Monday, May 19, 2008

Meck Dems: Filling a vacancy and looking for a clarification

Six months after state Rep. Pete Cunningham resigned, Mecklenburg County Democrats are finally ready to nominate a successor to the longtime Charlotte lawmaker.

Democrats are scheduled to meet May 28 to nominate Kelly Alexander Jr. for the seat. Alexander won the May 6 primary over Mary Richardson. He faces Republican Gary Hardee in November, but the district is overwhelmingly Democratic.

Once recommended by his district's party executive committee, Alexander has to be appointed by Gov. Mike Easley. That's considered a formality.

Alexander would join a House already in progress. Its so-called short session started last week. But he isn't waiting. He'll meet with House Speaker Joe Hackney in Raleigh in Tuesday. He doesn't want to lose any more time.

"The train," he says, "has already pulled out of the station."


Party chairman Joel Ford says he expects Sen. Dan Clodfelter may also use the occasion of the May 28 meeting to clarify remarks he made in an email.

With a subject line that said "Disaffilate me," Clodfelter took issue with state party chairman Jerry Meek's endorsement of Barack Obama a day after Obama swept the N.C. primary.

"I do not wish to be associated with the party in consequence of this endorsement," Clodfelter wrote. He said later he was frustrated with email blasts from the party and piqued by Meek's endorsement. Clodfelter is a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Ford said he hopes Clodfelter clarifies his comments.

"People did take it as anti-Obama," he said.

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