The saga at NC Democratic Party took another strange turn on Saturday. Embattled Chairman David Parker submitted his resignation to the Democratic Party State Executive Committee, only to have the committee refuse to accept it. The move was widely seen as being engineered by David Parker himself. Mr. Parker has been under fire for his handling of a sexual harassment allegation against former Party Executive Director Jay Parmley.
Democratic Party leaders from Governor Bev Perdue to the newly minted Gubernatorial nominee Lt. Governor Walter Dalton had called for Parker’s resignation. Reactions to the events were varied with a spokesperson for Lt. Gov. Dalton stating that,“The lieutenant governor is surprised and disappointed” and Democratic guru Gary Pearce writing a tongue in cheek post on his blog Talking about Politics that: “There is only one logical explanation for what happened at the Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting: It was a vast right-wing conspiracy…”
The News and Observer had another more serious explanation. It was all about the benjamins.
To hear Democratic activists tell it, Parker is their hook up. Here’s how they say it works: Parker promised the party’s district chairs taxpayer money this election season, even though others wanted to spend it differently. So without him as chairman, local party activists weren’t guaranteed to get their money — a $1 million pot of state tax dollars split among them for get-out-the-vote operations, often without much scrutiny as to how it is spent.
This latest drama is likely to continue to sour relations between the North Carolina Democratic Party and the Obama Administration which had been widely seen as helping to push Chairman Parker out the door. News reports have suggested that the Obama campaign has grown increasingly pessimistic about their chances of winning again in North Carolina. The campaign has been alienated by the passage of the Marriage Amendment in NC right as the President was in the process of evolving his position on gay marriage, and by push back by labor unions against the hosting of the Democratic National Convention in a right-to-work state. Needless to say, it is looking like it might be an awkward time in Charlotte this September.