NCDP Candidates for Chair at ScruHoo

This past week Scrutiny Hooligans highlighted the North Carolina Democratic Party Chair race between Bill Faison, David Parker, and Dannie Montgomery. The same questions were asked of each of the candidates, and their responses are republished there without changes. They are posted in the order they were received.

Bill Faison

Dannie Montgomery

David Parker

They answered these questions:

1) What are the primary duties of a State Party Chair?

2) What distinguishes you from the other candidates in this race?

3) Yes - They are all important, but please rank the following in order of priority:
Field operations
Training local party organizations
Coordination with OFA
Improving data collection and distribution
Candidate recruitment

4) Strategically, do you believe we ought to carefully choose our battles or that we ought to have a 100-County effort?

5) What are your fundraising goals, and how do you plan to achieve them? Numerical estimates are appreciated.

6) What qualities would you like to see in a new NCDP Executive Director?

7) How exactly will you improve cooperation between the Party and OFA? Why should local candidates and campaigns believe that OFA will help them and vice versa?

8) SEC and state convention meetings see our elected officials most often when they are running for election. It suggests a disconnect in the party between the grassroots and elected officials. This impression is reinforced when resolutions debated, voted on and re-voted on at the county, district and state levels disappear down the memory hole once passed.

What responsibility do you believe elected Democrats have (when not running for office) for championing the concerns of grassroots party members, and

What would you do as chair to help ensure that our Council of State and legislative delegation work better with the party to reflect those concerns?



I went to read each response with the expectation they would all sound the same. They didn't sound the same at all.

Morning thought: What if the Democratic Party could engage all three?

  • Dannie for on the ground engagement.
  • Bill for a combination of bad cop and bull dog.
  • David for silver-tongued devil.

In the case of the GOP, Fetzer was just a front guy for Art Pope. Let's have a troika with each fronting for the other, depending on the venue, the urgency, and the negotiating strategy of the moment.

Okay, maybe it's a bad idea. But I'll tell you this, it's a better idea than any single one of them.

We need a bulldog right now

We need a bulldog right now so I favor Faison.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

The winners

for each question IMO:

1) David Parker/Bill Faison
2) Dannie Montgomery/Bill Faison
3) Bill Faison
4) David Parker/Bill Faison/Dannie Montgomery
5) Dannie Montgomery/David Parker
6) David Parker
7) Dannie Montgomery/David Parker
8) David Parker

Initial responses
David Parker gets 6 points
Bill Faison gets 4 points
Dannie Montgomery gets 4 points

Extra from Weighing Questions
Questions 1, 4, 5, and 7 are ones that weigh more in my mind. Know the job, know the strategy, know the money, and the need to improve collaboration with OFA in a year that President Obama is on the ticket. Weighing those questions double and I come up with base scores of:

David Parker 4 points
Bill Faison 2 points
Dannie Montgomery 3 points

Websites/Online Activity
Looking at their websites Bill gets 2 points for the endorsements, David gets 1, Bill and David both get a point for live blogging on Blue NC, an extra point for David for his responses (I heard a little bit about winning in the Pope-era, Citizens United, LGBT equality, and felt the answers overall were more detailed - the level of detail/knowledge was also why he won some earlier questions too), and all 3 get points for their experience/background.

David Parker 4
Bill Faison 4 points
Dannie Montgomery 1 point

David Parker 14
Bill Faison 10 points
Dannie Montgomery 8 points

Granted this is all fairly arbitrary, but by listing various characteristics and weighing them in importance, and assigning values, it is I hope it is a more rational decision than I would have otherwise made. Not that I have any say in who wins. But before I did this I didn't know which way I was leaning, but as it turns out I'm apparently leaning slightly towards Parker. I tried asking each of them that had facebook groups/pages a question on there both to find out the answer and see how responsive they are, but so far nothing in response which suggests either they haven't had time yet (its only been a day) or they are using facebook as info dumps rather than a chance for greater connectivity. If and when/how they respond to my question could change my preference order though.

Good Insight Jake

I would add one thing though: If you're looking at the endorsements, you will notice that Faison's are heavily weighted toward the politicians. I would expect him to have those-sort of like when Clinton was lining up all her super-delegate pals in D.C. during the '08 campaign.
In the end, it comes down to those of us in the real world, who care more about what you DO after you get elected.
One final comment here: Faison continues to attack Parker for constantly "running for something." I wonder if he'd say the same thing about President Lincoln, who had a string of losses before he ever won a campaign. To me the greatest value is what is in your heart and soul, and I am convinced that Parker has proven his commitment to rank and file Democrats over his 35 years of volunteer service!

Michael J. Gould, MS, FIOPL
Member, SEANC Board of Governors
Member, NDP SEC


As for the endorsements, I did notice that about the politicians, but in giving points I was doing it in a more personal way. I knew more people on Faison's list, people I trust to have as good or better insights and experiences with the Democratic Party than myself, so I gave him more points, but since I knew people on both lists they each got a point from there.

I agree on the "running for something point." A man holding an elected office and running for another is in little position to be critical of anyone running for a position.

Nevertheless I see virtues in all the candidates, just manifest in different ways.

More points for chair candidates!

Happily, it turns out that my facebook questions about the coming GOP constitutional marriage discrimination amendment were responded to by both parties. Both responses were fairly timely too, some from Bill's team responding in about 3 days, and David's in 4.

The page for "David Parker for NC Democratic Party Chair" responded to the post publicly saying:

Our Party should take a strong stand opposing the GOP’s position on same sex unions, whether it comes in the form of a constitutional amendment or direct legislation.

I believe that sexual orientation is a gift from God that North Carolina s...hould permit civil unions, and that churches should conduct same-sex marriages as they see fit. I will, of course, support the Party’s Platform as adopted by our Party.

I am committed to creating an LGBT Caucus in NC and to adpoting the Dallas Principals with “personal individual dignity” as a “core value” to be at the top of our Platform in a Preamble.

And someone who said they're working with Bill on the state chair race responded via private message saying that Bill would support fighting the effort as well.

Given that they both had the kind of responses I was hoping for, and in a timely manner, I am feeling happy about both choices, so points to both!

The relationship with OFA

Why look upon it as collaboration? That presumes that the OFA staff will not have a seat at the table but will be calling the shots.

When we let them start dismantling the 50-state/100-county strategy, we only had Obama's coat-tails. And those coat-tails did not hang that low - many down-ballot candidates did not win.

We let OFA suck all the oxygen out of the room on the health-care fight in 2009 and we did not work to get better organized and have good GOTV work. We lost control of the school board in Wake County. And even after losing 4 big symbolic races from December 2008 through early 2010, we still got suckered into using OFA methods here in Wake County and NC.

While we only lost one US Congressman in NC, we lost control of the US House across the country. But in NC, we really lost Etheridge and the other 6 seats where Dem challengers were up against incumbent Republicans.

In Wake we not only lost Chris Hagarty's seat, but we lost the other 3 seats where we had Democratic challengers going up against Republican incumbents. In the state Senate we lost 2 seats where our candidates went up against Republican incumbents. And statewide we flipped both chambers in the GA - losing a 112 majority winning streak.

We had 4 candidates for County Commissioner - one an incumbent - and all lost! We lost the big judicial race in the NC Supreme Court - virtually assuring the GOP Redistricting Plan will go through without a hitch.

How on Earth can that be seen as successful - and why should we continue to follow such a losing strategy - or allow people who keep pushing that strategy to sit at the table and/or run things?

Candidates and campaigns should not be running the Party or determining our direction - we should be doing that ourselves because we are elected to do so. They are elected to be public servants - not party officers. And no one in OFA is elected to do anything - they are paid staff!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Congrats to Parker!

David Parker 14 15 (upped it for PHB liveblog)
Bill Faison 10 points
Dannie Montgomery 8 points

I found virtues in all the candidates, and could have been happy either way. But after weighing them against each other, I was pulling for Parker. Great job Parker! I hope you keep the liveblogs up throughout your tenure.

And congrats to Frank whose multimedia and communication skills are a powerful asset to whoever they are lent to. Kudos!

I have been reading the candidates' responses on BlueNC to see

whether they understand the needs of the unpaid people who actually do the grunt work for the Democratic Party -- the precinct chairs, county chairs, local party activists and volunteers. I assume Faison listed his endorsers in the order of their importance in his mind. He lists SEC members and party activists at the bottom of the list. Interesting.

Sweet Union Dem

Cheap Shot

And kind of pathetic. I doubt that Faison's listing of supporters is a credible means for evaluating his capacity or commitment. The tired old "my guy likes the little guy better than your guy" pitch is pretty strained and suggests a desperate need to attach meaning to fairly meaningless gestures. Of course, for that matter, Faison would be foolish indeed were he NOT to consider those he has at the top of the list as extremely important to him and his chances. Yet something tells me that had Faison reversed the order of this supposed "priority" list, you wouldn't be writing to applaud him for it.

Uh oh.

Must have hit a nerve. It was just an observation. Sorry you thought it was a pathetic cheap shot.

Sweet Union Dem

On the "always running for something" issue...

...I know that David Parker has run for and won several Democratic party offices. I also know that he's been interested in running for NCDP Chair several times and has on at least two occasions been asked NOT to run for the office by whatever Governor was in office at the time. Still not sure why, but I did ask David this question directly and got a direct answer to it.

Now several SEC members have told me that they have met Faison, and that Faison had said he was asked to run for office, and that he wasn't the first choice. But he's not come out and said who asked him to run for office - and why they asked him. Given the absolute lack of any evidence that he's been participating in the Democratic Party at any level OTHER than running for public office, who came up with the idea to get him to run for NCDP Chair?

Who asked Bill Faison to run for office and why?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

NCDP Insider & WCDP

To understand why NCDP Insider recommended Gwen Wilkins for 2nd vice chair instead of 1st vice chair, I closely read the NCDP Politics posts about Delmas Parker. A January 16th post said "He actively runs interference to protect party officers from disciplinary action (as long as they are members of the Progressives democrat group) for working against democratic candidates." This must refer to petitions to remove Wake County Democratic Party Officers submitted on behalf of a candidate for Cary TOwn Council who claimed the WCDP worked against her campaign. The executive council dismissed the petitions after review.

From the NCDP Politics post, NCDP Insider believes the WCDP officers should have been disciplined. David Parker, June Mabry, Kevin Smith, and Gwen Wilkins have been endorsed for executive council offices by NCDP Insider. I want to know if each of these candidates believe the county party officers should have been disciplined. More important, I want to know if David Parker, June Mabry, Kevin Smith, or Gwen Wilkins will reconsider discipline against Wake County Democratic Party officers if they are elected.

The NCDP's greatest challenges are ahead, and it will effect my vote to know if an executive council candidate would consider spending valuable party resources to revisit final decisions of prior state elected officers on matters that have been properly concluded.

I can tell you one thing

You mention NCDP Insider and you lose credibility. His endorsements and statements concerning "discipline" are near about worthless.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Don't you mean "her endorsements and statements"?

It's kinda funny that NCDP Insider isn't taking a look at the list of endorsements of Faison vs. Parker. Faison has very few endorsements from members of the PDNC or the Wake Progressives.

But then again - you've only been a member of Blue NC for a day or so - I bet you didn't know that! I bet you haven't read one of my other blogs about that particular Cary Town Council candidate and why she was removed from office as Cary Vice Chair in the Wake County Democratic Party.

Wonder how many sock puppets are on here? ;-)

Chris Telesca
Wake County Democratic Party
Precinct 01-42 Chair
SEC member
exposing sock puppets everywhere!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting