A number of Democratic Party activists are lobbying behind the scenes to keep controversial Chairman David Parker at the helm despite an embarassing scandal earlier this year.
Parker announced in April he would step aside amid national pressure and boisterous calls for his resignation concerning his handling of a sexual harassment controversy at party headquarters.
But just days before Saturday's election to pick a new leader, scenarios are being contemplated to keep Parker -- a move that is likely to distress top Democratic leaders at the state and national level who are concerned about the scandal becoming a distraction at the Democratic convention later this year.
Bill Franklin, a state executive committee member from Burlington, sent an email earlier this week to the pool of voters who will pick a new chairman asking them to reject the "sabotage" of Parker. Democratic insiders say it echoes other conversations occurring privately in party circles.
"On May 12, help those who really care and let’s keep David Parker. If you send a proxy, give them specific instructions to go with the Parker faction," Franklin wrote in an email obtained by The News & Observer. "Do not accept any attempts at his resignation or disposal by anyone."
Franklin warns of the "foolish rush to judgment about David Parker" and spews vitriol on the state's top Democrats for intervening:
"I have watched as the farce played out since last year, about the crucifixion of David Parker by people who appear incompetent or asleep including some high elected Democratic officials. I am a Democrat and NCDP SEC member vitally concerned for our Party.
"There was a dust-up in the NCDP headquarters, a personnel issue, until someone got mad and fed newspapers lies. But worse, someone apparently fed some high officials the same lies or worse."
The allegations that Executive Director Jay Parmley sexually harassed low-level staffer Adriadn Ortega remain unresolved. Parmley and Parker deny any harassment or wrongdoing. But party officials have confirmed the existence of a financial settlement agreement that was kept secret crafted with Parker's knowledge, despite questionable authority to do so.