Senate Seat Hopefuls To Meet Wednesday,With Final Vote Sept 8

CHAPEL HILL- Democratic Party officials will take two weeks to decide who will replace former state senator Ellie Kinnaird.

Matt Hughes, chair of the Orange County Democratic party, says plans are in place to appoint someone to fill the empty seat.

“I’m very optimistic that most of the concerns and the things that people are uncertain about will be cleared up pretty soon,” says Hughes.

The four-member committee charged with making the appointment will hold an information session for the public and potential candidates this Wednesday at the Post Office/Courthouse on East Franklin Street. Then, the committee will meet in the Chatham Community Library on September 8 to make nominations and formally vote.

Ellie Kinnaird announced last week she would step down from her seat in the Senate representing District 23, a position she held for 17 years.

Since then more than half a dozen people have put their names forward for consideration. The decision will be made by the Democratic Party’s District 23 Executive Committee, made up of two representatives from Orange and two from Chatham County.

But depending on whom the committee chooses, the selection of a successor could launch a new round of appointments.

Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton is not seeking re-election, but his current term runs through December. If he were to take the senate seat, the Board of Aldermen could choose to appoint someone to serve as mayor until the winner of the November election is sworn in. Current mayor pro-tem Lydia Lavelle is the lone candidate in the mayor’s race.

Hughes says if current House Representative Valerie Foushee makes the move to the senate, state party leaders will once again be responsible for choosing a replacement.

“There’s another committee of the Democratic Party, two representatives from Durham and two representatives from Orange, who would move forward with the process to fill that vacancy for House District 50,” says Hughes.

In addition to Chilton and Foushee, five others have declared their interest in the open Senate seat, including former State Representative Alice Bordsen, former Carrboro mayor Jim Porto, attorney Heidi Chapman, author and activist Amy Tiemann, and attorney Lynette Hartsell.

However, that list could grow, as eligible candidates can come forward at any time up until the start of the September 8 meeting.

At Wednesday’s information session, candidates will have three minutes each to make a statement. They’ll also face questions from the committee and there is time set aside for public comment. That meeting starts at 7 o’clock in the old Courthouse at 179 East Franklin Street.

To learn more about the appointment process, click here.

NC Democrats, Chairman Reach Complaint Settlement

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The chairman of North Carolina’s Democratic Party and four current or former party leaders are resolving their dispute.

The state party released a signed settlement agreement Monday settling an internal complaint last month filed against Chairman Randy Voller. The complaint accused Voller of exceeding his authority by dismissing the executive director and appointing several donors to a party governing board.

The parties went through mediation and all five signed a document agreeing that party rules are unclear on the issues and laying out guidance for moving ahead. The agreement also says Voller will direct the new executive director to end contracts with two firms that are at the center of another disagreement.

Voller has faced other criticism since getting elected in February. The party’s first vice-chair resigned last week.

Mayor Voller Cites Lack Of Leg. Control For Party Conflict

PITTSBORO – Mayor Randy Voller has been challenged recently by administrative members of the state Democratic party he chairs. However, he says the internal struggles could be the sign of the party’s lack of control in the House, Senate, or Governor’s office and the strong desire to get back in control of the historically blue state.

Mayor Voller was at the protests in Raleigh Monday. He spoke with Ron Stutts on the WCHL Tuesday morning news about the rally and the party issues.

***Listen to the Interview***

NC Democrats Face Intraparty Dispute With Voller

RALEIGH – Some North Carolina Democratic Party members have filed an internal complaint against new Chairman Randy Voller, saying he exceeded his authority by dismissing the executive director and creating new positions.

Four current or former party leaders have complained to a panel that handles intraparty disagreements. They want the Council of Review to remove Voller from his second post as interim executive director and reverse some of his actions.

A letter signed by party executive committee member John Burns of Raleigh says the complaint is not filed because of ill will for Voller, who was elected chairman in February. Burns says the group wants to enforce and clarify party rules and responsibilities.

Voller says he’s done nothing wrong and is in the interim post until a permanent executive director is hired.