Kinnaird’s Seat Likely To Be Filled Within 30 Days

Pictured: Ellie Kinnaird 

CHAPEL HILL – Following Ellie Kinnaird’s resignation Monday, questions remain of who will fill her seat in the state senate and how long the process will take.

Chair of the 4th Congressional District, Ted Benson, will preside over the meeting of the 23rd Senatorial District Executive Committee, the group charged with nominating someone to serve the remainder of Kinnaird’s term, which is up in 2014.

“Neither [state] statute nor the [N.C. Democratic Party’s] Plan of Organization has a firm time limit on that process, but I would hope to have it done within 30 days,” Benson said.

He said the Committee meets only in rare circumstances such as this. After the committee nominates a replacement, Benson said it is state law that N.C. Governor Pat McCrory must formally appoint the Committee’s nominee.

Benson said he will have to give five day’s notice to the Committee members once the date for the meeting is set.

The 23rd Senatorial District Executive Committee is made up of four Democratic officials, two from Orange and two from Chatham County. Samantha Cabe and Wanda Hunter will represent Orange County.

Matt Hughes, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, explained that Orange County will hold 446 votes and Chatham will hold 212.

“Those votes are weighted based on population. The counties receive one vote for every 300 people residing in their county, and that gives Orange County about two-thirds of the vote,” Hughes said.

Benson said it is his job to moderate the meeting, but he will not vote.

According to a statement on the Orange County Democratic Party’s website, the group said Monday, “The Orange County Democratic Party will treat filling this vacancy much like a primary election. We will be fair and impartial to all candidates and allow the process to work.”

Benson said registered Democrats over the age of 25, residing in the 23rd District, are eligible for consideration to fill Kinnaird’s vacancy. He clarified that they must go through the process with their respective presiding Democratic Parties.

Before a replacement is named, though, Benson said one of Chatham County’s Executive District Committee slots is currently vacant and has to be filled.

Jan Nichols, Chair of the Chatham County Democratric Party, said Monday that an emergency meeting is planned for Thursday.

“Thursday the Executive Committee of the Chatham County Democratic Party will meet, and we will meet for the purpose of electing somebody to that committee. We will then submit that name to the state party,” Nichols said.

Both Benson and Hughes said Kinnaird served the Democrat Party of North Carolina well during her nine terms as State Senator.

“I tremendously respect both her service and her decision to focus her energies on voter registration and counteract the most difficult aspects of the Voter ID Law that was recently passed,” Benson said.

Hughes echoed the sentiment, adding, “I’m pretty sure we will have a champion of the people who will be the people’s senator as Senator Kinnaird was, and I look forward to working with that person.”

If you’re interested in putting your name forward for Orange County or would like to know more about the process, contact Chair Matt Hughes at or 919-537-9568.

For Chatham County, contact, or visit the Chatham County Democratic Party’s website.

Matt Hughes on Kinnaird: She Showed Me The Ropes

CHAPEL HILL – Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, Matt Hughes, says he remembers Kinnaird when he first joined the Democratic Party and how she helped him get involved.

“When I first became active in the Democratic Party as a teenager actually, Senator Kinnaird was one of those out there, who was willing to really take me under her wing and show me ropes within the party and just also in North Carolina politics in general, my feeling is that Senator Kinnaird is approachable by members of the community” Hughes said.

Senator Kinnaird iss a former Mayor of Carrboro before moving to the State Senate to represent Orange and Chatham counties.  Hughes says since the beginning of her political career, Kinnaird has been approachable and is willing to listen to everyone about the issues.

“Senator Kinnaird has always been willing to engage with her constituents and really work with them as many of our elected officials in orange county do, but particularly Senator Kinnaird is someone who also has sought out an understanding of those who do not see things from her perspective in order to really construct a well-rounded view” Hughes commented.

Throughout her career, Kinnaird has accomplished many things and earned the respect of many people in the area, including Matt Hughes. Kinnaird’s resignation will leave a void in the State Senate with big shoes to fill.  Hughes says one of Kinnaird’s greatest aspects was that she would pursue the facts and learn an issue from all angles; he says hopes that her replacement will continue to be as open as her.

“What I hope is that the successor to Senator Kinnaird’s seat will be able to really represent all of district 23 Orange and Chatham County” Hughes said “to really have a firm understanding of the issues that are before the state senate and state legislature and how we play a role in that as a community”

Kinnaird served 8.5 terms as State Senator.

Rep. Insko Says She Understands Sen. Kinnaird’s Frustration

CHAPEL HILL – Senator Ellie Kinnaird announced Monday that she will resign from her spot on the State Senate representing Orange and Chatham County.  Democratic State Representative Verla Insko worked with Kinnaird for several years and said she thinks Kinnaird will spend her time helping other candidates for the Democratic Party.

“I think that she really wants to spend her time helping other candidates and helping put the senate caucus on strong footing” Insko said.

Kinnaird said one of the reasons she chose to resign was because she felt there was nothing she could do to help the situation.  The state legislature has already ended the long session, which is when most bills are filed, and in the upcoming short-session there is a limit to the bills that be filed.  Insko said she understands how it can be frustrating in the General Assembly at the time.

“It’s frustrating but it’s also partly because it is hard to actually make a difference,” Insko commented.

Insko worked with Kinnaird on several bills over the years and says she was known for many great things.

“I think her contribution was really to be always there ready to speak out on the issues ready to take a stand for social justice, a very clear record of support for social justice and equality” Insko said.

With Kinnaird resigning, an open spot will need to be filled in the North Carolina Senate.  Insko says she thinks that there are several candidates from the area that will be good for the position.

“Well there are many, many people in Orange County who could step in and do that job very well,” Insko stated. “We are blessed here with many very bright, competent leaders in the public and private sector too.”

Senator Kinnaird has a long history of supporting the citizens in the area and helping people as both a mayor of Carrboro and a State Senator.

To listen to our interview with Verla Insko click here.

Minister Robert Campbell on Kinnaird

Pictured: Minister Robert Campbell; Photo Courtesy Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP

CHAPEL HILL – Minister Robert Campbell has known Senator Kinnaird for many years, following her resignation he had this to say about both her political life and as a person:

Part One:

Part Two:

D.G. Martin’s Thoughts On Potential Replacements For Sen. Kinnaird

CHAPEL HILL – WCHL’s D.G. Martin shared his thoughts on Senator Ellie Kinnaird following the announcement of her resignation. Martin also talked about potential replacements for the open position.


You can hear the full interview, in three parts, below:

Verla Insko on Senator Kinnaird

CHAPEL HILL  – Democratic member for the North Carolina General Assembly, Verla Insko, worked with Senator Kinnaird for many years.  Following Senator Kinnaird’s resignation Insko had this to say:

Mayor Kleinschmidt On Kinnaird: “One Of The Bravest”

Pictured: Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt

CHAPEL HILL – Following Sen. Ellie Kinnaird’s resignation from the state senate, Chapel Hill Mark Kleinschmidt had these remarks to share following the announcement:

Part One:

Part Two: