Citing a family health concern, former state senator and 2012 lieutenant governor candidate Eric Mansfield has decided not to seek the chairmanship of the NC Democratic Party next month.
Mansfield was rumored to be considering ending his campaign for chair Wednesday. This morning, he sent out a release announcing his decision to bow out.
From the statement:
"It brings my family and I great sadness to announce that I must end my campaign for North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman effective immediately.
"As many of you know my mother has developed a rapidly deteriorating disease which requires my full attention.
"After my Dad died at 42, my mother sacrificed her career to make sure that my sister and I would succeed. What she couldn’t provide with money she made up with love, care, and inspiration.
"I believe that my greatest call is to honor her sacrifice and be there unequivocally to ensure her comfort and happiness as she navigates this difficult course. I know many of you are silently and gracefully facing these difficult decisions with your parents, we will be praying for you and ask that you pray for our family."
The statement also references "negative attacks in recent weeks."
Democratic activists were reportedly bitterly divided between Mansfield and his opponent, Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller.
Mansfield's withdrawal leaves Voller as the sole candidate for party chairman. Incumbent David Parker has said he will not seek re-election.
The party's state executive committee meets to elect its new leaders on February 2nd in Durham.
Below is the full text of Mansfield's announcement:
When I announced for Chair of our great Democratic Party I said that we must develop a strategy that would lead to greater mobilization, inspiring messaging, increased fundraising and a Party that was mended.
Over the past several weeks I was able to speak with many of you. I have heard of our barriers to success and challenges that we must overcome. I have heard exciting ideas about how we can recruit and train the next generation of leaders. I have heard innovation solutions that would allow us to make the volunteer experience meaningful so that we might mobilize even more of our fellow North Carolinians.
The passion for change that I saw in each of the Democrats that I met in Wilmington, Greenville, Greensboro, Raleigh, New Bern, Winston Salem and other locations in between inspired me. The wisdom I heard over the phone from Democrats in Canton, Clinton, and Chadbourn offered hope.
You all reminded me of the reasons that I entered politics in the first place. I believed then that we might be able to craft a new kind of politics that allows for disagreements without being disagreeable, a new kind of politics that understands that we can have our principles without being bound to destroy those who disagree with us, and that we can have serious debates about our direction without undue criticism. When some people offered negative attacks in recent weeks, many more of you spoke up to say that our Party is better than this.
I know now, as I knew in December when I announced my candidacy, that our Party has a future that is far brighter than the stormy present might suggest. We remain the Party of big ideas, bold ambition, and meaningful action.
That sense of optimism is why it brings my family and I great sadness to announce that I must end my campaign for North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman effective immediately. As many of you know my mother has developed a rapidly deteriorating disease which requires my full attention. After my Dad died at 42, my mother sacrificed her career to make sure that my sister and I would succeed. What she couldn’t provide with money she made up with love, care, and inspiration. I believe that my greatest call is to honor her sacrifice and be there unequivocally to ensure her comfort and happiness as she navigates this difficult course. I know many of you are silently and gracefully facing these difficult decisions with your parents, we will be praying for you and ask that you pray for our family.
As I leave this fight, please know that I intend to continue to work with all of you to rebuild our Party and reclaim the future of North Carolina. President Obama inspired us all on Monday when he said, “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”
We must continue to work for equality, freedom, and progress. We must fight for the rights of women, Latinos, African Americans and our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. We must stand up for the children who can not stand up for themselves, give a voice to the voiceless, and offer hope to the hopeless.
I look forward to working with our next Chair, whomever that might be, every member of the SEC, our elected leaders, and everyone in between so that we can build a Party which mends itself, develops a message that inspires, raises the resources that we need to invest in our infrastructure, and ultimately mobilizes to victory in 2014 and beyond. Please stay in touch.
Eric Mansfield for Chairman