New Hanover County School Board member has learned what could happen if you let a domain expire. Elizabeth Redenbaugh discovered she could not re-register her website because someone else owned it. She was surprised to find out who the new owner is.

Redenbaugh did not think anyone would snatch up her web domain when it expired. But elizabethredenbaugh.com now takes you to hotair.com, which is a conservative political blog.

Catherine Fleming, the wife of school board member and New Hanover County Commission candidate Derrick Hickey, purchased the domain.

Redenbaugh recently called Hickey and left a voicemail about the domain.

“I want it released, and I want it released now otherwise I’ll be happy to go to the press and let them know about your dirty tactics,” Redenbaugh said.

So Fleming beat her to it by releasing Redenbaugh’s voicemail to the media, along with an e-mail to Redenbaugh. It reads, in part:

“During the 2008 campaign, you assured everyone that you supported neighborhood schools. People supported you because of that issue. Then you turned your back on them. I anticipate using the domain name to make sure that your record is clear.”

But every story we could find written during Redenbaugh’s 2008 campaign showed her speaking for diversity in schools. Redenbaugh believes people assumed she was for neighborhood schools because, at the time, she was a Republican. Last fall, she switched political parties and is now a Democrat.

Redenbaugh contacted the local and state boards of elections to find out whether this domain debacle violates campaign finance laws. In the meantime, she says this dirty tactic reflects poorly on Hickey.

“I believe we should be role models for our students, and it displays poor internet etiquette,” Redenbaugh said. “At best it’s bullying.”

We tried to get in touch with Fleming and Hickey. Neither returned our calls.

We also contacted the New Hanover County Board of Elections, which said at this point this does not violate any state election laws.

Comment on this Story

  • Perplexed

    Actually I know neither of these individuals but this woman that buys the rights to this domain which is a unique name of another individual to use for mudslinging I find childish, unethical and bordering on stalking regardless of the politics involved. Also this devious action I think would reflect poorly upon her husband.

    Again I know neither of these individuals. I am just someone that read this article.

    2 words: GROW UP

  • Guest28451

    Unless you have trademarked your name and or have reasonably expection for the general public to regard you as a celebrity she has zero claim to the domain sorry.. I spent years working in IT and it was a concern even back then. My suggestion go register yourname.ws or something similar.. Thats just the way the internet cookie crumbles.

  • QuietOne

    Even though she has no “right” to the domain name, I find it kinda tacky for an opponent to register it and use it for their own purpose. I have no respect for anyone who would do that.

  • Neomom99

    First, no one is slinging mud, it points to a well-respected blog.

    Second, perhaps you should have been concerned about being respectable and not being a bully when you were calling those supporting neighborhood schools racist.

    Well played by the Hickeys!

  • ConcernedAboutKids

    Ms Redenbaugh has always supported diversity. (ask Curtis W to check his archive, he could stop perpetuating this lie)

    She did say that some neighborhood school supporters are racists. (not all). What would you call someone who supports segregation? Neighborhood schools have resulted in 98% blacks at some schools and whites at others.

  • Perplexed

    Maam, what you are doing is called projecting. All of your comments have come across as being an aggressive bully. This only hurts your cause which I have no idea what it is.

    The methods that someone uses to further their cause says alot.

    Your method and similar ones are used by many devious marketers in doing negative advertising against competitors instead of spending their time promoting positive ideas.

    I welcome your reply because in your anger which is evident you actually helping your opponent.

    In the long term after you cool down you will understand I’m sure that this is negative advertising. Of course just about everyone in politics does it see feel free to follow the herd.

  • I think you have grossly inflated your figures to make a better argument for Redenbaugh. I did look up the figures for each New Hanover County school, and none have 98% of one race attending any single school.

  • GuestCommon

    if you like having your wife do your dirty, and I mean dirty, work for you.

  • Guest7969

    up which school has 98% blacks please…

  • Perplexed
  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …of the NEIGHBORHOODS?

    If you don’t like your child’s school, move out to the suburbs as many, many Black families have done. They don’t sit around whining about their horrible fate in life, they put their nose to the grindstone and succeed at what they do.

    Nothing more crippling, educationally or financially, than the “woe is me” and “I’m entitled” mentality.

  • Guest34

    Virgo is closed at this time. So you are still wrong.

  • blinded by beliefs

    I did stretch it a bit…

    Snipes, 95.4% black (11 of 237 students are white)
    Virgo, 90.9% black (17 of 187 are white)

    W Beach, 96.6% white (<5 are black, it could be lower)
    Coddington 95.2% white (12 are black)

    Sorry for misleading you. Still very unbalanced. I have been to Snipes quite a bit and it seemed that high to me. It was a guess. Thanks for having me look it up.

    Check them for yourself..

  • blinded by beliefs

    Continue to hide behind your selfishness. Schools with poverty at these levels don’t function and that is a result of the neighborhood school policy.

  • blinded by beliefs

    It’s true I exagerated…

    Snipes: 95.4% black
    Virgo: 90.9% black

    W. Beach: 96.6 white
    Coddington: 95.2 white


    I stand corrected… Still seem a little lopsided?

  • blinded by beliefs

    She just wanted to make sure people who want to know what she believes go to the right site and are not misled.

    Who did she bully? She said some neighborhood school supporters are racist. (and i’m sure there are some that are) She did not say they all are racist. At best they are selfish.

  • Guest228

    which is predominately black

  • Guest43

    Get over it Redenbaugh! You are two faced. You got what you deserve! You ran as a Republican and switched parities so you can win Democrat votes. I hope they remember this at election time. Are you going to switch back half way through? You did this because you know a smart Republican will not vote for you again. Did you pay back everyone you lied too during the campaign, that requested their money? I bet not.
    By the way, you supported Neighborhood Schools until you got elected, then once elected you went against it. You have been a thorn in the School system since you were elected.

  • Guest757

    Well said I agreee with you 100%

  • Guestman

    Everyone knows that “neighborhood schools” are just code words for segregation. The new 3 Rs in New Hanover county are Readin’, Ritin’, and Re-Segregation. Congratulations to our school board for trying to take us back in time to the good old 60’s and early 70’s.

  • Guest Apu

    You said a smart Republican won’t vote for her again. Unfortunately voters (of either party) aren’t smart. By that, I mean they vote straight-party ticket, or vote for someone simply because they have a “D” or “R” beside their name on the ballot, not knowing anything about the candidate. You’re giving voters too much credit, assuming they pay attention to the issues and platform of the candidates.

  • Brian

    Don’t vote for either of them. One switched parties in an attempt to get elected, the other is just a petty child.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    You don’t own domains, you rent them.

    If you stop paying rent you get evicted, and someone who ISN’T a deadbeat, someone who actually manages their finances correctly, can come in and rent that domain.

    Moral of the story? Just because you’re a liberal doesn’t impart the right to live like all those worthless deadbeats you champion.

  • blinded by beliefs

    Hmm, my guess is that all who are poor are not worthless or deadbeats. Yes, there are a fair share of each.

    Of course it is her fault she lost the domain name but it is ugly politics to buy her name.

    It is about the kids and buying her name is not helping them in anyway. It also sets a poor example.

  • Informed Citizen

    I am disgusted by the actions of the Hickeys. I am equally disgusted by the comments on this page. Elizabeth Redenbaugh did not switch to the Democratic party to “win votes”. She switched parties because she felt that the values of the party were more in line with her own. Let’s see….Elizabeth Redenbaugh is an educated, hardworking woman who was elected to represent ALL of the children of New Hanover County. When she did that she was attacked by her OWN party. She was attacked for doing the right thing for ALL of our children. I am so glad that I am not a member of a party that would do that. Elizabeth believes that ALL children deserve an equal education. Imagine that…someone who cared about people of ALL races and ALL socio-economic groups and was willing to stand up for those beliefs…and she was a Republican! Yes, it was hard for me to believe too! Because of Elizabeth’s character, I supported her and VOTED for her when she was a Republican.I can’t wait to vote for her now that she is a Democrat!She didn’t need to switch parties to get my vote. I know that might be a foreign concept to many of you….a citizen who is educated, who knows the facts and votes for the right person no matter what their party.
    The worst part of all of this is that it is the SCHOOL BOARD, for heaven’s sake. How do we expect our children to learn to behave with role models like this? Taking a person’s web domain…their NAME..and diverting internet users to some obnoxious , hateful site. Shameful! Elizabeth Redenbaugh is the finest example of a role model that I know. She is an educated woman who is an excellent wife, mother, daughter and friend. She serves our community with honor, distinction and most importantly,COURAGE. Watch her acceptance speech when she was honored with the JFK Profile in Courage Award.Listen to her words. She gets more done in one morning that most people get done in a week.You people should be ashamed of yourselves for attacking this woman. I just hope that there are enough of us out there who are trying to raise our children to be like Mrs. Redenbaugh, since the alternative is so pathetic.
    By the way…I am not a relative of Mrs. Redenbaugh, nor a close friend. I know her from church and from the school community. From my interactions with her ,and from what I have learned about her from mutual friends ,I have grown to admire her very much.I will not stand silently by while she is attacked. Shame on all of you and shame on the Hickeys.

  • Guest325

    Even the devil tricked Eve and so did Redenbaugh to get elected.

  • GoPrivate!

    I send my kids to Private School so I don’t have to worry about any of these issues or lousy candidates trying to manipulate them! Plus, there is never anyone in politics worth re-electing! In politics, education, etc… You get what you pay for!

  • SBC

    I think more will be accomplished through civil debate. Respectful discussion by adults, will teach our children how a democracy should optimally function. I voted for Elizabeth Redenbaugh in 2008 because she advocated more diversity, less poverty concentration in our public schools.

    If you review the excerpt from the Star News Editorial (below) for October 17, 2008, you will see that she has been clear about the fact that high-poverty schools are much less likely to be successful. You may disagree with the need for socioeconomic balance, but Elizabeth’s strongest criticism has been that she changed her position after being elected. I believe she was clear beforehand, but some citizens voted for her based on the fact that she was a Republican. There is a difference in voters being misled and being uninformed. One lesson we can learn is that it is important to do the research and not rely on party affiliation. We tell our children to do their homework and we should do the same.

    Star News Editorial October 17, 2008:

    Republican Elizabeth Redenbaugh, in her first run for office, has children in the New Hanover County school system. The working mother – she’s a lawyer – also has spent time in the schools, as a volunteer and a PTA representative.

    In an impressive interview with the Star-News editorial board, she seemed to grasp the extreme difficulty of imposing a strict “neighborhood schools” policy without having an adverse impact on the education of students from low-income households. Citing an Arizona State University study, she noted that low-poverty, low-minority schools are 89 times more likely to boast high achievement rates than high-poverty, high-minority schools.

    Redenbaugh gets it: The school board has an obligation to ensure strong educational opportunities for all children, not only those whose parents speak up during redistricting meetings. Her challenge will be to help steer the board toward policies that appreciate and promote diversity when it’s clear that most parents, black and white, want their children to attend school as close to home to possible.

  • Ssharon67

    Redenbaugh needs to get her facts straight. She has repeated over and over that high poverty concentration = increased likelihood of producing a failing school. Why is her only measure of success whether the SCHOOL fails and not the student??? There is an association between numbers of high poverty students in a school and the overall school performance being low. This does not mean that high poverty causes individual students to fail. By not addressing the unique needs that these children have that set the odds against them achieve success, she seeks to perpetuate the very failure that keeps them isolated.
    I have not seen anything negative put up on the site Hickey’s wife bought. Records say it was bought on March 9, 2012 – almost 2 weeks after Redenbaugh declared she was running. Did Redenbaugh think that no one would buy the domain? With so many people saying they believed Ms. Redenbaugh supported neighborhood schools, I’m shocked she has not woken up to the fact that she was not, in fact, transparent on her political stances. If someone she fooled wants to make it clear what her stances are this time, good for them. They will be doing a service that Redenbaugh did not provide to supporters in 2008.

  • good for her

    There was no stalking here. I heard the story first hand and Catherine Fleming did not stalk the site, she was just simply curious as to what Elizabeth was saying this go around, since she totally flipped flopped last election. Of couse, unless the board started speaking of her neighborhood–and then she would have none of the diversity argument during the redistricting. Ms. Fleming just simply took a look at Elizabeth’s site to see her stance, and low and behold there was no server. It seems to me that Elizabeth should been more on top of things. I thought what Ms. Fleming did was brilliant. It seemed okay for the democrats to do it to Newt Gingrich’s site??? By the way, Mr. Hickey knew nothing about it until Elizabeth left the rather heated message on his phone. I hope this event will cause all candidates to realize that when they run for an office and make promises, they need to keep those promises to the people that elected them.


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