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Instead of exploiting the Tea Party’s war on Establishment Republicans, Randy Voller seems set on replicating it in the Democratic Party.
Behind this week’s chaos is a history of hostilities between some party activists and what they see as the Establishment Enemy: elected officials in Raleigh and consultants who help elect them. It goes back to Howard Dean’s candidacy in 2004, which brought in enthusiastic grassroots activists, and Jerry Meek’s election as chair in 2005.
Meek did a good job keeping everybody together. But Voller seems intent on keeping himself in power by driving a wedge. According to one party leader, Voller said he fired ex-ED Robert Dempsey because he “spent too much time working with the Hagan campaign.”
Hello? Too much time working on a race vital to North Carolina’s future, not to mention a majority in the United States Senate?
To get a full picture of the chaos, read the first-hand account by WRAL’s Mark Binker of Voller’s statewide conference call with party leaders Tuesday night. One person on the call texted: “Randy is selectively muting opponents, kicking reporters off the line….It’s like a dictatorship.”
Voller defends himself and his plan to make Ben Chavis ED of the party by saying it will “fire up the base.” But parties that focus solely on firing up the base forget to win a majority. Successful parties, like Democrats in the 1990s and President Obama (who disavowed Chavis’ support in 2008) do both.
The Tea Party is about to drive the Republican Party off a cliff. Why should the North Carolina Democratic Party join them?

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# dap916
Friday, February 14, 2014 1:00 PM
I absolutely hate it that Voller decided to postpone putting Ben Chavis in as Executive Director of the NCDP. I'm betting after the backlash he got from within the democratic party Chavis' name won't be mentioned again by Voller. When I read the initial reports that Chavis was going to be put in that position I was so excited I went outside and hollered out loud, no joke! (fist bump and all :-).

Now, about the big riff you are seeing between the establishment Republicans and the Tea Party...well, yeah, there really is a lot of dissention going on in those two factions. You can see it talked about a BUNCH right here on our TAP Forum. I fear it will cause us some problems if it continues or gets worse as I am expecting. Neither political party in NC has a lot of "togetherness" going on right now, y'know?
# Choo
Friday, February 14, 2014 2:56 PM
Gary, you are going to have to console yourself to the fact that there is no longer a Democratic establishment. The far left has taken over. I know now it's just a national thing, Hillary not socialist enough for those in charge, but it is going to filter down. Forget about anything that once was, the good old days are gone. Get out your best socialist uniform, polish up your copy of Das Capital and get ready for some good old communist revolutionary politics. Ben Chavis will jen up the base with how horrible it was when he was held as a slave by McCrory's grand parents and how we gotta take away all those rich white people's money because after all they stole it from the poor. Hope you enjoy the new times cause they are here to stay.
# cjtelesca
Monday, February 17, 2014 6:33 AM
Gary, as someone who has spent a lot of time volunteering for the Democratic Party from the precinct to the state level, I must make a few comments here.

Voller is not the Democrat who is using Tea Party tactics within our party. It's the folks who opposed his candidacy when he was running who are using Tea Party tactics. These same people continue to bad-mouth and smear him after his election. Just like they did with David Parker after April 2012.

Yes Jerry Meek did a great job keeping everyone together. But he never had to deal with people actively trying to sabotage him from the moment he won election. The venom slung against Randy Voller didn't let up after he won - it just got worse. Meek was also Chair at a time when Democrats held the majority in both chambers of the NCGA AND held the Executive Mansion as well. All the big transactional donors that gave money to the NCDP when we held the majority switched sides after 2010 & 2012.

Remember that the ED serves at the pleasure of the Chair. And if the Chair feels that all races - including the US Senate race - are vital to NC's future, why on Earth would the ED focus only on the US Senate race so that it looked more like he was working solely for the Hagan campaign?
When you focus on only the top-ticket race and re-orient the entire NCDP to focus on only that one race, all the other races suffer.

And while this Senate race is important, I think we should have worried about these things starting back in the summer of 2008, when the Obama campaign began dismantling Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. They also began to dismantle Jerry Meek's 100-county strategy. That began a series of smaller election losses that should have been the canary in the coal mine for elected officials and consultants. But it wasn't - the 2010 election was a historic butt-kicking that folks still haven't learned from.

I disagree with Binker's account of that meeting. Neither Casey or Randy were selectively muting anyone nor kicking anyone off line. They were trying to do the best they could with what we have to work with RIGHT NOW!

The party doesn't have as much money as we had when we were the majority party - when money was so plentiful it literally fell out of the ceiling in a pancake house men's room!

Randy and other grassroots leaders had a plan to make up some of the money that we lost from the transactional donors - and from taxpayer checkoff. A plan was approved for the Taxpayer Checkoff Committee to lend some start-up money to the two Caucuses and to NCDP to start up a recurring small dollar donor program back in June. After paying back that loan, all other money coming into the program would benefit the two caucuses, NCDP and the Congressional Districts. The deal was made and the money loaned in June - but up until the day he was fired, the ED did nothing to put this plan into effect.

IF you are a party activist like I am, at some point in time you have to wonder whether or not some of the staff is merely unable to do the work expected of them by the Chair (and the rest of the Party), or are they unwilling to do that work? If they are unwilling, it's time for them to either look for another job voluntarily or be nudged out the door and make room for others more willing to do the work asked and expected of them.

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