Voller defers naming Ben Chavis--for now

The Raleigh News and Observer reports

Facing resistance, N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller retreated from his intention to nominate civil rights leader and controversial figure Ben Chavis for a top post – at least for now.

In a contentious conference call with upward of 100 party executive leaders Tuesday night, Voller supported making state director Casey Mann the party’s interim executive director for up to 30 days as officials “explore a permanent replacement,” the party said in a statement. The executive council must approve Voller’s nomination.

Voller canceled a news conference Wednesday morning at which he told party officials he would name Chavis as the party’s executive director, days after unexpectedly firing Robert Dempsey from the post. In the statement – sent by an interim spokeswoman after the party’s communication’s director resigned Monday – Voller said the weather played a role in the cancellation and the potential for hazardous weather.

On the call, Voller sounded angered about this scrutiny, saying he didn’t appreciate people “relitigating things from 20 years ago.”

In an interview with WNCN in Raleigh, Chavis said he wouldn’t let his past distract him. “I would strongly consider the position,” Chavis said, if he were offered the post.


If the way that meeting was conducted is an example of Casey Mann's management capability, she does not deserve the job of Executive Director for long. Also, she apparently just kowtows to Voller, rather than providing wiser advice.


This whole mess is a good

This whole mess is a good example of why there was a last minute effort to elect Bob Etheridge to the Chairman's position when Eric Mansfield had to pull out. Either would have offered the stability the party needs at this important time.

I'm a moderate Democrat.

Now Voller claims he never planned to name Chavis as ED

Must read from WRAL.com: what a difference a few hours make. Now Voller claims he never intended to name Ben Chavis last night as Democratic Party Executive Director.

...party Chairman Randy Voller now claims he intended to appoint Chavis as interim executive director, not as a permanent official.

That's news to many Democrats who received an invitation from Voller Monday to "a formal announcement of the return of a North Carolina native and national leader as the next Executive Director" on Wednesday morning. The invitation didn't mention "interim."

That event was canceled late Tuesday night after a contentious teleconference with the party's executive committee. The reason given to the media for the cancellation was weather...

Many readers of BlueNC have asked why Democrats at the top of the party's ticket like Council of State members were not speaking out. Apparently at least one did--Auditor Beth Wood.

Tuesday night, she sent a letter to members of the Executive Committee, asking them not to approve Voller's Plan-B nomination of his second-in-command, Casey Mann, as interim director.

"We will NEVER be able to raise money as long as there is no confidence in the handling of contributors' moneys," Wood wrote to the committee. "I am reaching out tonight to ask you to please make sure you make the right choice for interim director. ... It should be someone who is outside Goodwin House. It is NOT a good idea for the people signing checks and approving payments to be closely tied."

Wood also sent an email to Voller, asking for an immediate refund of her $500 contribution to the party.

Martha Brock