In its biannual party leadership elections held February 11, the State Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party ousted its entire leadership bench. The incumbent party chair, former state legislator Bobbie Richardson, 73, was defeated by insurgent candidate Anderson Clayton, 25, previously chair of the Person County Democratic Party (which lies north of Durham along the Virginia border).

Richardson had been endorsed early and loudly by virtually every major elected Democrat in the state, including Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and all seven Democratic members of Congress. She was widely seen as the pick of the state party establishment. Nevertheless, Richardson lost to Clayton on the second ballot by a margin of about 10 percent in a heavily-attended meeting.

Besides Clayton, a “changed slate” of candidates were also elected: Jonah Garson as First Vice Chair, Dr. Kim Hardy as Second Vice Chair, Elijah King as Third Vice Chair, and Melvin Williams as Secretary.

North Carolina Democrats have struggled badly to win elections since 2010’s Republican wave brought the GOP to power in the state. Democrats have never won back control of the badly gerrymandered legislature. 

In the last two cycles, Democrats lost the statewide judicial elections 0-14, locking in Republican control of the state Supreme Court until at least 2028. In a state with an electorate split nearly 50/50, the party’s persistent electoral weakness has been a major frustration for North Carolina’s Democrats.This article appears courtesy of Daily KOS.

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