Ben Chavis, the former executive director of the national NAACP, is considering challenging Rep. Jim Crawford in a Democratic primary next year because of his budget vote.
Chavis, a native of Oxford, said he he was concerned about “the devastating impact of the proposed state budget cuts” in the budget passed by the GOP-controlled legislature and vetoed by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue.
The GOP majority is expected to try to override Perdue's veto on Wednesday, but they need the votes of five conservative Democrats who voted for the budget including Crawford to sustain the veto.
“I respect and admire all the people who live in Granville County and other counties in Eastern North Carolina,” Chavis said in an email, “and I truly believe that they should have better representation on this issue in the legislature.”
A community meeting is scheduled tonight at the First Baptist Church in Oxford to discuss the budget cuts. Chavis said that Crawford was expected to attend the meeting. Crawford could not be reached for comment.
Chavis said he would make his decision based on what happens tonight.
Chavis has long been active in the civil rights movement. As an organizer, he was imprisoned as one of The Wilmington 10 in connection with a fire bombing of a grocery story in 1971 – a conviction later overturned by the courts.
He later went on to earn a doctorate, headed the NAACP, and lead the Million Man March in Washington D.C. He currently lives in Florida.