NC Democrats are reorganizing after the State elected a supermajority in the NC House and Senate, Republican Majority Supreme Court, Republican Governor and Lt. Governor. What they need now is a State Party Chair. David Parker has announced he is not running. I have to say that many Democrats are skeptical and believe David is using an old ploy of pulling out so his supporters can encourage him back in. It is a tactic that can work to motivate your supporters. Time will tell.
Meanwhile names are being bantered about and only one person has said he is running – Chatham County Party Chair and Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller. I know Randy and he has a good message about grassroots, is an on the ground organizer, serves in elected office, and has a message about Democratic values emphasizing educations, jobs and infrastructure. There are other names out there but no one has officially announced. They are all “thinking about it.” With a month and a half to go, Holidays, the topic is a little sluggish.
As I watch the debate among the Party faithful, some common characteristics emerge in every conversation as to the desired traits for this role, perhaps more important as the Party regroups and answers the governing of the Republicans with a message.
Wanted One State Party Chair – individual must have the highest integrity, approachable, dedicated (the job pays $0), plenty of time to devote to leading, able to work with and delegate to other officers, magnanimous, humble, open, creative, fair, assertive, possess a great sense of humor, understand Party dynamics, balance influence of elected officials and grassroots volunteers, walk a tightrope of layers of volunteers, understand and be able to organize and motivate legions with varying ideologies, possess excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to take on (with grace, prowess and assertion) the opposing Party on a moment’s notice, understand all policy issues, know the POO forward and backward, be an incredible parliamentarian, diplomat and manager and have superhuman fundraising skills with a personal life above reproach and a passion for the job.
I think two key issues may emerge: ideology and skill.
Debra McHenry, SEC Member and former NC House Candidate said in a post on Facebook, “Everyone will never agree on everything. We have to hold onto the core values and all work to the goal of electing Democrats, yellow or blue dog. Each district is unique and to win you have to be able to represent your district.”
Looking back with a historical lens, notable Democrats have been successful as progressive, moderate, or conservative, the degree of ideology measured by the times and the issues. It’s easy to say someone was too conservative yet at the time, the Party may have been more conservative. How much room in the tent is there for everyone of all degrees of ideological stripes? And which candidate for Chair can maneuver the dangerous terrain of ideology?
Just as is the case with elected officials, exemplary personal and professional behavior, strong relationship skills, passion for every dimension of the office along with the ability to play defense or offense may well be the winning combination for 2014. Having the skill to relate to so many in so many ways may be exactly what is needed to get the job done.
Jeanne Bonds is a PR Consultant, political analyst and an NC SPIN Panelist.
Cross-Post: NC Spin
Help Wanted: One Perfect State Party Chair, NC Democratic Party