Dems to Watch

One of the things I have always enjoyed as a perk of writing at BlueNC is learning about candidates and elected officials from different parts of the state. We have an impressive amount of political talent across the state and it includes people we should consider for higher office. The problem? We don't always shine a bright enough spotlight on these candidates and we don't keep track of them after the campaign season is over. I would like to take a step to change that.

An Invitation to the BlueNC Community

You are invited to write blog posts about people serving in your local government, in the state legislature, or who are members of your community interested in political office. Introduce them here and let us know they should be on the 'Dems to Watch' list.


Dems lose moral high ground

Making fun of the mentally ill is never OK. I do not care who you are, ridiculing people living with an illness or disability is despicable. Unfortunately, Thursday, that is exactly what an elected NCDP Congressional District chair and popular liberal blogger did in an open, public post on Facebook.


North Carolina Democratic Party Convention News

After a quick three hour drive, we arrived in Raleigh and easily found parking despite the hysteria on Facebook from a few in the party warning us that a PREVIOUS employee had planned the convention LAST FALL and there were four high school graduation ceremonies at the convention center that would make parking difficult. I'm sure some who arrived after 11:00 a.m. had a harder time finding parking, however there were entire sections of the parking deck empty when we pulled up.

The convention hall is very organized and they are now moving people forward because the number of attendees does not match the number who RSVP'd for the convention. That happens at an event this large. It is a nice Raleigh.

Voller just recognized a gentleman who was part of D-Day to a standing ovation.

Will continue....


Who is Jim Hunt raising money for again?

A Feb 01 Charlotte Observer story told us something we already knew - that Jim Hunt (and others) are forming SuperPACs to raise money to influence elections. He declined to elaborate on the group and exactly what they are doing even at the Sanford-Hunt-Frye fundraising dinner where he was a speaker.

That same weekend, the N&O's John Frank reported that Hunt donated $1000 to Tea Party Republican Justin Burr during the 3rd quarter of 2013.

ONE MORE FUNDRAISING NUGGET: Former Democratic Gov. Jim Hunt gave state Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican budget writer, a $1,000 contribution Oct. 12, campaign finance reports show.

The business of the NCDP

At issue here with the State Democratic Party is no longer a matter of personality clashes or competing party ideologies. The core problem of the struggling NCDP is a lack of leadership. I am convinced that Chairman Voller is a nice guy. I have talked with him one on one and have listened to him speak. I am convinced that he genuinely cares for the party and the people in it. If all it took to be in charge was a winning personality Jimmy Carter would have won a second term and John Kerry would be a former President instead of current Secretary of State.

Understanding the roles various democratic political entities in elections

Many NC Democrats think that the NCDP runs all elections in North Carolina. Historically, the election responsibilities have been divided as follows:

1.) The NC House and Senate Caucuses recruit candidates for their districts, develop the election strategy, hire the political campaign consultants and raise funds to get them elected;

2.) The NC Democratic Party responsibility is to work principally for the election of the President and US Senators;

3.) Political campaign consults, like lawyers are in the business to make money and like some lawyers, they may take hopeless cases as long as the money is there;

4.) There may or may not be coordination of activities between these four entities.

I have been repeatedly told this is how election have been done by Democrats in NC by my members of the General Assembly. I don't doubt that they are correct.

Obtaining property under false pretenses is a crime!

So two bail bondsmen and two court clerks who improperly accessed court computers are being charged with obtaining property by false pretenses - which is a crime.

Any thoughts about the political consultant who got an NCDP contractor to use NCDP resources to perform a LexisNexis search on candidates in contested races for public and party office, then passed it onto another campaign?

Do you think the contractor, consultant and the campaign worker should be similarly charged? I do!

A party staffer takes e-mail addresses that are the property of one campaign and trades them to another campaign in exchange for a job.

Do you think both the party staffer and the campaign worker (and maybe the candidate himself) should be charged? I do!

We've long since passed the point where any NCDP discussion is productive

Several folks have asked me to weigh in to mediate the messy discussions about the NC Democratic Party, the executive director, Chairman Voller, and such. I decline. From out here on the sidelines, it looks like a classic blood feud with strongly committed people representing strongly held beliefs on all sides of the issue. Many of the comments involve actions in meetings that happened in private, which then spilled over to these pages.

I'm sympathetic to all sides of the issue, and wish only that a productive path forward can be found. Given the obvious deep divides, that seems unlikely.

My thoughts on the NCDP ED controversy

I've sat patiently while watching events go by, largely talking to my friends and refraining from commenting in public other than to refute the usual Voller-haters (who were also Parker-haters two years ago). But I do feel I must make a few comments on the whole ED firing/Dr. Ben Chavis matter.

Previous Chairs largely made the selection of ED, with their selection validated by the Executive Council. Certainly some ED candidates were trotted around to various constituency groups - including elected officials - but the Chairs largely made the choices on their own. The job of the ED is not to be a celebrity - it's to be a competent administrator of the Party for the officers, delegates, electeds/candidates and donors. A good ED should follow the directives set by the Chair and the SEC and Executive Council at the state level, and the CEC and the elected county-level officers (the "board") at the county level. Their job should be to properly administer the Party so that the officers and delegates can decide what the party stands for and elect candidates who can turn that party platform into public policy.

Transparency matters

Let me go on the record to say I have no first-hand knowledge of Ben Chavis. For all I know, he could have been the guy Democrats in North Carolina need to save the day. Whether he is that guy or not, however, has become moot. His nomination fatally tarnished by the lack of a transparent process.

It will be tempting for some to see this as a conspiracy against a long-standing black leader. That's certainly the view of Cash Michaels, who wonders out loud whether this episode should give black voters pause.

But the behind-the-scenes movement among Democratic rank-and-file members to ensure that Dr. Chavis, a veteran civil rights leader and member of the Wilmington Ten, was stopped, is something that may give African-American voters pause come the critical 2014 mid-term elections.

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