NC Democrat Party in disarray – worried chaos will hurt them in fall elections

Hehe. I love it:

RALEIGH, N.C. — Some Democrats are worried that the state party’s inability to rid itself of embattled chairman David Parker could hurt their candidates’ chances this fall.

At a chaotic six-hour meeting Saturday [on Saturday], Parker offered his resignation, then reversed himself when the state executive committee voted 269-203 to reject it.

A smiling Parker returned to the stage to thank the SEC for its support. “My friends, I resigned this morning but I abide by the will of the state executive committee,” Parker said.

Supporters said Parker was the victim of a conspiracy by elected officials. Some said the conspiracy had to do with how party funding is divided. Others said Parker was scapegoated because the same-sex harassment scandal that happened under his leadership came to light just three weeks before a ballot initiative to ban same-sex unions.

Parker said he was pressured by elected leaders to refuse to serve.

“I will tell you there’s been a lot of phone calls made. But this is our party,” Parker said.

His decision humiliated those who publicly called for his resignation – especially the party’s gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton, who announced at that meeting that Parker WOULD step aside.

“As you know David is resigning as the chair of the party,” Dalton told the committee in his opening remarks Saturday morning. “And he says he is committed – he’s indicated he’s committed to a smooth transition. I want you to know that this is a very selfless act.”

In a statement Saturday evening, Dalton spokesman Schorr Johnson said the Lieutenant Governor was “surprised and disappointed” by Parker’s move.

“David Parker had assured him that he would resign and assist in the smooth transition to a new chair. Clearly that did not happen,” Johnson said.

A statement Monday from the Dalton campaign softened the message, calling the flap a distraction.

This scandal has become so embarrassing for NC Democrats that even the state’s most liberal paper, the Charlotte Observer, has condemned the Party’s Saturday actions, especially Parker’s:

Yet the party’s sexual harassment scandal, and Parker’s self-centered decision to stay on as party chairman despite his role in it, are embarrassing the Democrats and threaten to hurt the very candidates Parker is supposed to help elect. By putting himself first and his party second, Parker thumbs his nose at his party’s top elected officials toward no good end.

It could cost the party a huge amount of money, and Democratic candidates thousands of votes.

Parker stayed on as Democratic Party chairman Saturday after assuring Walter Dalton, the party’s candidate for governor, that he would resign. Gov. Bev Perdue, the White House and several other high-ranking elected officials* had also called for his resignation.

It would have been the right thing to do. The party’s executive director, Jay Parmley, resigned last month after details about sexual harassment allegations against him became public. A male staffer accused Parmley of a number of inappropriate advances, and was later fired. Parmley and Parker authorized paying the staffer a secret settlement and had him sign a non-disclosure agreement, while Parmley kept his job.

Parker hardly seemed bothered by the whole affair. “I honestly believe that this is and was a tempest in a teapot,” Parker said, according to WRAL.

Any party has problems when led by someone who thinks sexual harassment allegations, and the firing of the person who makes them, is no big deal. When that chairman goes back on his word after promising to resign, he breeds distrust within the party.

The upshot: Parker’s actions imperil the considerable national dollars that typically flow through the N.C. Democratic Party from the Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and organizations devoted to President Obama’s reelection. The governors’ group, wary of the split within the party, might direct its money to some of the 11 other states with gubernatorial races this year. Obama’s campaign might put more resources elsewhere, or control them more closely in a way that hurts candidates down the ballot.

*WRAL link added by me.

Keep in mind that President Obama won this state by only 14,000 votes in 2008 – his smallest margin of victory on election night, and it might have been even less than that if we didn’t have a Libertarian candidate on the ballot at the time. And it looks as though the Presidential race here will be competitive again this year. Team Obama knows they need every single vote they can get, and “distractions” like Parker’s resignation and then “unresignation” can hurt in-state fundraising efforts as well as the money coming in from national Democrat groups, which ultimately hurts “down-ticket” candidates – as noted in the Observer’s editorial. Also, even though the black vote in this state will once again be a lock for the President in spite of his “evolution” on Amendment One, if even 2 or 3 percent of the black voters who voted for him in 2008 stay home this year in protest over A1 it could hurt him significantly. Keep in mind, too, that the decision to hold their national convention here has become a giant headache for national Democrats:

President Barack Obama’s decision in February 2011 to hold the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina looked like a bold move to reclaim a state he’d won in 2008. Today, it’s more like an awkward fit.

The state’s Democratic Party is mired in a sexual harassment scandal. Voters just approved a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which conflicts with Obama’s view on the issue. Convention fundraising has been slow, and labor unions tapped to fill the financial gap are angry the convention will be in a city — Charlotte — with no unionized hotels and in a state where compulsory union membership or the payment of dues is prohibited as an employment condition.

North Carolina’s 9.7 percent unemployment rate is above the national average and one of the host city’s top employers –Bank of America (BAC) — has announced job reductions. Obama is scheduled to accept his party’s nomination at Bank of America Stadium in September.


Convention planners are expecting to receive, at most, $4 million from unions this year, less than half of the $8 million contributed by organized labor in 2008, according to a person familiar with the funding strategy who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record about fundraising. The number could eventually be less than $1 million and the Charlotte host committee, the main vehicle for funding the convention, is still short more than $20 million, the person said.

Obama’s campaign is working to connect Jim Rogers, the host committee co-chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Energy Corp. (DUK), with Obama’s wealthiest supporters. Rogers has accompanied Obama on his last two $35,800-per-person fundraisers in New York City, most recently last night at the home of Tony James, the president of Blackstone Group LP, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record.

The Democrat party has their work cut out for them here in NC. It is incumbent upon all of us who want to see this President and his party lose big this fall to do our part in making sure the jobs of Democrat party movers and shakers at both at the state and national levels get a lot harder from now until election time — and beyond.

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