A day after declaring his candidacy, Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell has withdrawn from the race for chair of the Buncombe County Democratic Party, stating it would interfere with his plans to seek other office in 2012.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“I’ve withdrawn my nomination,” Bothwell writes.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