New Buncombe GOP chief wants to do it “right”

Mark Delk, the new chair of the Buncombe County Republican Party in the wake of Mike Harrison‘s sudden resignation from the post, plans to take the high road in his approach to recent disgruntlement in local GOP ranks. “None of us [has] a monopoly on truth,” Delk said in an e-mail to Xpress. Thus, he sees disagreement “as confirmation that democracy is a continuing search for what is right.”

Delk, a veteran precinct chair for the Republicans in Avery’s Creek, was selected by acting chairman Richard Mills and confirmed by the BCRP’s executive committee at a June 4 special meeting. He will serve until the 2008 county convention, when a new election can be held.

Harrison, a retired U.S. Army colonel and resident of Barnardsville, ran unsuccessfully for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners in 2004 and the N.C. House of Representatives last year. He was elected chair of the county Republicans in March, defeating local business owner and political activist Chad Nesbitt in a contest that seemed to leave a few bruises on the spirits of some Republican Party operatives.

The dissension was reportedly amplified by a Web posting by Harrison that caused some Nesbitt supporters to criticize the new chair for “condescending” remarks about the virtues of experiencing more of the world than Buncombe County. In the wake of the criticism, Harrison resigned in May, blaming personal attacks on both his and his wife’s character.

Asked about the chairmanship turnover and Delk’s appointment, Nesbitt told Xpress that he thinks the new chair is “on the right track.”

“I think he’s going to be real good about communicating with other Republicans,” Nesbitt said. “As far as Mike Harrison’s resigning, I have no comment.”

Delk gives a simple description of his own political philosophy in approaching the chairmanship: “We, as Republicans, need to base everything we do on what is right—not what is expedient [or] popular.” He says he believes the recent internal stress is resolved, but notes that he doesn’t see differences of opinion as a problem or a threat.

“The recent events are also a sign that we are all deeply committed to making a positive difference in our community,” he commented.

Outside of party politics, Delk works as a legal assistant and co-owns an apartment complex with his wife.


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