RALEIGH -- The Saturday meeting of the North Carolina Democratic Party started out the way it was expected to, with current chair David Parker resigning his post after a sex scandal at the party headquarters unfolded in the public last month.
“I humbly request that you relieve me of the duties of the office of chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party,” Parker said to the crowd.
But several hours later, after a lot of political maneuvering, there was a vote to not accept his resignation and Parker was back.
“My friends, I resigned this party,” said Parker while addressing the crowd for a second time, “but I abide by the will of this state executive committee.”
Some state Democrats, including the man vying for the state's top elected spot, were not happy with this outcome.
“I was disappointed in that, as I have already said,”said Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic nominee for gov. “It was my understanding that he was going to resign.”
Several Democrats had come forward leading into Saturday's meeting, saying they would be willing to take the helm at the headquarters, including Raleigh city councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin.
“It was like getting hit by a two-by-four a few times,” Baldwin said Monday, describing the events at the Saturday meeting.
Baldwin, who, because of the political maneuvering, never officially had a chance to throw her name in the hat, said she had taken Parker at his word that he would step aside.
She said she was shocked by the way the day played out and what it could mean for party unity in the coming year.
“Now there are going to be some difficulties,” said Baldwin, “because you have factions that are supportive and factions who aren't. And now I think David Parker has to be asked that question and I think he has to explain to us how he is going to unite the party.”
With the Democratic National Convention coming to Charlotte in September, political observers said this division within the party could ruffle some feathers in Washington.
“For party insiders, I think that this should raise a red flag,” said political analyst David McLennan, “that the party seems to be very divided.”