• 73°

NAACP leader may join NC Dems leadership

RALEIGH (AP) — The North Carolina Democratic Party chairman said Monday he’ll name a new interim executive director later this week, and it appears former national NAACP leader Benjamin Chavis is his choice.
Chairman Randy Voller told fellow Democrats in an email he’ll announce a replacement Wednesday for Robert Dempsey, whom Voller confirmed in an interview was fired Sunday.
Patsy Keever, the party’s first vice chairwoman, said in an interview Monday she disagreed with Dempsey’s firing and believed he was doing a good job. Keever said Voller told her Sunday night that Chavis was his choice to succeed Dempsey.
Voller told me “that in fact was his plan” to hire Chavis, Keever said.
When asked earlier Monday if Chavis was his pick, Voller responded he had “no comment at this point.” But he said in his email to Democrats that the choice would mark “the return of a North Carolina native and national leader.”
“Our intent is to have a Democratic revival in the state of North Carolina,” Voller said in the interview.
Chavis said in an email statement to The Associated Press that “as a native of North Carolina, I strongly support and share the leadership vision of Chairman Randy Voller and the N.C. Democratic Party.” He did not respond specifically to a question as to whether he would become the next executive director.
Voller said any replacement would be an interim choice and need the approval of the party’s 40-member executive council to become permanent.
Chavis is an Oxford native largely out of North Carolina politics and social action until recently. He was a member of a group wrongly convicted of firebombing a Wilmington grocery store in 1971. He served about five years in jail and prison before his release. Then-Gov. Beverly Perdue pardoned Chavis and other members of the “Wilmington 10” in late 2012.
In 1993 Chavis, then a minister in the United Church of Christ, was named executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He was fired in 1994 after admitting that he used NAACP funds to settle a sexual discrimination case against him without consulting the board. He converted to Islam and helped organize the Million Man March in 1995.
Voller touted Chavis’ endorsement when he ran for party chairman last year. Voller narrowly defeated his rival in the party’s election. A vocal bloc of activists has criticized Voller’s leadership and tried unsuccessfully to remove him from the job. Voller also has faced questions about some business-related tax debt and a party fundraising trip.
Voller wouldn’t give further details about the circumstances for terminating Dempsey, whom Voller helped pick while leading a search committee last spring, saying it was a personnel matter. Dempsey wasn’t talking Monday. Late Monday, party spokesman Micah Beasley resigned “in light of recent events,” according to his one-sentence letter to Voller.
Dempsey’s dismissal is the latest in a string of public troubles for the state Democratic Party going back before Voller’s arrival in early 2013. The party is trying to rebound after losing the General Assembly to Republicans in 2010 and the governor’s office in 2012 to GOP Gov. Pat McCrory.
Voller tried to calm the party faithful in Monday’s email, saying that on Monday morning the doors of the party headquarters “opened as usual for the business of electing Democrats to serve the people of North Carolina.”

The state party underwent internal turmoil in 2012 stemming from accusations against party executive director Jay Parmley by a male employee. Parmley resigned from his job but denied any sexual harassment. Top Democratic elected officials called on then-Chairman David Parker to resign. He offered his resignation in May, but a majority of party regulars declined to accept it.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native

Education

RSS administration will recommend selling Faith Elementary property to charter school

Business

Inspired by advice from father-in-law, Angela Mills launches her own business in memory of him

Local

Rowan County Democrats re-elect leaders, pass resolutions

Local

Baseball: Memories come alive in Ferebee book

Local

During Child Abuse Prevention Month, professionals reflect on detecting abuse in a virtual world

Business

Biz Roundup: Small Business Center announces spring slate of workshop for business owners

Clubs

Kiwanis Pancake Festival starts Friday

Local

Rowan fire marshal seeks to clear up confusion, worry caused by solicitation letter

Education

Fun every day: Fifth anniversary for Yadkin Path Montessori School

Nation/World

Charles: Royal family ‘deeply grateful’ for support for Philip

News

North Carolina sites to resume J&J vaccines after CDC review

News

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Playoff time means get ready for ‘big-boy football’

High School

High school football: Hornets overpower South to secure playoff spot

Crime

Jeffrey MacDonald won’t be released despite deteriorating health

Business

Amazon warehouse workers reject union in Alabama

Nation/World

Ex-NFL player’s brain to be probed for trauma-related harm after Rock Hill shootings

Education

Duke University to require COVID vaccinations for fall term

Education

Cooper OKs bill offering K-12 students summer school option

High School

High school football: Record night for Pinckney as East cruises; Carson wins thriller in OT