Bothwell withdraws from Democratic chair race

A day after declaring his candidacy, Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell has withdrawn from the race for chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, stating it would interfere with his plans to seek other office in 2012.

Yesterday, Bothwell told Xpress that several precinct chairs had approached him, and that he had decided to run for the job because “I believe a party needs to stand for something” and that Democrats are often too similar to their GOP rivals, something he hoped to change by pushing a more progressive platform.

Partisan office-holders cannot simultaneously be party chairs, but Council members are officially non-partisan. However, in a comment left on Xpress’ original blog post, Bothwell says that restriction interferes with his future plans, and would compromise his ability to act as chair.

“I’ve withdrawn my nomination,” Bothwell writes. “There is a very strong likelihood that I will enter a primary race in 2012, and would have to quit the post were I elected chair. I decided it would be irresponsible to seek a position I would have to vacate in several months, just as the 2012 election cycle was heating up – the point at which the chair’s job would presumably be most critical.”

The move leaves Lindsey Simerly, director of field and outreach for Rep. Heath Shuler‘s campaign, the only declared candidate in the race, for the moment. Party officials will choose the chair at their annual convention April 9.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


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14 thoughts on “Bothwell withdraws from Democratic chair race

  1. aperturefocus

    Mr Bothwell, Moving on up, thats good. Send me an email if you need a photographer..

  2. dog

    In one day and out the next? Not a lot of thought went into this….wonder if he puts any more effort or though into other decisions… how to best spend your money on Asheville.

  3. FYI, about five days separated the two decisions. At first, being agreeable, I said “yes” when several precinct chairs asked if they could submit my name in nomination for a post I had never considered.

    But several days of serious reflection, triggered by that request, made it clear to me that my likely run for another office would have forced me to quit the post next fall. Basically, the nomination forced me to make a decision I had intended to postpone until late summer. I guarantee that several years of thought have gone into the overall picture, but I was caught short by my supporters enthusiastic recruitment.

    Running for any office, including party positions, involves a significant investment of time and energy. I probably should have said “no” to the chair request at the outset … but, as stated, I’m inclined to be agreeable and the most likely candidate for the post had already opted out.

  4. Margaret Williams

    I’ve eaten there too. Community organizing … a little weak there.

  5. Politics Watcher

    Will Councilman Bothwell have to give up his eat on City Council when he runs for Congress?

  6. bill smith

    I don’t know, Margaret. You seem to do a passable job organizing this online community.

    Is Bothwell going to run for Sheriff? That would be cool. Sheriff Bothwell, Carolina Ranger.

  7. reasonable

    Don’t believe so. However, were he to actually win the election, not just the primary, then yes, the dual mandate laws would require it.

    Otherwise we’re stuck with him.

  8. Margaret Williams

    @BS — only passable? In any case, I wouldn’t call it “organizing.”

  9. JWTJr

    You know, I feel bad about the Nesbitt reference. However, I feel a Mumpower comparison coming on. That would really be something to watch, Carl and Cecil fighting it out for that seat. On so many levels.


  10. Mick Ballantine

    @Margaret: you do a good job here (I’m not kissing up). In fact you do the best job of anyone who has moderated here in the past 3 years, at the least. You are inclusive and fair. Thanks for that.

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