RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Two pieces of mail showed up on the same day related to the race for one seat in the North Carolina Senate.

One said Sen. Sydney Batch “promised to defund the police.” The other said Batch “would fully fund our police.”

Obviously, both can’t be true.

So which is it?

Batch, a Democratic lawyer appointed last year by Gov. Roy Cooper to represent District 17 in the state Senate after Sam Searcy resigned, is running against Republican challenger Mark Cavaliero, a former colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and founder and former CEO of a computer security company. The district will represent Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Willow Springs and other areas of southern Wake County.

When CBS 17 directly asked Batch if she wants to defund the police, she responded: “Absolutely not, and never have, never will.”

These two campaign mailers received on the same day make drastically different claims about Democratic state Sen. Sydney Batch (D-Wake). The one at the bottom, from Republican opponent Mark Cavaliero, claims she wants to defund the police. One from her own campaign says she wants to fully fund the police. (Photo credit: Joedy McCreary.)

The mailing that attacks Batch and suggests otherwise came from the North Carolina Senate Majority Fund and was authorized by the Cavaliero campaign.

The issue appears to come down to the contents of an online pledge from a group affiliated with the Democrats.

It was put together by Future Now, which works to get Democrats elected to statehouse races across the country.

Batch was one of more than 1,000 candidates and elected officials across the U.S. to sign the pledge to “achieve America’s goals” through 2030.

What exactly are those policy goals? And when did the lawmakers sign it? That’s the root of the dispute.

CBS 17 asked Cavaliero where his claim came from and he responded by sending an archived screenshot of the website www.americasgoals.org that advocates for “reinvesting policing savings” and to “invest police savings in proven youth, health, employment and housing programs that make communities safer.”

That website, no longer active, now redirects visitors to The Lawmaker Network, which is also under the Future Now umbrella.

A reverse image search of the screenshot found it also shows up on the website of Republican House Speaker Tim Moore’s campaign.

Batch says that when she signed the pledge in 2018, “defunding the police” was not part of it. In fact, she signed it two years before the phrase itself gained momentum following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

CBS 17 found an archived version of the website from June 2020 that lists the 951 candidates who signed the pledge by that time and outlines the pledge itself. 

It includes provisions about jobs, healthcare, infrastructure, education, green initiatives and limiting special interests — but nothing about spending on law enforcement. The closest thing to it is a desire to “end mass incarceration” and a “freedom from ethnic and racial profiling for everyone.”

“It doesn’t have anything with regards to defunding the police,” Batch said. “I would never support defunding the police. And I did not sign a pledge that said that. And so, it’s just not in there.”

The website no longer links to the pledge. And the since-deleted America’s Goals list of policy aims appeared on a different website than the signed pledge did.

The North Carolina division of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, which represents more than 60,000 federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement officers, endorsed Batch in her House races in 2018 and 2020. It also endorsed Searcy in the 2020 District 17 race. The organization has not announced its endorsements for the upcoming elections.