The N.C. Republican Party has re-elected former Congressman Robin Hayes as its leader for the next two years.
GOP leaders from across the state picked Hayes last year as chairman to finish the term of Hasan Harnett, who was ousted from his position after a series of controversies. Hayes had served in Congress from 1999 to 2009 and had also served a term as NCGOP chairman.
Hayes will now serve a full two-year term as chair. In Saturday’s election at the NCGOP convention, Hayes defeated Jim Womack, a former Lee County commissioner who argued the party needed to improve after the defeat of Gov. Pat McCrory and several other statewide Republican candidates last year.
Hayes, however, told the convention that he was able to unite the party when he took over.
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“It’s not a lot of empty rhetoric, it’s results,” he said. “It’s time to make a choice – a chairman to unite or one who will divide.”
Hayes says he was able to fix fundraising woes the party had before he took over. “Our party was on the brink of disaster,” he said. “The decision to change leadership was tough. 2016 was too important to risk disaster.”
Hayes won with 56 percent of votes cast, and he had 62 percent of the “weighted vote” the GOP uses to account for counties that don’t bring a full delegation to the convention. Still, 445 convention delegates preferred Womack, who told them that “we did not win some vital races last year because we did not do the strategic planning.”
The NCGOP also had a contested election Saturday for vice chair. Michele Nix of Kinston won a second term over challenger Heather Grant, a former U.S. Senate candidate from Wilkes County.