Updated 04/18/2012 06:47 AM
Governor joins top state Democrats calling for Parker to resign
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RALEIGH -- Gov. Bev Perdue joined the chorus of top state Democrats calling for N.C. Democratic Party chairman David Parker to resign, in the wake of allegations of harassment and a cover-up within the party leadership.
In a statement, Perdue said she talked with Parker "several times today and told him that he had lost the confidence of Democratic leaders."
"I asked him to step aside for the good of the Party," said Perdue. "I told him that the Party had to get back to focusing on our core values: strengthening schools, creating jobs and expanding opportunities for all North Carolinians."
The statement continues:
"When my team first heard of the personnel matter at the State Party late last year, they promptly relayed these rumors to the party officials responsible for handling personnel matters -- the Chairman and the party’s legal counsel, who were already aware of the issue.
The Democratic Party will continue to fight for the things that matter to working families across North Carolina: strong schools for their children, access to careers or college and good jobs."
Earlier in the day, Perdue refused to answer questions about what she knew about the scandal, saying it is an internal matter for the Democratic Party.
But that didn't stop other top Democrats from calling for Parker to resign.
The calls started Tuesday afternoon with five members of the Council of State releasing a statement:
We believe that it is in the best interest of the North Carolina and the Democratic Party for Democratic Party Chair David Parker to step aside and enable new leadership to begin the rebuilding process.
We believe Mr. Parker can no longer be as effective a leader as he needs to be under the circumstances.
Given the importance of this election to our state and our country a change needs to be made as we prepare for the general election in November.
It is signed by Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, State Treasurer Janet Cowell, and State Auditor Beth Wood.
Read the full statement from the Council of State here.
Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who is running for governor, said "Chairman Parker's effectiveness as leader of the party is greatly hindered, with many leading Democrats speaking out today."
The statement continues:
“This is a crucial election year for the future of North Carolina and we cannot allow this issue to distract from our efforts to create good jobs, expand access to education and help people through tough times.
For this reason, I think that David Parker should step aside for the good of the party so that we can turn our attention to moving North Carolina forward.”
Sen. Martin Nesbitt and Rep. Joe Hackney, the Democratic legislative leaders, released a joint statement:
“We believe that David Parker can no longer be an effective chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party. He should resign so that the party can move forward focused on keeping the office of governor and reclaiming the majority in our legislature.”
Parker said in a statement: "I have no plans to resign and I am moving forward with the work of the Democratic Party."
In addition, Parker said he is forming a search committee to look for a replacement for Executive Director Jay Parmley, who resigned Sunday.
In the statement, Parker said he's asked "Treasurer Janet Cowell, Winston-Salem attorney Cal Cunningham, Wake County Chair Dan Blue III, political consultant Marc Farinella, activist Nina Szlosberg, DNC Member Everett Ward, 12th District Chair Bernita Simms, and a representative from the winning Gubernatorial campaign to function as a search committee with me."
Treasurer Janet Cowell is one of Council of State members who called for Parker's resignation.
Read Parker's full statement here.