Levy wins second vice chair of state Democratic party

Published 3:35 pm Monday, February 9, 2015

One of the two Rowan County residents vying for an officer spot in the North Carolina Democratic Party was successful on Saturday. The other is now calling on Democrats to leave and form a new party.

The State Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic party elected Patsy Keever as its new chair, by more than 50 percent of the 560 members of the committee. Keever was previously the party’s first vice chair. The second place vote-getter at 169 votes was Marshall Adame, who is a former U.S. congressional candidate from Jacksonville.

The top two vote getters only left 22 votes for the rest of the candidates, one of which went to Rowan County resident Constance Johnson.

But Johnson wasn’t the only one running in the North Carolina Democratic Party elections. Former Rowan County Democratic Party chairwoman Veleria Levy ran for and won second vice chair of the state party on a ticket that included Keever. Levy, who stepped down as Rowan County chairwoman last year to take care of family matters, said she was asked by Keever to run for the position and couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“Through these last two terms as Rowan County chair, I have worked to build grassroots coalitions around local candidates and sustained a strong group of dedicated Democrats to represent our party’s ideas at the local level,” Levy said in an emailed statement. “This is where the hard work gets done, but it’s become clear to me that we need leaders of the state party who understand the support and resources we need at the county and district level.”

Holders of the first and third vice chair positions were both re-elected to another term. Zack Hawkins, a Beaufort County native, was re-elected to the first vice chair position. Andy Ball, of Boone, was re-elected to the third vice chair position.

When contacted by phone Monday about the election, Johnson said, “I don’t have anything to comment” and hung up.

However, she posted a lengthy status update on her public Facebook page that explicitly criticized Levy: “The state Democratic Party of NC has elected a black woman that likes to exclude, discriminate, and violate people of her own race named Veleria Levy. She will now use her position over people to inspire them to do all types harm to people of color.”

Later in the same post, Johnson encouraged voters to leave the Democratic Party, again mentioning Levy.

“What we have to do now to protect ourselves is move to form a new Democratic Liberation Party that welcomes all people and abides strictly to the laws,” Johnson wrote in her Facebook post. “If you are interested in winning in 2016 the only way is to leave this state party. They have exhausted all funds and brought in those that have never run for or won elections, namely Levy.”

Johnson last ran for State Senate District 34, but lost the election. She has also unsuccessfully run for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education.

Levy and Johnson have somewhat of a history of conflict. Just before the election, Levy said she thought Keever would be the best candidate for chair of the state Democratic Party. While she was running for State Senate, Johnson posted a lengthy YouTube video that was critical of Levy.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.