WILMINGTON Robin Hayes was elected to a third term as chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party on Saturday, defeating challenger Jim Womack, chairman of the Lee County GOP, 62 percent to 38 percent at the party’s state convention at the Wilmington Convention Center. Hayes and vice chair Michele Nix both won new two-year terms.Hayes, 71, was first elected chairman of the NCGOP in 2011 but opted to not run for re-election in 2013. Hayes returned to the job last year after the state party removed Hasan Harnett, who had won the position in 2015 with the help of tea party supporters, from the post.”I’m proud to have received overwhelming support & enthusiastically look forward to serving the @ncgop. We’ll build on our success for 2018!” Hayes said on his Twitter account (@ChairmanHayes) shortly after winning re-election.Womack, a supporter of Harnett who opposed his removal from his post in 2016, opposed Hayes on a platform of running the state party as a business rather than “like a country club.”Hayes pointed to his success in returning financial stability to the party, and he also led the party to supermajorities in last fall’s elections though Republicans did lose the governorship when Attorney General Roy Cooper unseated Gov. Pat McCrory, who spoke at the event.Hayes praised Womack in another tweet Saturday evening.”And thank you to @James_K_Womack for a hard fought and spirited campaign. Your involvement, ideas and enthusiasm is welcome anytime! #RedNC” HayesThe weekend was highlighted by two female guest speakers with close ties to President Donald Trump. Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Trump who, at times, has been front and center in delivering the president’s messages to the media, was the event’s keynote speaker. Also speaking was Lara Trump, a native of Wilmington, NC State alumna and wife of Eric Trump, the president’s middle-born son. Lara Trump was named a senior consultant to the Trump campaign in late March.McCrory took some jabs at Cooper during his speech, criticizing his replacement for the handling of Hurricane Matthew recovery and also calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to revisit attempts at establishing voter ID laws. That echoes what Hayes said the president told him last month during a meeting in Washington, D.C.
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