NC Democrats’ No. 2 official resigning amid conflict

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

RALEIGH (AP) — The No. 2 leader at the North Carolina Democratic Party is resigning from her post, citing conflict with party Chairman Randy Voller after they’ve held their respective posts for just four months.
First Vice-Chair Nina Szlosberg-Landis of Raleigh emailed the several hundred members of the state party’s executive committee Monday night to announce she’s stepping down effective Tuesday.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Associated Press, Szlosberg-Landis said she’s “become increasingly less comfortable with the tone and practices of the leadership of the party.” Voller has been criticized by some committee members for how he handled the departure of the previous executive director and other intraparty transactions.
Szlosberg-Landis, who is a well-known fundraiser in Democratic circles, said she had promised to work with Voller to “raise money, communicate our agenda, and create an environment of trust, transparency and accountability” at party headquarters.
“It has become clear to me, this is not the will of the chairman,” she wrote.
Voller, the Pittsboro mayor, didn’t immediately respond to the letter late Monday night, writing in a text message that he had just returned from a town board meeting.
Voller was elected party chairman in February in a close vote over former U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, pledging to work to revive the party after two poor election cycles that led to Republican control of both the executive and legislative branches. The GOP-controlled legislature redrew the state’s political boundaries, and Republicans now hold nine of North Carolina’s U.S. House seats. State Republicans also have raised more money than Democrats.
Since his election, Voller has faced questions about his use of a party credit card during a March trip to a Las Vegas casino to watch basketball games. He said he paid the $3,300 balance in full.
A group of Democrats then signed a petition asking the party’s senior leaders to remove Voller as interim executive director for what they said were violations of procedure and his efforts to solidify power by naming close allies to key positions. Voller had replaced the previous director and named himself chairman but says he accepted only a $1 salary. Party leaders two weeks ago approved a permanent replacement recommended by a search committee led by Voller.
Democratic strategist and media consultant Frank Eaton also posted an online video questioning Voller’s handling of party finances and the “bullying” of party staff. Voller wrote later that Eaton and others who didn’t want him elected chairman were undermining “efforts to unify and energize the party and create a stable environment to win in 2014.”
Szlosberg-Landis was a state Board of Transportation member for 12 years in the administrations of Govs. Mike Easley and Beverly Perdue. In another email to friends, she wrote that she’s currently raising money for state House Democrats and for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is working to get U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan re-elected next year.
Szlosberg-Landis was elected first vice-chair the same day Voller was elected chairman.
She wrote her resignation “in no way signals a retreat from working to elect Democrats.”