Virginia Democrats pick new ED

A nice piece from the Virginia Pilot.

I wonder what Terry Mcauliffe, former DNC chair and Gov. of Virginia sees that the simpletons of Hillsborough St. missed?

Has to make me wonder.

Virginia Democrats pick new executive director

Sources said Friday the state Democratic Party has chosen as its new executive director veteran political hand Robert Dempsey -- he recently held the same role for the North Carolina party -- barely one week after Virginia's Republican Party picked a new staff leader.


Dempsey parachutes into Virginia after being unceremoniously dumped in February by the Democratic chairman of a North Carolina state party in disarray, The News & Observer newspaper reported roughly two months ago.

Edited: Please link to original articles, please don't cut and paste entire texts, and please use quote format when quoting.


So happy to see this

Robert and I did butt heads a couple of times during Voller's interference with Union County...but that ended after Dempsey had been here long enough to see what was really going on.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

There was another blog posting mentioned in the linked article a

Dempsey arrives just months after former executive director Lauren Harmon reportedly left her Virginia post following an 11-month run capped by political victory but dampened by organizational frustration, according to the Blue Virginia blog.

So another state party had a problem with their ED. But their problem was totally different than what we had in NC.

Their ED quit - left on her own - after 11 months on the job.

DPVA Executive Director Lauren Harmon Heads Back to Ohio After by: lowkell
Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 12:55:36 PM EST

Well, that didn't last long. After being hired as Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Virginia just 11 months ago (in February 2013), Lauren Harmon has now headed back to Ohio. What happened?

*According to Democratic insiders, Harmon was "treated really badly here," she was "marginalized," "not allowed to do anything," and made promises that "were never kept." For instance, she "couldn't even fix a fax machine without permission," had "no control over her own budget or anything." Harmon reportedly "felt totally abandoned."

*I'm also told by multiple sources that Harmon was undermined by DPVA Chair Charniele Herring's Chief of Staff, Zachary Rickard, who supposedly also helped recruit Harmon in the first place from Ohio, where they both had served in the state Democratic Party. Whether any of this was with Charniele Herring's knowledge and/or approval is unclear, but I'm told that Herring isn't particularly "hands-on" or engaged/interested in the job, per se (I'm told by multiple sources that she's mostly interested in setting herself up to run for Lt. Governor in 2017).

*More broadly, I've been hearing for a long time, from numerous sources, that DPVA was treated essentially as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the McAuliffe for Governor campaign during 2013, and that its Executive Director, Lauren Harmon, had little/no autonomy, little/no ability to develop relationships or a knowledge set.

I'm also sorry to see that DPVA continues to be treated with little if any respect, not allowed to develop into a strong organization whose #1 goal is to build up Virginia Democrats year in/year out, regardless of the comings and goings of transitory campaigns, candidates, etc.

P.S. On a related note, another Democratic insider told me, "DPVA will never change until it has a real election for Chair."

So it seems that the DPVA ED left on her own because she couldn't make the changes that the grassroots wanted - since the DPVA appears to be controlled by their governor and the political Establishment.

And what's with all these people coming in from OH? Aren't there any people capable of doing these jobs living in their own state? We are lucky to have Casey as our ED!

And a comment on that blog posting:

DPVA Woes (4.00 / 1)
I saw some stirrings of life in the DPVA this past year when there was at least an attempt to assist local committees in growing their committees and their effectiveness in elections. Perhaps it's inevitable. When Mark Warner was governor, the DPVA was simply an extension of the Warner campaign. When Tim Kaine was governor, ditto. Now, McAuliffe.

This obsession with making the DPVA the slave of the state-wide ticket might yield a more effective party apparatus if the governor was able to stand for reelection. But, with the one-term Virginia tradition, once the governor is elected, he (no reason to be politically correct by saying, "he or she") has no built-in commitment to the continued strength of the DPVA. Others looking to the next governor's race evidently figure they will build their own apparatus to control the DPVA in the future.

That leaves it up to us to build our local committees ourselves. DPVA won't help. (Oh, and I absolutely agree that, "DPVA will never change until it has a real election for chair." When the Central Committee meets to "vote" for the chair, the fix is already in.)

So it seems like the situation is or was exactly the reverse of what it was/is in NC. In VA their ED was trying to build the Party for the grassroots and was foiled by the Establishment who wanted the ED to work ONLY for the top-ticket candidate. While in NC, our reform-minded grassroots Chair was foiled by an ED who was working for the Establishment who only wanted to work for the top-ticket candidate.

If an Establishment ED is what they want in VA, they have what they want/need. Their loss is our gain!

Let's just hope that Robert puts down more roots in VA than he did in NC - at bare minimum get an VA DL, register his car there, and register to vote in NC!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting

Another way to look at it....

...come from folks who think she was picked to be subordinate to the McAuliffe campaign to begin with - back in March 2013!

After Executive Director Dave Mills was forced out, the McAuliffe campaign stepped in to demand to make the decision on who would replace Mills. The internal candidate was DPVA Political Director Clark Mercer, who was not favored by team McAuliffe. The job was shopped around to a number of national operatives who couldn't say "NO" fast enough.

When the tier one and tier two candidates for the job had all pulled out of the running, the decision came down to Mercer against Lauren Harmon from Ohio. Now you might think the only state with a competitive Governor's race in the country would draw some of the Executive Directors of other state parties, right? Or up and coming political stars? Nope.

In fact, Harmon- who was selected for the job- was the Deputy Political Director at the Ohio Democratic Party. Yes, you are reading that correctly. The new Executive Director of DPVA was in such a low position in her last job that she didn't even report in to the Executive Director of the Ohio Party- she reported to the Political Director.

Of course in Virginia, the political director at the Democratic Party was Clark Mercer- so Mercer was actually passed over for someone who would have been working for him had she been in Virginia instead of Ohio.

Everyone needs to understand what is happening here. This is the McAuliffe campaign installing a weak candidate into this position who will do whatever they are told. The party is no longer its own functioning wing- it is now totally controlled by Terry McAuliffe.

This is teaching me that the parties need to stop being rubber-stamps for the top-dogs and start taking action for their own survival in the age where consultants are trying to hijack the party for candidates and/or donors!

Chris Telesca
Wake County Verified Voting