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More legal fighting among state Democrats

Michael Carmichael, co-founder of CC & Associates, said Wednesday that he had filed a civil action for libel in Orange County Superior Court against Frank Eaton and his company Bully Documentary, Inc.

The complaint centers on Easton's video: "For the Good of the Party," which he aired last spring, which he accused state Democratic Party chairman Randy Voller of mismanaging the party and called on party activists to investigate. Among other things, he questioned how Carmichael, a consultant and friend of Voller, was being paid $6,000 per month.

"Eaton's personal non-stop campaign of slander, libel and defamation knows no bounds of decency, accuracy or integrity," Carmichael said in a statement. "Easton's video was predicated on false, misleading and defamatory allegations.''

Carmichael said that Eaton and his company were paid more than $35,000 to produce a video for the party and that since a new proposal for videos was turned down, Eaton has sought to attack Voller and people associated with him.

Szlosberg-Landis to resign as Democratic 1st vice chair

Nina Szlosberg-Landis, the first vice chair of the state Democratic Party, plans to resign her post Tuesday, citing her differences in working with embattled party chairman Randy Voller.

In a letter sent Monday night to friends, Szlosberg-Landis, a major party fund raiser from Raleigh, writes that she believes she could be more effective raising money for Democrats outside the party organization.

NC Democratic Party searching for new ED

The North Carolina Democratic Party is advertising for a new executive director.

State Democratic chairman Randy Voller said the party has received about 30 applications from around the country to fill the post held by Tammy Brunner, who was not asked to stay. Monday was the last day for applications.

Brunner was brought on as interim party executive director last June when Jay Parmley resigned amid allegations from a fellow staffer that he had engaged in sexual harassment – allegations that he denied.

Voller said a party committee – made up of leading Democratic figures - has been selected to choose a new party executive director. Voller said he is working as interim executive director $1 until a permanent executive director can be found.

Democrats make hay of DeMint visit

The state Democratic Party is trying to raise some money over former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint's visit to Raleigh this week.

DeMint, who is president of the Heritage Foundation, said he was in North Carolina to spread the grass roots work of the Washington-based think tank.

But the Democrats stressed his Senate role as a leader of the Tea Party movement.

“Today, Tea Party Kingmaker Jim DeMint landed in North Carolina to scope out prospective far-right, fringe candidates for 2014,” said the fund raising letter. “The former South Carolina Senator turned Heritage Foundation President is making his second stop in North Carolina this month.

"We’ve got to prevent far-right outside interest groups from buying elections in our state, chip in $5, $25 or $100 today to fight extremism in North Carolina.''

“DeMint, known for questioning the constitutionality of Medicare and standing by 2012’s Todd Akin, is widely expected to be courted by rumored U.S. Senate candidates, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis during his visit,'' said the fund raising letter.

Democratic chairmen candidates to debate Saturday

The two candidates for state Democratic Party chairman will Saturday in Raleigh to discuss their plans for leading the party.

Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville and Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller will meet at a forum at 1:30 at Mount Peace Baptist Church, located at 1601 Martin Luther King Drive. The event will be live streamed at and will be available on Youtube after the debate.

Parker will not seek another term as Democratic chair

David Parker said Wednesday he will not seek re-election to a second term as state Democratic Party chairman.

"I have enjoyed my two years of service to our state and to the Democratic Party," Parker, a Statesville attorney, said in an email to Democrats.

"There is much work to be done on the vital issues of good government, publkic education and job creation in North Carolina and I look forward to contiuning to work to better our state in the coming years to come.''

Parker's tenure had been marked by turmoil, especially surrounding his handling of allegations of sexual harrasment involving two Democratic Party staffers. At one point last spring, party leaders thought they had negotiated Parker's exit only to have Parker retain his job after winning the backing of the State Executive Committee.

State Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville is expected to declare his candidacy for the chairmanship. The State Executive Committee will meet in Durham on Feb. 2nd.

Eric Mansfield is considering bid for state Democratic chairman

State Sen. Eric Mansfield of Fayetteville is considering running for state Democratic Party chairman next year, according to the word on the street.

Mansfield has been encouraged to run by a number of party activists and elected officials.

It is not clear whether the current state Chairman David Parker of Statesville will seek a second term when the state Democratic Executive Committee meets early next year. Parker's tenure has been rocky because of his handling of a sexual harassment complaint involving two staffers that embarrassed the party.

Mansfield is regarded as someone with potential in the state Democratic Party even though he lost the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor last May to Linda Coleman by a 56 to 44 percent margin. He is a physician, Baptist minister, and retired Army officer.

He did not seek re-election to his Senate seat.

Democratic memo reaffirms NC battleground status

The state Democratic Party is seeking to counter several national reports that suggest that North Carolina is fading as a battleground state.

Walton Robinson, the party's communications director, Friday began circulating a memo, first published in Politico, that argues that North Carolina is very much in play.

The memo points to numerous polls showing that Obama even or ahead of Romney in the state even though Romney and his allies had spent $10.25 million on TV in North Carolina between May 1 and June 20, while Obama had spent $8.1 million.

He said in a state that has been hit by a large loss of manufacturing jobs, Romney's record in pioneering in outsourcing jobs while at Bain Capital is particularly problematic.

Democrats apologize to Buck Newton for 2010 campaign charges

Democratic former state A.B. Swindell and the state Democratic Party have issued an apology to Republican state Sen. Buck Newton regarding charges made in the 2010 campaign as part of a settlement in the suit.

During the Senate campaign, Swindell and the state Democratic Party ran radio ads and distributed mailings saying that while in college at Appalachian State University in 1990 Newton was arrested for selling illegal narcotics.

“The ads and mailings were based on records we obtained from the Watauga County Clerk of Court,” says the letter signed by Swindell and Jay Parmley, who is executive director of the Democratic  Party. Swindell was defeated in the election.

“The court file we received did not contain an Addendum to the dismissal of the charges against Buck Newton, signed by an Assistant District Attorney in Watauga County.” the letter said.

The letter cites the letter from the assistant DA saying Newton's arrest was a case of mistaken identity and he was not involved the matter.

“Based upon the statements in the Addendum, Buck Newton was not involve din any way in these drug sales,” the letter said. “Had we received the Addendum along with the rest of the Court file, we would not have run the ads or distributed the mailings during the campaign.”

“The North Carolina Democratic Party and I regret this mistake and sincerely apologize to Senator Newton and his family for any embarrassment and harm we may have caused,” the letter says.

In a statement, Newton said he was satisfied with the apology and the resolution of the lawsuit.

“As I have said from the beginning, and as their apology states, I was completely innocent of the charges made in their advertisements,” Newton said. “I appreciate my name being cleared and finally getting an apology.  It is past time to close the book on this kind of politics and put all of this behind us.''

Democrats say it's no time to head to the coast

The North Carolina Democrats have postponed their Sanford-Hunt-Frye fund raising dinner that was scheduled for Saturday in Morehead City because of the threat from Hurricane Irene.

No make up date has been set.

The dinner honors Terry Sanford, a former governor, senator and presidential candidate; Jim Hunt, a former governor, and Henry Frye, a former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court.

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