Local News

Morgan's Leadership Divides N.C. Republican Party

Posted March 24, 2004

— In-fighting among local Republicans appears to be on the rise.

It all has to do with state House co-speaker Richard Morgan.

Taking the form of a sort of Republican revolt, a grassroots effort against Morgan is gaining steam.

Morgan has been controversial from the day he became co-speaker of the House. Some Republicans call it a power play -- compounded by his endorsement of a legislative redistricting plan they say was a sellout.

"He has vowed publicly to try to defeat Republicans who are not loyal to him," Republican activist Chris Farr said. "He has worked with the Democrats to create an unconstitutional redistricting plan."

Delegates to the Wake County Republican Convention voted to support a resolution removing Morgan from the executive committee of the state Republican party. It also would bar him from serving in a leadership position for five years.

"We can't have our party leaders trying to defeat Republicans," Farr said. "It's that simple."

The timing of the resolution may not be coincidental. Morgan is up for re-election this year.

Wake County is not the only county to support the resolution. Mecklenberg and Forsyth Counties have approved similar measures.

The executive committee of the state Republican party will vote on it in May.

Morgan insists he has been loyal to fellow Republicans, and he touts his cooperation with Democratic Co-Speaker Jim Black as productive.

"I just refuse to be distracted by this sideshow, as I call it," Morgan said. "It has largely to do with some folks that didn't get their way."

Morgan has his fair share of supporters, who say petty politics is at work here.

"It's counterproductive," said Rep. David Miner, of Wake County. "I would challenge them (Morgan's detractors) to do positive things for the party."


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