Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Tim Johnson, who was recently elected Vice Chair of the state party, will step down from his local leadership post on July 31, according to an announcement yesterday. County Vice Chair Robert Malt will take over as chair.
Johnson will soon move to Durham with his family. According to the announcement, the primary reason for the step is a professional opportunity for his wife, though it will also put him closer to the state party headquarters.
“Throughout my campaign for state Vice Chairman, and through my time as County Chairman, my wife has supported me through good times and bad. She has stood by me and given me the strength I needed,” Johnson declares in the announcement. “I never intended to leave Buncombe County and I plan to maintain strong ties here, but it’s my turn now to support my wife and her goals.”
Johnson announced the decision at the party’s Annual Chairman’s Picnic on Saturday. In the announcement, he also expresses confidence in Malt, who has served as the local party’s 1st Vice Chair since March, calling him “a strategic thinker who knows what takes to win.” The GOP didn’t fare well locally, statewide or nationally in the last elections.
Malt will be the fourth chair of the local Republican Party in as many years. Johnson’s two predecessors either resigned or refused to run for re-election due to battles within the party.
Johnson’s rise to state Vice Chair — making him the first African-American to hold a leadership position in the state GOP — was marked by a controversial and sometimes bitter battle, with critics questioning his academic credentials and saying he wasn’t forthcoming about a 1996 domestic violence conviction in Ohio. However, Johnson won the Vice Chair’s spot handily at the party’s June convention and some local activists have credited him with bringing energy and better organization to the party.
In his new post, Johnson has promised to work to end factionalism, bring in new demographic groups to the GOP and better use technology.
The full announcement from the Buncombe County Republican Party is below.
—David Forbes, staff writer
Timothy F. Johnson, Chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party, will step down, effective July 31. 1st Vice Chairman, Robert Malt, will step in as Chairman. Johnson first announced this decision at yesterday’s Annual Chairman’s Picnic, citing a career opportunity in the Raleigh area for his wife as the primary reason. Johnson was elected as the state Vice Chairman last month and this move also puts him closer to the state Republican Party’s headquarters.
“Throughout my campaign for state Vice Chairman, and through my time as County Chairman, my wife has supported me through good times and bad. She has stood by me and given me the strength I needed,” says Johnson. “I never intended to leave Buncombe County and I plan to maintain strong ties here, but it’s my turn now to support my wife and her goals.”
Malt has served as 1st Vice Chairman since the March County Convention and is responsible for bringing several new precinct chairs and area coordinators to the party. He has worked extensively in recent months to organize the precincts in preparation for the upcoming 2009 and 2010 elections. Johnson expressed confidence that his resignation would not have a negative impact on the progress that has been made.
“We have a solid group of young and energetic officers who are eager to move our party forward.” Johnson said. “Robert is a strategic thinker who knows what takes to win. He is surrounded by a dedicated organization of volunteers who are willing to work hard to move our community and our country in the right direction.”
Johnson expects to return to Buncombe County often in his role as NCGOP Vice Chairman. He has already visited several counties throughout the state since his election. The NCGOP Plan of Organization states, “The Vice-Chairman shall maintain close liaison with the District and County Vice-Chairman and encourage and direct activities in the Party structure.”
Johnson has been credited with increasing diversity within the party, embracing the use of effective technology, and uniting the local party around the Republican Principles. He was first elected as Chairman of the Buncombe GOP in March 2008.
For more information about NCGOP Vice Chairman Timothy F. Johnson, please visit www.ncgopvicechair.com.