Local Politics

Rep. Allred to switch parties, not resign

Posted May 21, 2009 6:14 p.m. EDT
Updated May 21, 2009 6:47 p.m. EDT

— A state lawmaker accused of being drunk on the House floor and hugging a female page dismissed a call from Republican officials to step down by pledging to switch parties.

In a report released Wednesday, several Republicans called Rep. Cary Allred's behavior inappropriate. Several said they saw him hug and kiss a 17-year-old female page on the House floor, and some said they smelled alcohol on his breath.

Allred, R-Alamance, has denied any wrongdoing, noting the teen is a family friend whom he kissed on the cheek. He also said he had one drink that night but wasn't drunk.

A Highway Patrol trooper stopped him in Orange County on his way to Raleigh that night after clocking his car at 102 mph on the highway. The trooper let him off with a warning after Allred flashed his legislative identification.

The Highway Patrol ticketed Allred four days later and began an internal investigation into why the trooper didn't cite him initially.

Linda Daves, chairwoman of the state Republican Party, said Thursday that Allred should resign.

"Conducting oneself in an honorable and ethical manner while acting as a public servant should be a mandate for both political parties," Daves said in a statement. "The North Carolina Republican Party is committed to recruiting candidates for public office who are men and women of unwavering integrity and honesty. All others need not apply."

Allred said he didn't know of Daves' statement until WRAL News asked him about it. He said he has no intention of giving up his House seat.

He said he would switch to the Democratic Party next week, saying that his constituents don't care about his political affiliation as long as he represents their interests.

"I have demonstrated 30 years of integrity as a public official," he said. "(Daves) doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know what I’ve done for the Republican cause. I’ve never met her, and she will not get my resignation.”

A spokesman for House Speaker Joe Hackney said Allred "is welcome to do whatever he wants when it comes to party affiliation," adding that Allred hadn't formally notified House Democrats of a pending party switch.