NC Dems want to put party dissension in past

Posted June 16, 2012 8:01 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2012 8:09 a.m. EDT

— The sexual harassment scandal that rocked the North Carolina Democratic Party this spring is still gaining headlines, but party activists agreed it won't matter come November. They gathered Saturday for their state convention, the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner, at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Despite a defamation lawsuit filed just Thursday that names him, party Chairman David Parker said that "inside baseball" won't affect election outcomes. 

"I don't see any indication that the leadership of this party has any impact on electing Democrats in November," Parker said. 

Former party staffer Adriadn Ortega claims that Parker indirectly called him a liar and extortionist him during an April news conference when he said Ortega made up allegations of sexual harassment against the party's former director, Jay Parmley.

Parmley resigned his post after Ortega's allegations came to light. Parker managed to keep his job when party leaders refused to accept his resignation.

"I don't think people across the state are tuned in to that kind of stuff," said Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange. "It's more of the capital city press."

Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, on hand to accept the party's nomination for governor, agreed.

"People inside the Beltline may pay a lot of attention to that," he said. "All the people of North Carolina want to know is how are we going to move forward."

The keynote speaker for the event, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, told attendees to do just that.

"This is a very important state, and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure this ticket wins from top to bottom in the state here in November," he said.

Biden is the son of Vice President Joe Biden. He emphasized support for military veterans and education as Democratic principles in his address.