Inside Politics

Perdue joins Dems call for party chairman to resign

Wednesday, April 18, 2012
David Parker David Parker

Gov. Bev Perdue issued a statement Tuesday, joining other top North Carolina Democrats in a call for state Party Chairman David Parker to resign.

In her statement, she said she had spoken with Parker several times on Tuesday and told him he had lost the confidence of Democratic leaders.

"I asked him to step aside for the good of the Party. I told him that the Party had to get back to focusing on our core values: strengthening schools, creating jobs and expanding opportunities for all North Carolinians.

When my team first heard of the personnel matter at the State Party late last year, they promptly relayed these rumors to the party officials responsible for handling personnel matters -- the Chairman and the party's legal counsel, who were already aware of the issue.

The Democratic Party will continue to fight for the things that matter to working families across North Carolina: strong schools for their children, access to careers or college and good jobs."

Calls for Parker's resignation come after Sunday's resignation of the executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Jay Parmley has been at the center of controversy after emails began circulating in the media last week linking him to allegations of harassment.

In his resignation letter obtained by ABC11, Parmley vehemently denied harassing any party worker.

"Let me be clear: I have never harassed any employee at any time," he wrote in part.

Click here to read the entire letter(.pdf)

Perdue's statement late Tuesday was a change of tune from earlier in the day when she told reporters that the situation was an internal party personnel matter and declined further comment.

When pressed, she told ABC11's Jon Camp to "get over it," and said the media should be focusing on matters that are more important to the state.

Click here for video of the exchange

Also calling for Parker's resignation Tuesday were North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, and State Auditor Beth Wood. They issued a joint statement:

"We believe that it is in the best interest of the North Carolina and the Democratic Party for Democratic Party Chair David Parker to step aside and enable new leadership to begin the rebuilding process. We believe Mr. Parker can no longer be as effective a leader as he needs to be under the circumstances. Given the importance of this election to our state and our country a change needs to be made as we prepare for the general election in November."

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton - who's running for governor, also said he wants Parker to resign.

"It has become evident that Chairman Parker's effectiveness as leader of the party is greatly hindered, with many leading Democrats speaking out today. This is a crucial election year for the future of North Carolina and we cannot allow this issue to distract from our efforts to create good jobs, expand access to education and help people through tough times," said Dalton.

ABC11 has reached to Parker for reaction. Through a party spokesman, he said Sunday night: "I have no plans to resign."

Contacted Tuesday by the ABC11 I-Team, he said he might issue a statement later Tuesday night.

Parker has maintained that he does not believe there were grounds to fire Parmley, but some prominent Democrats have also voiced frustrations about management and a high turnover amongst staffers at the party headquarters.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte in less than five months.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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