Under the Dome

February 27, 2014

Democrats to meet March 9 discuss leadership vacancy

The rudder-less N.C. Democratic Party’s top leadership will meet March 9 to pick its new executive director, a month after an abrupt firing put the party in turmoil once again.

The rudder-less N.C. Democratic Party’s top leadership will meet March 9 to pick its new executive director, a month after an abrupt firing put the party in turmoil once again.

A party spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the meeting of the executive council will take place at the Greensboro Democratic Party’s headquarters. But how the next day-to-day leader is selected remains unclear.

Party Chairman Randy Voller ousted former Executive Director Robert Dempsey on Feb. 9, a move that surprised most Democratic activists and came as the party searches for a path back to power after Republicans dominated the 2012 elections. Voller declined to provide a reason for the firing but party leaders said differences between the party and Kay Hagan’s U.S. Senate campaign contributed to the move.

Voller intended to put Ben Chavis in the post. But the Oxford native and civil rights leader’s tumultuous history at the NAACP and Nation of Islam prompted serious questions and put the brakes on Voller’s plan.

In a recent interview, Voller said he wants the next party leader to be a minority and North Carolina native. And he wants to upends the typical selection-by-committee process that led to Dempsey’s hiring. He said the party is accepting resumes for the job and he will take his cues from the executive council on how to hire the next leader.

Party spokeswoman Majorie Fields Harris said Thursday the party has not settled on a hiring process. State Director Casey Mann is currently serving as interim executive director.

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