Dem leaders reject Parker's stand
Posted April 18, 2012 8:43 p.m. EDT
Updated April 18, 2012 8:53 p.m. EDT
Embattled NC Democratic Party Chairman David Parker sent out a message tonight thanking Dems for their support in his quest to keep his seat despite allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up on his watch at party headquarters.
In his email, Parker repeated that he would not resign, despite calls from most of the state's top Democrats.
""I have met with our Executive Council via teleconference and am gratified by their strong support for my continued Chairmanship. They have consulted with our Party attorney and are clearly as satisfied as am I that there was no cover up and that the personnel matter was professionally and appropriately handled by the Party's attorney using the highest ethical standards," Parker said.
Parker proposed a referendum on his leadership at a party meeting scheduled for June 17th.
That didn't sit well with several key Democrats, including Governor Bev Perdue, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, and Parker's second-in-command, NCDP First Vice Chair Gwen Wilkins.
Wilkins was on the call Parker referenced. She called WRAL tonight to offer the following statement.
"Chairman Parker stated in his email that he had met with the Executive Council via teleconference, and that he was gratified by their strong support for his continued chairmanship," Wilkins said.
"I was elected because dedicated and loyal Democrats had faith that I would not sit back and be quiet when the time came to speak up. Martin Luther King Jr. said that a person should not be judged by where he stands in times of comfort and convenience, but a man should be judged by where he stands in times of conflict and controversy."
"With that said, let me be clear: that all–and I stress ALL–those on the [state Democrats'] Executive Council have NOT indicated their support of Chairman Parker," Wilkins said. "It is my opinion that the statement made by him is misleading to the Democrats that elected him to office and to our voters."
Governor Bev Perdue was even less conciliatory.
“I am reiterating my call for the chairman of the party to resign," Perdue said in a statement this evening. "The process laid out by the chairman in his email late today to Executive Committee members is totally unacceptable. The chairman needs to go.”
And Lt. Gov. (and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful) Walter Dalton also responded: "I stand by my statement yesterday that Parker should resign immediately."
All this happened tonight against the backdrop of startling new revelations in the Dem party scandal. WRAL obtained a copy of a complaint filed by the former party staffer, detailing his alleged sexual harassment by former party Executive Director Jay Parmley. More on that here.
Parmley resigned Sunday, denying all allegations of harassment.