Is Eric Mansfield the guy to beat for NCDP Chair?

From Dan Besse's Facebook page:

I've spoken directly with Eric Mansfield and encouraged him to run for N.C. Democratic Party chair. I believe that he will do so, and I look forward to supporting him when he does. I think he has what it takes to work with all Democrats in restoring the effectiveness of our state party organization--which is something we badly need in order to fight back against the avalanche of right-wing disasters about to be unleashed on our state.

I've talked with Eric only once, but having studied his campaign and career, I tend to agree with Dan's assessment. I don't care whether his candidacy came from grassroots, from on high, or somewhere in between, he seems like a great choice. I just wish he could start yesterday.


Woman as NCDP chair?

The nineties,I think, and so long that I have forgotten last name. Barbara with Progress Energy from Raleigh? She got Goodwin House as I recall.

I am glad you brought this up. Seems women lost the political war long ago, and not just the one waged by GOP fossils.

(Asked P. R. Latta for name of last woman to chair the NCDP: Barbara Allen, and yes, it was the early 90s.)

Martha Brock

Allen was chair of the NCDP until Jerry Meek

got the nod in 2005. Her last term was 2003 - 2005 with Meek as 1st vice. She may have been chair in the 90's but her run(s) wasn't over until 2005.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

Considering how women fared

under the GOP's redistricting assault, I'd say putting a woman in the NCDP Chair should be more than just a passing fancy, it should be the primary goal of the SEC.

Speaking of, how many women are in that august body?

Sorry not to be PC

But after the humiliating butt-kicking Democrats got after the 2010 election - made all the more difficult after the 2012 election - I want the best PERSON for the job. I could care less about their gender, race, sexual preference, etc.

I want an experienced Party leader, someone who has been a party officer from the precinct level on up.

Do we want another shirt-model for Chair - someone picked for us by the elected public leaders and their paid consultants - like in 2009?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

I'm not being "PC", Chris

Half of the Dem Party are women, and we've had several male Chairs recently. It's time.

And just to let you know, that "best person for the job" mantra has been misused by many over the years to discriminate against women and minorities. I'm not saying you're doing that, I'm just saying.

I like women

A strong woman would be a great choice. In fact, a woman could very well be the best choice, assuming "strong" also means ruthless, forward-thinking in terms of social media, and well connected.

Should be a good, competitive race.

Well connected? To whom?

I hope you don't mean the monied class. That is one of my pet peeves. The chief qualification for party leadership positions has been having money or having access to big donors. And the Democrats are as bad or worse than the GOP on this matter.

I would love to see Doris Weaver as state chairwoman. She was great as Wake County Chair. She is not "ruthless," but as a veteran Labor Lobbyist for CWA, she knows to rumble!

Personally, I don't pretend to be or like ruthless. Tough and assertive, yes. Ruthless, not really.

As for how many women there are on SEC, who has an answer? The party's plan was supposed to ensure equality of sexes in leadership. Is that still the case and does it apply to SEC?

Martha Brock

Good points

By "connected" I mean able to pick up the phone and talk to whomever needs talking to ... no matter where they are in the political food chain. I also mean willing to engage with the entire spectrum of Democrats, Independents and progressives in the state. And frankly, I mean "connected" to reality ... which probably means living outside the Raleigh bubble.

Regarding tough vs. ruthless, you're probably right. I'd settle for either.

For example, Civitas is doing a wide ranging public records request of every progressive or good-government organization in the state, a full-fledged fishing expedition. Democrats need to be doing the exact same thing, and then some. A deluge of lawsuits should welcome Governor Pope & Co., every time they breath. And it can't be done while worrying about that some journalist might think.

Doris did a good job as Wake Dems Chair

It should be pointed out that Doris didn't just decide to run on her own.

There was a committee of concerned Democrats who were not happy with the Wake Dems leadership after the 2006 election. They made a list of what they wanted to see in a Chair, then went out and found a good candidate. Then we mounted a first-class GOTV effort. The result was that Doris beat a sitting County Party Chair by a 3-2 margin of weighted votes. She won mostly on outside the beltline votes from precincts that were tired of being taken for granted. That really pissed off the special-interest, inside the Beltline, country-club Dems. They got one of their own back as Chair in 2009 - look how well that worked out!

Doris was able to work with both the paid political consultants as well as the grassroots, but she realized that the grassroots were where the strength of the Party really comes from. As such, she was able to get people to work in a volunteer capacity. She brought life to Howard Dean's mantra: "You have to take back your party before you take back your country!"

Her leadership enabled the Wake Dems to play a big role in turning NC "blue" in 2008.

As far as the SEC - we are supposed to have half and half. That's roughly what we have in Wake County. Geeze - read the POO!

Frankly - I wanna see someone who has no ambitions to run for public office as state Party Chair. Have them serve at least 4 years and possibly 8. Think of the long-term! And pay them a salary or a stipend - like the Republicans paid Fetzer! We are foolish to think that anyone worthy of being NCDP Chair can only come from a class of people who are rich (or very-well off) professionals like lawyers or doctors.

Doris had to work as a lobbyist while serving as Wake Dems Chair.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

historic firsts

I'd certainly have no objection whatsoever to a strong female candidate for the chair spot. At this point, I'm most interested in having a strong, effective chair of whichever gender.

However, for those with an eye on historic firsts, how could we miss the significance of electing our first African-American chair? Wouldn't that be Sen. Mansfield?


Dan Besse

Why should anyone care the race or gender of the Chair?

After we lost a 112 year home-field advantage due to being stylish in 2010 and 2012, I'd rather be good than be stylish.

Look how well off we are for the significance of having the DNC Convention here in 2012? In case you haven't figured it out - having the GOP convention in FL was supposed to help the GOP candidate win that state.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

on the merits

I'm backing Eric Mansfield on his merits, Chris. Not on his race, gender, or the position of some mythical "consultants". He's ready to do the job that we need, in my opinon.

Dan Besse

OK - despite the fact that you have mentioned needing... elect a female or an African American Chair. exactly what are Mansfield's merits?

What does he bring to the game that shows he's ready to do the job?

Perhaps you could give us a description of the job you think he needs to do, and then show us how he's already ready to do it?

Basically I am asking you to defend your opinion.

A Chair at any level must do more than just be a mesmerizing speaker, and know rich folks he can call up at a moment's notice. Usually those rich folks want something for their contributions. Will Mansfield give them what they want and exclude the rank and file Dems in determining the direction of the Party? Or be too deferential to elected public officials, and paid consultants? We've already had lots of that over the years.

I think we need another (pre-engagement) Jerry Meek or a Howard Dean to be the next NCDP Chair. Someone who will follow the NCDP Plan of Organization.

In my opinion I can't see someone who only served one term of elected office, lost a statewide primary and has never really been involved in the Democratic Party at any level is ready to lead the Party at the state level. Sorry - in my opinion I just don't see it.

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

listen to the candidates

I've formed my views from actually listening to what the candidates have to say, and I'd invite you to do the same, rather than speculating on their backers before you've done that.

I'm not going to attempt to speak for Mansfield in laying out a detailed plan that I'm sure is still in formation--and properly so--in part through the consultations he's carrying out now with Democrats around the state. That's what he was doing in Winston-Salem at the 5th District meeting on Saturday.

I was favorably impressed there with both his readiness to engage on the specifics of issues and organizational approaches, and by the thoughtful content of his comments on mobilization and message. Again, though, I don't have his details in writing and am not going to attempt to write for him without authorization.

There will be opportunities for readers of this forum to engage with Mansfield and the other candidates directly. I encourage them to take those opportunities.

Dan Besse

what connections?

I can't recall that, and couldn't find any relevant reference with an online search. I believe that SEANC paid for some attack ads during the primary, but I didn't see them and don't know what they alleged. If you can recall the specifics, I'll certainly see what I can find out.

The first person who recommended his candidacy to me during the lt. gov. primary was a long-time environmental activist.

Dan Besse

Mansfield did join with the Rs on an issue I followed.

Don't know why Sen. Mansfield voted as he did, presumably due to professional ties. I attended the committee hearing and meetings and spoke to NC Senate leaders about a ER malpractice bill that I opposed.

My best recollection is that he voted with the GOP on that one--a significant bill that Sen. Martin Nesbitt opposed strongly.

Martha Brock

Randy Voller just signed on

Randy Voller brings the grassroots experience I do not think Eric Mansfield has, or will gain. We need someone proven in the trenches, more than just a stint in the legislature. I also do not think that being either black or female should be the litmus test for the next chair. It should be proven ability at the local and regional level, which Randy brings.



No litmus tests

I can't vote for NCDP Chair, but I would like to say I don't agree with litmus tests of race or sex. However, I also find it hard to believe there is not a single Democratic Woman capable and ready to serve in that office.

As PR Latta of Raleigh mentioned to me this week, the local Democratic Women in Wake County and in other counties do a lot of fund raising and grass roots work. I would just like to encourage some of the qualified women to offer themselves as candidates.

I am impressed by Randy Voller's experience, and I could support him. I just want to see a level playing field for women in the Party.

Martha Brock

Had a good discussion about the Chair candidates

at Jane's political salon last night. Most people weren't familiar with Voller and Mansfield, but a few were very familiar. One long-time activist had become a big fan of Voller after initially being skeptical ... based specifically on his strategy and execution in Chatham County. She was pretty convincing.

Excused absence

This says there were no Republicans against amendment 1 and no Democrats for amendment 1 if I'm reading it right. It does list some Democrats who were absent though.

Exc. Absence: Senator(s): Mansfield; Walters; White

I do thank Sen. Mansfield for the opposition to amendment 1 in the video he did with Protect NC Families and any other activism against it.

But unless his position has evolved from what he said it was here on Blue NC earlier this year, I can't support him for chair. I very much believe in the ability for people's positions to evolve, I've seen it many times among friends, family, and acquaintances. So I hope he will take the opportunity to readdress marriage equality.

Finally, as an ordained Baptist minister, I do believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

Read more:

We can't go backwards on this issue from what we had with David Parker supporting equality.

Thank you for reminding us of Mansfield's

positions and statements regarding equality. Sounds like he's not quite with the program. Perhaps this is the thing that was lurking around the dark corners of my mind ... I thought it had something to do with lobbyists. I was wrong there it would seem, but he is wrong on equality. He will not have my vote in Durham.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

I'd like to see other NCDP officers actually do something...

...other than sit up on stage and look bored.

If we actually gave them something to do - like be in charge of statewide committees for precinct organization and party building, or GOTV efforts, or platforms and resolutions - and held their feet to the fire on performing those duties, we might actually get a group of people who have served the Party and who are capable of running a meeting - and of moving on up to running for Chair.

What do any of the candidates say about giving the other NCDP Party officers some real responsibility?

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

In all honesty...

...I'd rather here how Mansfield feels about partybuilding and GOTV strategy that effect the Democratic Party than how he feels about particular public policy issues.

You see - in the Democratic Party, public policy stands come from our Resolutions and Platforms process. We hold meetings from the precinct level on up, and in those meetings we debate and vote on issues. The majority wins.

I do believe that our party policy on LGBT issues has already been very well established. I'd ask Mansfield and any other candidate for State Party offices how they will work to build the Party from the precincts on up to get out the vote to win back a majority that can turn our party platform into public policy.

Sorry - but I believe in looking at the "process".

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting