NC Democrats reject establishment choices for party leadership

New NCDP Chair Anderson Clayton.

RALEIGH — North Carolina Democrats on Saturday rejected the party establishment’s preferences for leadership, choosing instead a slate of untested progressives. 

Anderson Clayton, the party’s Person County chair, led the upstart team to a shocking win at the party’s state executive committee meeting. 

Clayton defeated Bobbie Richardson, the party’s first black female chair who was backed by Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein and most of the party’s elected officials at the federal and state level. 

In a statement, Clayton thanked Democrats from across the state “for trusting me to lead our party as we prepare for the 2023 and 2024 elections. I ran for Chair because I believe that we can build a brighter future for NCDP from the ground up, and I can’t wait to get to work.” 

Clayton campaigned saying the state party wasn’t doing enough to turn out its base and help candidates in rural areas. 

The turnover in the top spot of party leadership stands in contrast to the North Carolina Republican Party, which will see incumbent chair Michael Whatley run for a third term at the June state Republican convention. Whatley has been chair since 2019, leading state Republicans to victories in two U.S. Senate seats, regaining a supermajority in the state Senate and sweeping statewide judicial races in 2020 and 2022.