And the Meek shall inherit the Democratic party

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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The Dean effect is being felt right here in Ashvegas.

You’ve probably already read the news – up-from-the-trenches young lawyer Dem Jerry Meek whipped old guard lawyer Dem Ed Turlington over the weekend in the ballyhooed contest for top dog in the North Carolina Democratic Party.

The press has used a lot of “R” words to describe the upset. Rebellion. Revolution. Revolt. I might even call it a slap in the face, a wake-up call, or just a lot of pissed off Dems dying to make a point. Similar to the gnashing of teeth that came with Dean’s election to the national party’s top post.

It’s the first time in the party’s history that the party’s voting members have ignored the recommendations of the party heirarchy (Turlington was Guv. Easley’s fave, nominated by Guv.-for-life Hunt.) Meek, a towering 6’8″ Fayetteville 34-year-old, beat Raleigh’s Turlington 271-242.

AP reported that cheers erupted when the announcement came inside N.C. State’s McKimmon Center.

So what does it all mean for us here in Ashvegas and the mountains west? D.G. Martin takes a stab at it. So do readers of the Daily Kos.

It means the party rift is growing larger; that “Progressives” will be exercising greater clout in local elections; and that the party is finally on track to getting itself organized in Western North Carolina counties and towns.

In just one example of how the party chairman’s election played out here in Buncombe County, two local Dems with the bona fides that in the past would have meant an automatic trip to Raleigh to take part in Saturday’s voting lost out.

Patsy Keever and Steve Metcalf lost. Keever, one could argue, stands as WNC’s top Dem if it means anything that she was the one elected to take on U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor for the 11th District’s U.S. House seat. Metcalf, a former state senator who worked in Hunt’s administration, is right up there with Keever as one of the most well-known Dems around the mountains.

They lost because the disenfranchised Dems out-muscled the old school crew. They did the same when it came to getting progressives elected to represent N.C. at the Democratic National Convention. If you need any more proof of this wing’s power, go back and see how many votes Dennis Kucinich got in Buncombe.

What could this mean for our upcoming Ashvegas City Council elections? Filing doesn’t start until July, but the jockeying is well underway. Could the progressives take back City Council from the Mumpower-Dunn-Davis set? This year’s election will be the first local test.

What could this mean for a party that’s been on cruise control in the mountains for years (except for a few bright spots here and there)? If Meek does what he says he’s gonna do, it means getting back to the basics, building the party up precinct-by-precinct, county-by-county.

That’s a big deal for the mountain folks especially, who have felt that the Raleigh powers have ignored them.

One note on Taylor. Check out what the Political Junkies have reported and take it for what it’s worth. Taylor is still rock solid in WNC:

Members of the House Republican Steering Committee have warned Rep. Charles Taylor (R-N.C.) that he is in danger of losing his chairmanship of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee if he does not raise or donate more money to Republicans.
With one exception, every other Appropriations Committee cardinal — the informal title given to the panel’s subcommittee chairmen — gave at least $150,000 from personal campaign accounts to Republican candidates in the last election cycle.  . . .

Taylor, who gave $23,000 in campaign funds to the North Carolina Republican Executive Committee and none to his House colleagues, was told he could be next, according to a lawmaker on the Steering Committee. Aides in Taylor’s office declined to comment.

With the warning, Taylor has narrowly avoided becoming the third high-profile casualty of the Steering Committee’s review of committee and subcommittee chairmen. – The Hill 

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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1 Comment

  1. Graser February 23, 2005

    excellent. I never realized that becoming the chairman of a committee was more about politics than ability or knowledge. I guess I am just an innocent.


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