Dome: Democratic Party spokesman leaves quietly

FROM STAFF REPORTSDecember 2, 2012 

Walton Robinson, spokesman for the N.C. Democratic Party, announced his resignation last week. His statement offered no explanation for his immediate departure after 15 months on the job.

In an email Friday, Robinson said he is “leaving to pursue other professional opportunities. That’s all.”

Executive Director Tammy Brunner said Friday that other staff reductions are expected, as is typical “in an election year such as this.” Asked whether the party’s struggling financial situation affected the decision, Brunner said, “as always finances play a role in the reduction of employees.”

Robinson, a Tennessee native, joined the party in August 2011 and guided its communications strategy through a tumultuous year, in which the incumbent Democratic governor announced she wouldn’t seek re-election and controversies plagued the party, not to mention the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.

A scandal enveloped the state party earlier this year after a staffer accused former executive director Jay Parmley of sexual harassment. It led to Parmley’s resignation and calls for party Chairman David Parker to step down. Parker indicated he would step aside but then maneuvered to keep the helm at a controversial state party meeting in May. Parker represented the state at the DNC in Charlotte even as a lawsuit about the matter remains unresolved.

Democrats lost the statehouse in 2010, and the 2012 elections delivered more bad news for them: Republican Pat McCrory won the governor’s race, the GOP increased its majorities in the legislature and Democrats lost a bid for control of the N.C. Supreme Court.

Robinson came to North Carolina after working as press secretary for the Indiana State Teachers Association.

Rating of Perdue improves

Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue is under fire in her final weeks at the helm. But as she rides into the sunset she can take heart in this: She is no longer the least popular governor in the country.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn now wears that crown. A new survey from the Democratic Public Policy Polling firm released Thursday put the Democrat’s approval rating at 25 percent with 64 percent disapproving of the job he is doing.

A PPP poll at the beginning of November put Perdue’s approval rating at 31 percent with 54 percent disapproving of her performance.

Of course, North Carolina’s lame-duck chief executive may see her numbers change before she leaves office Jan. 5.

PPP is expected to poll the state in early December and Perdue is angering some for circumventing her own executive order to fill a vacancy on the N.C. Supreme Court and engineering the lease of a $58 million state property in her final days.

PPP polled approval ratings for 42 of 50 governors in the country.

Poll says NRA agenda rejected

Sponsors of a new poll on gun control say voters in the swing states of North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado reject the National Rifle Association’s agenda, despite the gun lobby spending $12 million in the last election. Voters in those states aligned with President Barack Obama over Gov. Mitt Romney, favor background checks on all gun sales and want a greater federal emphasis on gun control, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The poll was conducted by a Democratic and a Republican polling firm and focused on those three states on Nov. 7 and 8. Phone interviews were conducted with 500 people who voted in the general election. The margin of error was 4.4 percent.

Staff writers Austin Baird, John Frank and Craig Jarvis

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