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State Democratic Party battles internal struggles

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Fighting within the state Democratic Party spilled into public view this week as the party's vice chairwoman announced her resignation because the party chief wasn't interested in working with her to raise money and improve accountability.

In an email sent late yesterday to the party's state executive committee, Nina Szlosberg-Landis claimed donors were uncomfortable with new chairman Randy Voller, and she was uncomfortable with his leadership.

Szlosberg-Landis went so far as to call into question what she called Voller's transparency, when it comes to handling party money.

Her comments come as the state party struggles to rebound after losing 2010 and 2012 election cycles to Republicans and a sexual harassment claim at headquarters involving two former employees in between.

Voller, who is the mayor of Pittsboro, has also come under fire from other members of the party over travel expenses and his leadership style, including the assertion that he is a bully.

When asked if Democrats should trust him, Voller said, "Of course they should trust me. We've been about as transparent as you can be with the state executive council."

"We put together a committee to focus on best management practices and internal audits and reviews," he continued.

"I think a lot of people are used to fighting within the family. My job is to focus the energy to take the fight to our opponents."

Since getting elected, Voller has faced questions about thousands of dollars in expenses placed on a credit card during a March trip to a Las Vegas casino to watch basketball games. He said he personally paid the balance in full on the card, embossed with his name and the state party but backed by the personal credit of a now ex-party administrator.

Some Democrats also signed a petition asking the party's senior leaders to remove Voller as interim executive director for what they said were violations of procedure and his efforts to solidify power by naming close allies to key positions. A permanent executive director has since been hired.

Szlosberg-Landis did not want to comment further beyond her email resignation.

 


 

Nina Szlosberg-Landis sent this email to party's state executive committee:

June 11, 2013

Dear Members of the State Executive Committee:

It is with disappointment and regret I write to inform you of my resignation as First Vice-Chair of the NC Democratic Party effective today.

During the last 100 days, I have become increasingly less comfortable with the tone and practices of the leadership of the party. 

During the campaign, I committed to help raise resources to elect Democrats.  Specifically, I promised to "work with the Chair to raise money, communicate our agenda, and create an environment of trust, transparency and accountability at the Goodwin House."  Despite my best efforts and the efforts of others to try to create some checks and balances, establish financial accountability that could be communicated clearly to the donor pool, and to publicly articulate a vision of shared leadership that would restore donor confidence, it has become clear to me, this is not the will of the Chairman.

For those of you who are supporters, I am sincerely sorry. Please know, I write this with a very heavy heart and did not arrive at this conclusion easily. I had such enthusiasm and hope back in February that together we would rebuild the party and excite an expanded network of donors to support our rebuilding efforts. However it has become abundantly clear that donors are not comfortable with the actions of the current Chairman, and our Party will not have the support it needs under the current leadership.

I remain committed to electing Democrats to offices at all levels in North Carolina. And I will continue to help raise the needed resources for Democratic candidates and organizations that can most effectively win elections. I have a very long history of helping Democrats, and have never sought a title to do so.

I have simply acted from a deep and abiding sense of moral commitment to the values for which our party and our candidates stand. I will continue to do so.

I also remain committed to helping any county party in North Carolina support a vision and plan to elect Democrats at all levels of government. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if I can be helpful to you.

I wish you all well and I look forward to continuing to work to elect Democrats and to bring North Carolina back to the greatness we fought hard to achieve during decades of Democratic leadership. We must stop the extreme, mean-spirited and destructive policies of the regressive brand of Republicans we now have in Raleigh,  and through my resignation, I believe in my heart, I am in a much better position to achieve that goal.

 Democratically Yours,

 Nina Szlosberg-Landis

Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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