NC elections board chairman resigns
Gov. Roy Cooper's pick to head the elections board leaves with an investigation into 9th Congressional District election irregularities unfinished.Posted — Updated
An effort to reach Penry has not yet been successful. Confirmation came from Gov. Roy Cooper's office shortly before 4:30 p.m.
"The governor has accepted Mr. Penry's resignation and appreciates his service to our state," spokesman Ford Porter said in an email.
Board staff forwarded his statement to WRAL News Sunday morning.
"I will not allow myself to be used as an instrument of distraction in this investigation," Penry said. "In the best interest of this investigation, and completely of my own accord, I resign from the North Carolina Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement, effective immediately,"
Among other things, Penry told a Republican voter on Twitter that his beliefs were "a bad reason to vote for a crazy man," referring to President Donald Trump. He also called Trump "completely insane, not to mention heartless" and took a public position on at least one of the state constitutional amendments that was before voters last month.
House Elections Committee Chairman David Lewis issued a statement Saturday evening saying Penry had no choice but to resign after his tweets came to light.
"My hope is that the next chairman will be fair-minded and keep the public more informed as to the confusion surrounding the 9th Congressional District race," Lewis said. "These important investigations should continue as needed by the professional staff at the board, without interference or taint of partisanship by political appointees."
Lewis also said he's withdrawn a Friday request that board members and staff appear before his committee, which meets Monday.
North Carolina Republican Party officials held a press conference Saturday evening, calling on Cooper to appoint a trustworthy and transparent replacement. They suggested Democrat Burley Mitchell, former chief justice in the state Supreme Court.
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