by Bob Geary
He's going out on top: Mack Paul, who led the Wake County Democratic Party in 2011, announced his resignation today, effective Dec. 31. The Democrat-backed slate went 5-for-5 in the Wake school board elections this fall, ousting the Republican majority. Democrat Harold Weinbrecht was re-elected mayor of Cary, and Nancy McFarlane, an independent with Democratic backing, beat a pair of Republican opponents to be the mayor-elect of Raleigh. Five Democrats will sit on the new Raleigh Council along with McFarlane's hand-picked successor, Randy Stagner, an independent who won her District A seat, and District E Councilor Bonner Gaylord, also an independent. The only Republican who won is District B member John Odom.
Here's what Paul had to say:
2011 marked a turning point for the Democratic Party locally and nationally. With continued hard work and a focused message, we can look forward to even greater successes in 2012.
As the end of year approaches, I have been working through several transitions to put us on solid footing for next year. Tammy Brunner, our talented and very patient executive director, will be moving into a new role with the State Party and OFA. She has done a tremendous job for the Wake County Democratic Party, but we are proud to see her in a new role that will allow her to have an even broader, positive impact on the Party.
I also am moving into some new roles, and consequently, am stepping down from my position as Wake County chair effective December 31. As you know, I filled Jack Nichols' unexpired term as chair late last year. My primary reason for doing so related to the situation facing the Wake County School Board. My wife was forgiving enough to let me serve as chair through the 2011 election cycle so that I could focus the Party's efforts on the school board races and coordinated campaign. The energy and passion unleashed by hundreds of volunteers and community leaders made this experience one of the highlights of my life.
Despite claims by some Republicans, Democrats prevailed in Wake County this year due to the hard work of many, many local volunteers, a seasoned and professional field organization and other groups vested in the success of our public school system. My hope is that we return to the days when no one knew or cared about the party affiliation of Wake County School Board members. However, if extreme ideologues attempt to upend the our school system in the future, I am confident Democrats will fiercely defend the traditions that have made this region an economic success story.
Now, with the campaign behind us, I need to refocus on family and work. I will remain involved in the Wake County Party, particularly on the fundraising front. I also plan to have a more targeted role in the 2012 Democratic races, to help make sure President Obama and Governor Perdue prevail in North Carolina as well as our Democratic candidates in the House and Senate.
We have a transition plan well underway to ensure the Party does not lose a beat. Tammy's position will be filled by year end so that she can work alongside her replacement. Our new chair will be installed at the January County Executive Committee meeting. Very capable leaders are stepping up as roles shift on the executive board, and you will be hearing more about that.
As someone who has worked on behalf of Democrats all of my adult life, I look forward to working with you on many more campaigns. Your encouragement and engagement in the critical challenges facing Wake County gives us hope. The cause never ceases.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve,