Who's going to be the next state Democratic party chair?

From everything I can pick up, the question of who will lead the N.C. Democratic Party next year is wide open.

I personally believe it's important that the new chair be prepared to take an aggressive role as Democratic spokesperson in calling out the new Republican legislative majorities on their extreme policy positions. This needs to start immediately, before the incoming GOP regime has an opportunity to define itself under the false mantle of fiscal responsibility.

Anyone who has studied the actual behavior of contemporary Republican legislators understands that the real priorities are to gut environmental protections, public health programs, and efforts to help the disadvantaged, and press an agenda of privatizing our public schools.

Who can do the job of leading the Democratic truth squad in North Carolina? The floor is open for nominations.


How about you?

You've got the credentials and the skills.

Stan Bozarth

Frontpaged for relevance

Our (state) Party needs to take advantage of its media access to both define the bad and pursue the good, or it will continue to be perceived as merely a hit-and-miss electioneering machine.

And I think Dan would make a great Chairman.

thanks but no

Thanks for the good word Stan & Steve. But while I may have some of the necessary skills, there are others at which I'm not so good--and I'm not personally positioned to be able to do it at this time anyway. I am seriously interested in ideas about others who could do it now, and whom I could help support.

Dan Besse

What are the skill sets someone would need?

What are the skill sets someone would need in the position now? And how is it different than the skill set that was required when we were in the majority.

I think we need someone who is 1) Progressive. People aren't going to get excited over a middle of the road candidate at the helm. and 2) Good communicator. If we're going to have someone running a truth squad, they are going to have to get their message out there. 3) Running a large machine - I'm sure there a lot of management, administrative, fundraising, event coordinating, and policy analysis skills that go into a position like that too, as well as a good grasp of the whole state & how it differs by region. I put the running the large machine skill last, b/c its no longer as large.

While I voted for Dan, since he's not up for it, my second favorite choice at the time for Lt. Gov was Hampton Dellinger. He seemed progressive. I still hear him on WCHL radio from time to time which attests to communication skills. And he's run a statewide campaign so maybe he has that sense of the state. Also, he lives in Durham, which puts near the center of the action in the triangle near the capital. I wonder if Marshall, Lewis, or Cunningham would want to throw their hat in the ring? Two of them already live near the triangle (not that its a prerequisite, just as a gauge of how easy the transition might be for them).

I'm sure I should be looking beyond past candidates for office, but their names come to mind first b/c of the name recognition that comes with having run for a statewide office.

The list below is simply brainstorming, combing various old lists on bluenc of people who might make good senate candidates from 2010, for possible senate candidates for 08, and for those who could potentially run against Ellmers for Etheridges seat, and so on, and names off the NCDP website, and 2008 election results for statewide races, and anyone else that popped into my head.

There will be a lot of obviously non-viable choices or choices who wouldn't be interested, but the whole point of brainstorming is to come up with a long list of ideas, and then narrow down to the good ones.

Dan Besse
Hampton Dellinger
Elaine Marshall
Ken Lewis
Cal Cunningham
Jim Neal
Marcus Williams
Duskin Lassiter
Howard Staley
Richard Moore
Dennis Nielsen
Grier Martin
Roy Cooper
Sam Spencer
David Young
Andrew Whalen
Sallie Leslie
Kerra Bolton
Sara Forman
Adriadn Ortega
Alicia Davis
C. Jane Johnson
Jeff Mallare
Stephen J. Mallinson
Thomas Belch
Leslie Martes
Dana Neely
Jill Simkin
Kyle Layman
Krista Anderson
Casey Wilkinson
Joey Polonsky
Charles Malone
Robin Anderson
Debra McHenry
Chris Heagarty
Derald Hafner
Ann Worthy
Susan Harris
Thomas Mills
A.J. Carrillo
Bob Etheridge

Like Dan, flattered and uninterested.

But as Dreier et al. mention in Place Matters, the lack of vibrant local political parties has had a detrimental effect on our democracy. Jerry Meek helped buck the trend, but we need visionary leadership for the next couple of years to lead a new debate and a new Democratic Party.

Who Are We & What Do We Believe?

Before we can even Consider Leadership We Need to consider this. We are a Fractured that is Clear. We have to find away to weed out if not marginalize the Wolves in Sheeps cloths that only seek to undermine the Party. I see it as clear as day.

We need a Consistent Message. That goes back to what I said earlier Who Are We? Are we going to continue to support candidates that don't support the party platform or do we embrace our Progressive Values and seek Party Purity?

The RepubliCONs won because on the National Level they were able to be a cohesive unit and stay on message. They kept saying the same crap over and over and over again even if it was wrong and in most cases it Worked they controlled the Media on all levels. If we don't get a Real Good Simple Message on the National Leveland Stay on it it won't matter who is the State Chair. We need to be getting Rid of Tim Kaine and get Howard Dean back in there.

Anthony D. Hall,

Fighting for Truth, Justice, Freedom and the American Way!

Charles Carter?

I am aware that David Parker of Iredell County is campaigning hard for the post.

I also recently heard Charles Carter of Buncombe County recommended as a possible candidate.


Dan Besse

I don't know much about Carter, but...


...I trust if Gordon Smith is saying good things about him, he must have something going for him.


By the time Buncombe County Democratic Party Chair Charles Carter took the stage at the Renaissance hotel last night to brandish a copy of the Asheville Citizen-Times for a “Dewey defeats Truman”-style moment, it was clear that the county had defied the national trend, with local Democrats in most cases winning handily over their GOP rivals.

Pointing to a headline that declared “Buncombe GOP Voters Make Gains,” Carter savored the moment.

“Really?” he said. “Let’s remember this. Let’s remember that our volunteers came out and worked hard to make sure this didn’t happen. Buncombe stayed blue!”

Being a county party chair certainly seems like a reasonable stepping stone to a higher level party chair, and it'd be nice to have the energy and credibility that comes with a recent win.

On the other hand, Parker seems to have the stronger resume on paper.

Standing in front of a Heath Shuler sign

...is not a way to encourage the party membership.

Anyone willing to shill for Democrats running as GOP-lite does not need to be in party leadership.

Some organizing post that suits the achievements and skills demonstrated, perhaps.

As the party looks to the future, remember that trying to sell the Democratic party as GOP-lite is not the path to a sustainable majority in a two-party system.


Parker is also on the Shuler

public supporter list according to his facebook page, and he's not even from or in Shuler's district.

My aim was to emphasize this part more (& I agree a Shuler victory isn't much to be proud of):

with local Democrats in most cases winning handily over their GOP rivals

Parker should have been chair 2 years ago.

He was the better candidate then. Not sure what the SEC saw in Young.

Parker should be a strong candidate this year, but I'll reserve judgement until all the contenders are known.

I actively oppose gerrymandering. Do you?

David Parker for NCDP Chair

We don't really need a chairman who has run and lost a statewide campaign. What we need is somebody who has worked in and understands the party from the Precinct level up to the National level. David Parker understands, having been there, done that. It seems that too often we have had friends or supporters of the governor (Jerry Meek the exception) elected as Party Chair although they had no real experience in the Democratic Party organization. Party activists like me who do the grunt work day in and day out, not just during campaign season, need something besides what we've had for the last two years. An example is the website. The website went downhill during Jerry Meek's tenure and has become practically useless as far as I'm concerned. Who would have ever thought to look under the blog for the resolutions to be presented at the state convention? And if you were interested in seeing the agenda, don't you think that by clicking on more information under Convention, you could have found that? No -- just the time, date and location were listed. I finally found it after sending an email to headquarters. I think after enough calls went to headquarters asking about the agenda and resolutions, the chair finally sent out an email with the links, because they were so cleverly hidden on the website nobody could find them. Also, when you're at the local level trying to plan an event, there is really no easy way to find out by looking on the website if there has already been an event scheduled in a nearby county that candidates or elected officials may have already committed to. What in the world is wrong with putting a good old fashioned monthly calendar on the website for us to look at? If you haven't tried finding out what is happening in other counties, just go to the website and try to find out. You will waste precoius time clicking tab after tab! I could go on and on, but I won't. I'll just say this, if we don't get a party chair who understands what we need at the grassroots party level, knows and can work with and inspire the leaders at the local level, we're doomed. As hard as they try, OFA efforts can't do the job because so many of the people in OFA haven't really been involved in the party organization -- it's going to take the leadership at the local and district levels to keep the party going and we need a leader at the top who understands what we need to be able to do our jobs and lead.

Sweet Union Dem

Charles Carter

Timely post, Dan. Thanks for putting it up.

If Charles Carter is interested in this post, then I'd recommend y'all take a look at him.

He assembled a fantastic grassroots organizing effort in Buncombe County. The place was buzzing with volunteers throughout the final months. He's one of these guys who knows how to attract talent, organize them, then get out of the way and let them do their work. He managed to get a conservative candidate like Shuler to coordinate campaign efforts with progressive candidates like Susan Fisher and Patsy Keever. Carter also served in the State Senate back in the 90's until an accident landed him in the hospital for a year. I believe he was the youngest person ever elected to that position.

I certainly don't need an ideologue running the party. I want a State Chair who will build bridges, raise money, run an inspired field plan, and help County Parties get organized. For those things, Carter would be a good candidate.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us


to all for informative comments. I will be on the run this week, with limited time to check back on this post, but certainly continue to be interested in more information on the candidates who are out there and additional possibilities.

Dan Besse