Chad Nesbitt is no stranger to bare-knuckle political sparring. The Carolina Stompers, the conservative activist group he founded in 2007, has perfected the art of brash campaigning for candidates and causes.

Chad Nesbitt Photo by Jonathan Welch

Now, however, Nesbitt has ceded his position as lead Stomper to his friend Harry Maroni. On March 28, the Buncombe County Republican Party elected Nesbitt its chair after a speech in which he laid out an ambitious plan to raise major campaign dollars and attract new party members via a team of seven outreach committees focused on matters ranging from education to the military to religion.

This year, the party's candidates will be challenging such relatively entrenched Democrats as U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler and state Sen. Martin Nesbitt (Chad's stepfather). Nonetheless, the Stomper-turned-party-chair forecasts a string of local GOP victories. "Any race that is lost, I will consider my fault," he declares, adding, "Every race will be won."

Xpress met with Nesbitt recently to talk about these and other matters. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

Mountain Xpress: How long have you thought about being involved in leading the party at the county level?
Chad Nesbitt:
Well, I was asked to run by members of the Executive Committee. … Also, a lot of people from the Tea Party asked me to run, so I did.

When you made your speech before the vote at the convention, you said the Executive Committee had sought you out because you're a "street-fighting promoter." What does that mean to you?
Someone who, instead of just talking about it, actually does something about it.

You also said you're going to bring some marketing and strategic skills to the table. What are some of the initiatives you're planning?
One of the biggest things I want to do is reach out to everybody: That's something that hasn't been done in a long time in the B.C. GOP.

And you announced at the convention that you're planning a fundraising telethon for the party.
It'll probably be the biggest fundraiser I've ever done, and I've done a lot. It will be on Charter Cable 10, and we'll run reruns of it. We've got some big-name celebrities lined up; I can't tell you who they are right now, but they're huge political figures. We'll show segments of what we feel is socialistic terrorism from the Democratic Party and our solutions to it.

We'll have average people there too, asking them what they think, and our candidates and our volunteers. My goal is to make us $250,000 to $300,000 for the Buncombe County GOP.

This year brings some interesting local contests. Your stepfather, state Sen. Martin Nesbitt, is seeking re-election, and you'll be actively pitted against him. What's that like for you?
Martin and I have been pitted against each other for years, and a lot of that is on a personal basis. Frankly, if he loses the election it will be a good thing, because the North Carolina Democratic Party is so corrupt, we'll probably keep him out of jail. … So we might do him a favor when he loses the election.

You're stressing the importance of the party reaching out to all kinds of people, but I noticed that you said your Faith Committee's "sole purpose is to preserve Christian values and American traditions." How far does that go? Are Jewish members welcome in the Buncombe GOP, or Muslim members, etc.?
We, as Republicans, most of us do have Christian values, and we're attacked so many times, over and over again by the Democratic Party, because of our Christian values, our family values. So I stand by it, but I think what's more important is that we all believe in God, be it Jewish, Muslim, whatever.

OK, how about an atheist Republican? Would they be welcome?

A gay Republican?
Sure, absolutely. … A big misconception about me is that I have it out for gays, and that's not true. I think whatever two people do in the privacy of their own bedroom is their own business, and I've always thought that. What really pisses me off is if you see someone bully someone because they may be effeminate or they may be too butch. The Carolina Stompers would support anybody who is being bullied. But we feel like we're being bullied: when you're pushing your sexual lifestyle on people, that's what we've got a problem with.

Do you think the Stompers will stay active without you at the helm?
Absolutely; Harry will do a good job. He's a quick wit, and he's good at finding good stories out there that support our cause.

Some of your progressive critics have said that your ascension to the party chairmanship is a boon for them. One wrote on the Xpress Web site: "This is truly great news for Democrats and third-party candidates. … Democrats should be dancing in the streets over this news." What do you say to that?
It tells me that they're running scared. You know me: I like to stir it up with these guys and poke fun at the liberals, but I laugh at it.

Some say you take the political brawling too far. When progressive activist Cecil Bothwell was elected to Asheville City Council, you wrote online, "Dear God, may Mister Bothwell please receive syphilis."
That's taken out of context: It was a parody … that I did as a comedy stunt.

For the record, then, do you hope Bothwell will contract syphilis?
No, I do not. I wouldn't wish that on anybody [laughs].

And what do you say to critics who say you're too militant?
Look out: It's coming. … We're going to change the face of Buncombe County politics with this administration.

Jon Elliston can be reached at or at 251-1333, ext. 127.



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About Jon Elliston
Former Mountain Xpress managing editor Jon Elliston is the senior editor at WNC magazine.

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60 thoughts on “Askville

  1. Jon Elliston


    Thanks for reading this interview, and Xpress welcomes comments on it. That said, given that the work of Nesbitt and the Carolina Stompers has generated so much heated dialog on this site in the past, we’re going to take extra measures to try to keep the discussion here civil. On this thread, we require that there be no name-calling, and that anyone who posts here use their full name.

    Thank you,

    Jon Elliston

  2. John Baughman

    Nice job on the interview. It’s refreshing to see the Republican Party tapping a leader who supports a big tent policy. This has always been one of my problems with Republican leadership. The last few BCGOP chairman have ignored the basic logic of party outreach and mending fences within the party itself. If I see you live up to this, I will reconsider my girlfriend’s repeated calls to switch from I to R.

    Congratulations on your recent victory. And if you can raise 10% of the cash you say you can raise, you’ll be successful. Cheers!

  3. Don Yelton

    yes and thanks for asking for people to use their full names and that is not hard for me to do. I have placed all guestions that I have received on my web site. and I suggest that others do the same. Open meetings and open books must start with us.

    Again, thanks for asking for upfront comments that people are willing to make.

  4. Don Yelton

    Jim please see the questions from Equality NC when they get put up on the web site mentioned above. They are wanting legislation to push a particular sexual life style on all people.

  5. Don Yelton

    These are the bills and I am talking about the questionnaire that they sent out to candidates. IT is a different story. Everything is not what it appears to be and please put your name on each comment.

  6. contentpersephone

    Excuse me, Mr. Yelton – Jim (Mr Yuck) has already provided everyone with his full name.

    The fact that this has been asked here (giving out one’s full name) as a requirement to post on this thread, and not others, after all the times that this blog has allowed ridiculous stomper/topix trolling is absurd to me.

    If *you* wish to step forward as a moderator for the blogs, it would seem that your self-nomination would be welcomed by Mr. Elliston.

    The idea of any legislation “forcing” someone to “change” their sexual orientation is clearly ridiculous.

    signed: contentpersephone – Claire Reeder

  7. shadmarsh

    How about some of these example of the Democratic party attacking your (so called) Christian values?

    Also, why do you hate Jews?*

    *it’s ok, it’s a comedy stunt!

  8. shadmarsh

    These are the bills and I am talking about the questionnaire that they sent out to candidates. IT is a different story. Everything is not what it appears to be and please put your name on each comment.

    Your boyfriend* gets some power and now you think you can start demanding people sign there name to every post?

    *again, comedy stunt.

  9. shadmarsh

    The fact that this has been asked here (giving out one’s full name) as a requirement to post on this thread, and not others, after all the times that this blog has allowed ridiculous stomper/topix trolling is absurd to me.

    My guess is Don threw a temper tantrum awhile back and the editors caved to his silly demands.

  10. Mr. Yelton,
    You’re running on a platform of “home rule” LAO, & jobs. What is “home rule” and why is it important?

    How would you go about developing a better private sector job environment?

    Currently, accountability and openess, seem woefully far and away from the spirit and letter of NC state laws. In order to gain access to public records, one has to go through considerable expense. Least this is my experience. I think most citizens would like to see more transparency, no matter what their personal political beliefs are.
    What would you do to increase transparency?

  11. shadmarsh

    I love how these Stompers make all these wild accusations about how everyone who thinks differently (or thinks at all) from them is corrupt, and how they are constantly being persecuted for their “beliefs”, yet they cannot provide one single instance of such behavior.
    I get that because Mr. Nesbitt was elected to head the local GOP that a news story is worthy of that, but I would hope that now he is a bona fide public figure that a few local journalists, or even just one, would finally hold him accountable and ask him to actually back up, with verifiable evidence, the many seemingly spurious claims he has made and continues to make. Anyone?

    Cue the sound of crickets

  12. Don Yelton

    Thanks for asking but transparency is so simple. It first starts with financial accountability.

    That is accomplished by requiring anyone that gets tax money to open thier books. That is more than the 990. That means check number, to whom the check was written, for what and which line item the check is assigned to. We as citizens could then monitor where the money goes and compare with the audit.

    I was very upset when I went to Raleigh while investigating something and found out that the auditors in Raleigh just checked to see if the totals were correct and never anything else.

    Also, tv should be used to record all board meetings that are a result of the City or County. I was also upset many years ago when I found out that notes were not even taken for board meetings. They have begun to do so now.

    Closed meeting are to be held for only three reasons and one of those is not to discuss prayer at the beginning of the commissioners meeting. If they discuss that, then they are discussing other things all of the time. If Nathan Ramsey would do it he could confirm. But, we do not have a desire to expose the truth.

    You can see on these threads here how it goes to name calling and personal attacks. Even now we have people making wild comments about me throwing a temper tantrum when people should be proud to sign what they say.

    Now for home rule. Home rule means that Asheville should control their water department, Buncombe County should not have to go to Raleigh for pemission to hold a referendum.

    If we put the responsibility closer to the people affected then we would get better government. It would force us to be involved as we could not say well Raleigh will not let us.

    Actually, I keep hoping that people will do the right thing if they have the information. I believe we are coming fast to a point where we will see now that what we have done is not working and we are facing the greatest tax increase ever experienced.

    When that happens, non-profits will shut down because profit is where they get their support. Jobs will be lost and those that pay to have lawn work done will let it grow up. All we need to do is look to downtown Detroit and see what happens.

    As for developing jobs, I found that a private business never refused to do anythng when asked upfront and government should be helping not stopping business growth. Most business people want to know the rules and not have the rules changed based upon the day that the inspector is having. That is a fact. The government has now gotten to where the fees are designed to pay the cost of operation of the departments and what do we get for that.

    I also believe we need to use cross pollination of departments and use UNC-A and AB Community College to aid with business. This should be part of their courses. This would save money, get experience for the students, and just make common sense.

    Thanks for asking

  13. Don Yelton

    I love the way that these threads prove that a lot of the people that say they are progressive or well somewhat off bubble, only say they want freedom but it must just be for them. In reality the above link exposes the real you just perfect. Sorry man I will not shut the _____up.

    Your class just came out but it is really hard to see under it under the topsoil.

  14. Frankly, if he loses the election it will be a good thing, because the North Carolina Democratic Party is so corrupt, we’ll probably keep him out of jail. … So we might do him a favor when he loses the election.

    It seems to me if Chad Nesbitt is going to make libelous statements for personal reasons against his stepfather and the Mountain Xpress is going to print them, there had better be some very real and hard evidence to back this up. Maybe a news reporter could look into allegations like that and print an actual news story.

    “Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always,[1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed.”

    Christopher Carrie in North Carolina
    would be the full expression of my super secret online identity mask.

  15. Don Yelton

    I repeat “Your class just came out but it is really hard to see under it under the topsoil.”

    As I have said before your post just show what your really are. Keep it up because you do not see just how your comments make you look.

    When you have no points you must go to the name game.

    I repeat “Your class just came out but it is really hard to see under it under the topsoil.”

  16. Don Yelton

    I see that you can not count because you did get it three times which is equal to a three peat.

    Like I said thanks for always proving me right.

  17. Ken Hanke

    You are all misunderstanding the gay thing here. The idea is that gay people would be just fine as long as they go back into the closet and keep the fact to themselves. Some of us — straight, gay and those who have yet to make up their minds — do not consider this a reasonable or equitable concept.

  18. Who

    Another thing – I have the feeling that Chad Nesbitt will be a wild, crazy, and inflammatory speaker, and that is how he will get you his attention – the so-called marketing skills. I could see 200, 300 people coming to his rallies and events. But really, that is not very many people. Just like the tea baggers. In actuality, the tea baggers are a very small percentage of our population. They just get a lot of attention – a bunch of squeeky wheels. They are not instep with the predominant sentiments of the nation, even though they say they are. Really, and on a bigger scale, what we are seeing is the end of the Reagan era. The tea baggers, Palin, Beck, Limbaugh, and the Hannity’s are getting more crazy and desperate, if you haven’t noticed. These elements start to get louder and more raucous as they start to diminish. If they had capability to look hard and smart at the bigger picture, they would see this. As always, and through out history, there will be those who don’t even know what the game is anymore. There is an inability to discern the natural flow of events, and in frustration and confusion will struggle to find relevancy.

  19. Don Yelton

    Actually Ken that is not what I have said and I suggest you read the web site and look under replies to discover my answer.

    I am not forcing my beliefs on someone and I do not want theirs forced on me. What about being forced is so hard for some folks to understand.

  20. shadmarsh

    A) Isn’t there a policy about not posting links promoting things here?

    B) Don, How is asking for equal protection under the law and civil rights forcing anything on you?

  21. Don Yelton

    you ask me if there is a policy about posting links when you did this
    “I think CAKE says it best:

    It is not about equal rights it is about special rights and you just proved that you want to do something and not let someone else to the same thing. Thanks again Shad for proving my points. I will also thank Ken for his question which trigger your one sided response.

  22. shadmarsh

    actually I wasn’t asking you, and I didn’t say links, I said link promoting things…like your senate bid for instance.

    to the second part I can only say “Huh?” It has been nice chatting with you Don, but I am due back on planet Earth now.

  23. Follow up questions?
    How did we lose “home rule” or did we ever have it? Is water the only asset or governing ability, of Buncombe’s that is controlled in Raleigh?

    Why are AB Tech and UNCA not “cross pollinating” now” and what ideas do you have for implementing a program to get them started? My understanding is a Tech school teaches trades, vs. a University teaches professions. How can those tow widely different approaches be combined?

  24. Jon Elliston


    To clarify, Xpress doesn’t have a policy prohibiting posting of links to political sites.

    We would, however, frown on most links that are strictly commercial spam.

  25. Ken Hanke

    Actually Ken that is not what I have said and I suggest you read the web site and look under replies to discover my answer.

    It would be helpful if you indicated where this issue is addressed in those replies. I do not see it as a topic-header. Though actually, I was not addressing your thoughts on the topic specifically.

  26. Jon Elliston what is the Xpress policy on publishing potentially libelous statements? Neither you nor Chad Nesbitt have addressed the personally motivated slanderous statements against his stepfather, Martin Nesbitt.

    Christopher Carrie in North Carolina
    would be the full expression of my super secret online identity mask.

  27. Jon Elliston


    Yours is a good question.

    It’s very hard to libel a public figure like a politician, especially with a statement as vague as the one Chad made. In addition, what he was referencing was the fact that so many powerful Democrats in Raleigh have had legal troubles of late — his reasoncing being that there’s a pattern there that any Democrat leader should be mindful of.

  28. Jon I do understand it is hard to libel a politician. Suggesting someone could be in jail implies criminal conduct on the part of that person. Is that vague? No it is a direct smear. It really is past time for the media to stop enabling this kind of behaviour from rebublican operatives. If claims like this are going to be made then they need to be backed up with facts.

    Christopher Carrie in North Carolina
    would be the full expression of my super secret online identity mask.

  29. shadmarsh

    related to what Christopher said, I am guessing that the above “interview” was edited? Or is that the sum total of your interview with Chad Nesbitt? I ask because if it was edited, why would you allow the smear to stay in?

    Curious in Asheville

  30. shadmarsh

    well, of course…Don and Chad have been given plenty of rope to hang themselves with, and they seem to have no inkling that they are doing so, which as humorous as that is to me, they seem to be able to get away with saying things that other would not. Perhaps this is because their consciouses are lodged firmly in the 12th century and they just don’t know any better, or perhaps it is some other reason all together.
    I think the real story here is that is the local GOP really going to support someone who wishes VD on a city council-member (comedy “stunt” or not)? Someone who has repeatedly uttered bigoted remarks, someone who has had some fairly shady business dealings (including ties to illegal gambling)Someone who believes in witchcraft, and etc etc…The silence is deafening.

  31. Let’s see. Mountain Xpress has their very own Deep Throat waltz into the office for an interview and tells of a potentially explosive story of local political corruption to which Deep Throat has close personal insider connections and the managing editor of the paper…Yawns. Ho hum boring! I’ll let the readers decide if their state senator is a crook.

    Forget Chad and the BCGOP. Don’t you get Jon how poorly this reflects on you, your paper and your profession?

    Christopher Carrie in North Carolina
    would be the full expression of my super secret online identity mask.

  32. R.Bernier opinions

    After reading remarks from Shadmarsh & Christopher Carrie its clear that they are the ones who have closed minds here.

    Stand on principle,


  33. jimmytwotimes

    How do you welcome atheists? Are they to be considered full members? If they don’t share your Christian values then what sort of values would you share with them? As you seem to have defined the BCGOP as an organization based at its core on religious principles, by what logic does this allow for those that find their values elsewhere? Seems like an obvious contradiction to me.
    Jeff Self

  34. Jessica B.

    Mr. Yelton says: “Actually Ken that is not what I have said and I suggest you read the web site and look under replies to discover my answer.

    I am not forcing my beliefs on someone and I do not want theirs forced on me. What about being forced is so hard for some folks to understand. ”

    First off, Mr. Yelton, you didn’t answer anything on the ENC questionaire. In your letter to them, you refused to answer the specific questions because you claimed you found the questionaire to be “very distasteful”. Not surprising, really, given your attitudes towards the LGBT community, specifically transgendered people. Some of us still remember Mr. Yelton and Mr. Nesbitt’s article railing against Public Access Television which attempted to scapegoat Trans folk by opening the article with a snide comment about a program called “Tranny Talk” and a comparison to Nazi Skinheads and how this was what we could expect if URTV became a reality. (Instead we ended up with Mr. Yelton’s program…)

    Mr. Nesbitt also says: “What really pisses me off is if you see someone bully someone because they may be effeminate or they may be too butch. The Carolina Stompers would support anybody who is being bullied.”

    Really? Is this why you oppose non-discrimination ordinances and anti-bullying ordinances that include gender identity and sexual orientation? Is this why you’ve stated you plan to fight against proposed Domestic Partners Benefits for Asheville City employees? Is this why you joined with Mr. Yelton in attempting to demonize Transgendered people in your article against URTV? Is this why you posted a commercial on your Carolina Stompers webpage that implied that transgendered people were predators waiting to follow children into public restrooms?

    Sorry Mr. Nesbitt. You’ve shown your true colors when it comes to the LGBT community, and so has Mr. Yelton.

    Jessica Britton
    Co-founder, Phoenix Transgender Support

  35. shadmarsh

    I think Chris has raised several important points…is anyone at the Xpress going to address them?

  36. Don Yelton

    Back to some dialogue that is meaniful. The Townships gave up authority during the depression. They had no means to fullfill their obligations and passed control to the State.

    The Counties and Cities exist based upon authority granted to them by the state, thus nanny state mentality.

    We could not have a vote for county wide zoning if we want it. We had to get permission from the State. The water issue was just a more visible problem than the zoning vote.

    MSD was established by special legislation and is only one of two independent waste water authorities in the state. Our local elected officials knew it was a problem and did not want to address it so they set up a mechanism that can increase rates and no direct vote on the members of the board.

    Actually in the past when I worked for the Land of Sky I found out that no one person knew how much each county sewer district was paying for the sewer put in the county but collected by the Asheville Water Department. It is common knowledge that in the past the water revenues were used to fund the city. That is one of the reasons for the sad condition of the water lines in the past when we were losing 50% of our water via leaks.

    Does this began to explain why people had interest in the water department rates. They collect sewer fees int he past but the charge by sanitary district was not know or checked as a matter of public record.

    Now we see that just maybe in the past there were some reasons for not charging more in the county.

    Shad I may have misspelled some words but i suggest you read very slowly to understand what I am saying here. I am a native of BC and have a history of the closed door operations from the past. Just maybe that is the reason for open books and open government.

    Now for your question concerning Technical Schools. We do not have Technical Schools any more, we have community colleges. Think about it. What technical trades do we have.

    I think it is Asheville Buncombe Community College. I just learned that some states are considereing a 10 year high school and then on to the community college.

    I made the suggestion that we use students to build single wide modulars on old mobile home frames. This would teach the building trades, electrical, plumbing, drafting, reused of old material, etc and then place these units in the community.

    Actually they could be designed to fit various lifestyles such as handicapped, blind, etc to afford these folks a way to live independent. Each unit could be returned and remodeled and reused and actually create capital for the affordable housing stock if they were to be sold.

    This is just one example for someone that is creative and thinks outside of the box. I understand that AB did this and no one wanted it. I never heard about it and in South Carolins they had such a program.

    Back to open communication and open books and open dialogue.

    Shad as you try to hang me you are actually tangled up in your rope. The sad part is you are so blinded that you can’t see that.

    Grow up and stop the childish attempts to one up someone.

  37. shadmarsh

    Don are you married, have children? Just curious as you talk about what is and what is not a family quite a bit, yet I see no mention on your website of you actually having one. Just curious

  38. shadmarsh

    Shad as you try to hang me you are actually tangled up in your rope. The sad part is you are so blinded that you can’t see that.

    Grow up and stop the childish attempts to one up someone.

    I’m really not trying to do anything Don, of course I think you are an idiot and I have no problem telling you so, which may be rude, but at least I am honest. I just like giving you the opportunity to reveal yourself as the mean-spirited bigoted and self-serving soul that you seem to be. Other than that I have no agenda or interest in you. If I thought you had an actual chance to win an election then I might be a bit more interested, but until that changes I will just enjoy seeing you stumble all over yourself with false bravado and bluster.

  39. Piffy!

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how the Stompers feel bullied by gay people.


  40. shadmarsh

    Don’t you know yet? Pointing out someones bigoted opinions makes you a bigot.

  41. shadmarsh

    Yes, but it will seem more appetizing after I force you to sit through a few comedy stunts.

  42. Jim Shura

    In your own words Don, How do you push a sexual lifestyle on people?

    I looked at your site. (As usual, you need a new webmaster) Maybe it is just my browser, but it looks like you failed to respond to the questions posed by ENC and are now asking that we be offended by those questions.

    I’m not offended by the questions. I’m offended because you are offended by the questions. A certain population wanted to know what you think about certain issues and you wouldn’t even answer.

    You are “dead in the water.” And before you, in your complete ignorance of all things having to do with history, accuse me of making a death threat, look up that term.

    Jim Shura

  43. Carrie

    In Don’s response to the questions he was way too offended to answer he wrote:

    “Studies have shown that gay relationships, shacking up before marriage and all other
    arrangements have not reduced the divorce rate. Are you sure you want all of those problems?
    Maybe we need a special class for people that stay married, raise kids, and keep the population going?”

    Wow, Don. What are you talking about? Gay relationships wouldn’t have any effect on the divorce rate since they can’t get married…

    The rest of it is priceless, too. I can’t believe you put this stuff on your campaign website… let alone you think it!

    Carrie McCarren

  44. Jim Shura

    How did you get to the responses? All I saw was a blank PDF of the questionnaire.

  45. Mr. Yelton, in your “home rule” platform, you appear to be concerned with similar issues as Gordon Smith,… over at Scrutiny Hooligans, he writes;
    “If Asheville received more of its own sales tax revenue, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If Asheville had control of its own water resources, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I hope we can work together to advocate for equity and fairness with our County Commissioners and Raleigh delegation.”

    How do we gain more control over our water resources and receive more of our sales tax revenues, from the state who most likely doesn’t want to give us any more. Do we do due diligence and ascertain what other counties are getting , then go demand fair treatment…do our area elected officials appeal to the state revenue depts. better side, or do we go the legal route and sue their pants off in a class action?

  46. Gabriel Shaffer

    Has anyone seen the HBO original East Bound and Down? I swear to god Chad Nesbitt is a Kenny Powers look alike! I think i found an example of his marketing strategies right here

    I wish Chad the best of luck on his crusade to further dumb down our local politics and look forward to hearing of his comedic exploits.
    “Major league money baby, major league.”

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