Political notebook: Rowan Democratic leaders wait to choose chairman endorsement

Published 12:10 am Saturday, January 10, 2015

One of Salisbury’s own is running for chairman of a state political party, but neither the current or previous Rowan County Democratic chair are saying whether they’d endorse Constance Johnson in February.

Johnson, a Salisbury native, is one of four people who have announced an interest in the North Carolina Democratic Party chairman position. Johnson announced her interest in late December.

The other announced candidates include current First Vice-Chair Patsy Keever, who previously served in the state House representing Asheville; a Charlotte transgender activist Janice Covington Allison and former Congressional candidate Ron Sanyal, who is from Raleigh.

The vote will be in early February and be conducted among voting members of the Democratic State Executive Committee. Rowan County has six votes, said Veleria Levy, who is the previous chairman of the Rowan Democratic Party and the current first vice-chair of the 8th District. Both Levy and current Rowan Democratic chairman Geoffrey Hoy have a vote in the February election, but neither endorsed a candidate when asked.

Hoy, who became Rowan’s chairman late last year, said he would rather not talk about the race or his vote until all candidates are announced.

Levy described Keever as a top contender when describing qualities of each candidate.

“Whenever you’re considering someone to run for chair, of course the first vice-chair is the first person that comes to mind,” she said. “That person has already been mirroring what the chair has done. Not to mention that [Keever] has legislative experience and she can fundraise. There are a number of things that make her qualified, but that doesn’t discount the other people.”

Levy, who was chairwoman of the Rowan County Democratic Party for four years, said she applauded Allison for her courage in running as a transgender activist. She said Sanyal’s resume includes being significantly involved with the Democratic Party in North Carolina.

When asked about Johnson, Levy said: “The chair has to show leadership qualities within the Democratic Party and I have not seen her take that leadership in the Rowan County party.”

Johnson’s most recent political history includes running for the Salisbury-Rowan County School Board in 2012 and the North Carolina Senate against incumbent Andrew Brock in 2014. She was unsuccessful in both attempts at elected office. She also hasn’t held any leadership positions within the Rowan Democratic Party, Levy said.

Johnson didn’t return requests for comment about her candidacy for the state chair position.

NC Congressional Representatives wager food on Panthers-Seahawks game

Two North Carolina Congressional Representatives are betting on the Panthers to make it to the NFC Championship.

Reps. Alma Adams, D-12, and Robert Pittenger, R-9, are putting a batch of North Carolina food on the line against three congressional representatives from Washington.

The Washington representatives are wagering a basket of northwestern state treats that includes: smoked salmon, beer from Redhook Brewery, Oberto Beef Jerky, POP! Gourmet Popcorn, a bag of Skittles and 12th Can Pale ale from Hilliard’s Beer.

The North Carolina food on the line includes Bojangles chicken, Krispy Keme Donuts and slow-smoked Barbecue.

The wager is simple, whoever wins, takes the food.

“While the Panthers may have their own ‘Superman,’ we’re confident that the Legion of Boom and Beastmode will prevail in the end and extend Cam Newton’s record agains the Seahawks to 0-4,” said Reps. Jim Mcdermott, D-Wash.; Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Suzan Delbene, D-Wash, in a joint statement.

The North Carolina representatives fired back with their own smack talk in a news release about the wager.

“Just like the Falcons and Cardinals, the Seahawks are another bird to be gobbled by the Panthers,” Pittenger said. “Is it true they taste like chicken?”

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246