Well it's official - David Parker is not going to run for re-election as NCDP Chair. I sincerely had hoped he'd run for re-election because, without a DNC Convention to make folks lose their minds (and perspective) he might have actually had a chance to do some serious party-building from the grassroots up.
So now the next question is - who will run for the office of NCDP Chair? Folks have floated several names around for the last few weeks since the November general election:
Being pushed by President Obama or OFA will be the kiss of death for me. Obama has no business endorsing the current DNC Chair to run for re-election since he's not a member of the DNC (under the by-laws he can't even vote). Much is being written about how Obama PERSONALLY endorsed her, but I am sure it's more about rewarding Axelrod/Messina/Plouffe for their work on his campaign and to ensure that they control the process within the DNC as they did from 2008-2012. Meaning who controls the millions (now billion) of $$ that determines who wins office and controls the trillions of federal money - and who protects the big money Wall Street donors from being sent to jail for wrecking our economy!
I don't care who Governor Perdue endorses. In my book, waiting till the last minute to decide she wasn't going to run again, then hoarding her campaign cash is reason enough not to pay attention to that recommendation. Adding her 2009 NCDP Chair endorsement to the mix and that seals the deal for me!
Eric Mansfield's name is at the top of the list for a good reason. I see some of the same people who were pushing to remove David Parker as Chair endorsing Eric Mansfield as NCDP Chair. Two prominent Mansfield endorsers aren't even SEC members - they are paid political operatives. One couldn't even be bothered to attend his precinct meeting when the precinct Chair personally invited him to the meeting.
While Mansfield is a nice guy who ran a campaign for Lt Governor, I am curious if he isn't being pushed on us in much the same way that David Young was pushed on us after he ran a losing campaign for Treasurer in 2009? We were promised new ways of doing things under Young, but we saw how well those new ways of doing things worked: a historic loss in the 2010 election year and after redistricting/OFA/DNC Convention we lost the Governor's race as well.
First and foremost, I want to know how many of the folks who are considering running (or being pushed into running) for NCDP Chair are active Democrats involved in their political party - how many of them really respect what the Party does and is supposed to do? I really can't support anyone running for that office who hasn't been active within the Democratic Party.
I also can't support anyone who might also be interested in running for political office at the same time they are serving as Chair. Or someone who is currently serving as an elected public official at the same time they serve as NCDP Chair. Sorry - we went through that in Wake County in 2009 and 2010, and we've been playing musical "Chairs" ever since.
I'd like to see someone with the experience and the resolve to lead the Party through at least 4 years and maybe even 8 years. We have got to stop thinking of this and any other position as one that some ambitious person wants to add to their resume and/or then drop-out after the next big election. It's gonna take years to rebuild the Party after OFA began their gut-job in June 2008 which led to the historic 2010 losses which in turn led to the 2012 loses.
I really think this needs to be a full-time job, like it was for Jerry Meek. And I'd like to see that person paid for their work - like the Republicans paid Tom Fetzer. We are able to pay our Chair, but we seem to lack the political will to actually do it.
I really want to see someone run for Chair who believes that the strength of the Party comes from the grassroots base of organized precincts who, through the process of deliberative meetings, come up with our by-laws (the rules we live by and operate under) and our platform (our public policy goals). Building up the Democratic Party by organizing more precincts and getting more people involved from the precinct on up means a more diverse and "democratic" Democratic Party.
A bigger Party with more really organized precincts means lower costs for campaigns since they will have a larger volunteer base for GOTV work. I know that strikes the paid political operatives right in their wallets and so don't support that.
I also see some folks talk about the need to raise money first and foremost. They seem to think that the Chair needs to be able to get money from big money donors. That's not going to happen from now on - the tide has changed directions and we can't count on the same sources for money that we got before. The Republicans are checking to see who the lobbyists donate to, and donations to the Democratic Party or Democratic candidates will effectively block those lobbyists from access to the legislators they need in order to do their work.
We need to grow our base and get our donations in larger numbers of small $$ donations. We need to engage the base and really listen to them - not just blow smoke and tell us they want change, then basically let the rich folks get their way again.
I'd like to see more Regional Field Directors hired to help build the Party - and not be loaned out to campaigns like they were in 2009 and 2010.
Any more ideas?
NCDP Elections February 2nd
You're missing a few on this list -
I think anyone considering this race needs to jump in by early January. No one on the list above is being "pushed on us" the way Mr. Young and other candidates have been, by either the Governor, Council of State, or The White House.
From my read of the lay of the land, Mr. Mansfield has the lead in support across the state. He'd be good on the phones and good in front of a camera in the NCGA Press Room. His lack of significant party organizing experience could hurt his chances, though.
Don't count David Parker out, as he has the votes in the room. We'll believe he's not a candidate when nominations close on February 2nd. We've seen that movie before.
Of the other potential candidates, Randy Voller, Sarah Anderson and Bob Etheridge have the most experience in the party, and could be ready on Day One. Randy and Sarah are both great. Having said that, they each have a few things against them in this race.
We need a Chair willing to spend the vast majority of their weeks raising money. On the phone, one-on-one dinners, regional meet and greets, etc. The ability and willingness to travel across the state seeing the grassroots work being done by good Democrats across the state is vitally important to county chairs.
You don't think Mansfield is being pushed by consultants?
Two consultants are pushing Mansfield. Neither are SEC members. One couldn't even be bothered to attend his local precinct meeting last year even though he was invited by his precinct Chair - me!
The days of County Party Chairs spending all their time on the phone dialing for dollars are over. With the GOP in charge, any lobbyist who donates to the Party is all but announcing they don't want access to the NCGA anymore!
And the GOP will no doubt kill taxpayer checkoff money.
The solution will be to raise money in small dollar amounts from the grassroots. Either at the precinct or county level from existing Democratic activists, or find some way to increase the number of Dems by doing something useful - like perhaps creating a Democratic group that people could join that would help us raise money.
Like joining a group called the "Fraternal Order of Loyal Democrats" that would sell low-priced group health insurance to members of the group. The only requirement would be that you could only join the group and continue to have access to the group health insurance benefit by being registered as a Democrat. Part of the membership fees and some of the premiums would go to the Party.
I suggested this to Wayne Goodwin back in 2010 over lunch. He said we'd need to wait till Obamacare worked through the courts. Since SCOTUS ruled that Obamacare is legal, let's build the grassroots by creating some really good reasons for more people to register as Dems and stay registered!
Wake County Verified Voting
Besse endorsing Mansfield
I see where Dan Besse is also endorsing Dr. Mansfield.