Carney elected Buncombe Democratic Chair

By acclamation, the assembled delegates of the Buncombe County Democratic Party elected Emmet Carney (pictured at right with outgoing chair Charles Carter) their new chair at the annual convention this morning.

Photo by Jerry Nelson

It was a quick and peaceful end to a race that shifted rapidly over the past few weeks, with a number of candidates throwing their hats into the ring, and then picking them back up.

“You’ve delivered us a potentially brilliant future,” Carney told the delegates, assembled in the Buncombe County courthouse. “Together we are going to rise and seek our destiny… we will maintain the moral high ground, we will deliver a slate of vetted and tested candidates and we will rise above them and over them and through them like a righteous tide.”

While local business owner Grant Millin had previously declared a run for the position, he dropped his bid.

Only one race — for second Vice Chair — ended up a contested race, with incumbent Isaac Coleman narrowly defeating Michael Vavrek, 255-245.

“I have served this position for two terms, I’ve worked hard for this party and I’m qualified,” Coleman said.

Vavrek, meanwhile, praised Coleman for his service but said he had a plan to better train and organize precinct chairs, as well as handle potential primary battles.

“We are all committed to Democratic principles, we all want all Democrats to win,” Vavrek said. “If we’re disciplined in our planning and something unexpected happens, we’ll keep our heads while everyone else is losing theirs.”

Some delegates raised the issue of diversity of the party’s leadership in the contest between Vavrek and Coleman, who is African-American. By party rules, the chair and first vice chair must be of opposite gender. The guidelines also recommend a position for a “person of color” and someone under the age of 35, according to Jake Quinn, acting as party secretary.

However, Coleman noted that he was glad there was no requirement to give the spot to a racial minority, asserting that “now we can see where our hearts are, we can vote on qualifications.”

After his victory, Coleman declared that “diversity is important, I was told that 50 years ago, this was the party of all white people. We’re making some progress.”

In addition to Carney and Coleman, the party elected Linda Fowler as first vice chair, Sherry Henline as third Vice Chair, Marianne Cote as secretary and Quinn as treasurer.

The mood was mostly jovial, except for a few points of contention. The party only has two voting methods available — voice or weighted delegate count, with different precincts having greater or lesser weight depending on the level of Democratic turnout they possess. When the party voted on resolutions, this sometimes led to the “ayes” and “nays” trying to out-shout each other, and a general aversion to the more time-consuming vote count that was the only alternative.

The main contention came over a resolution to recommend that Asheville City Council change its development guidelines to give a Council hearing to all projects over 10,000 square feet. An amendment to change that to 50,000 square feet couldn’t get a clear voice vote, so the delegates counted up votes, and the amendment passed 147-144.

Other notable resolutions included opposition to a state senate bill that would remove the cap on charter schools (and take funding away from public schools, according to the resolution’s proponents, who succeeded in passing it), a condemnation of the leadership of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (which failed) and another opposing state GOP Rep. Tim Moffitt‘s proposed legislation to elect the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners by district, which passed overwhelmingly.

— David Forbes, senior news reporter


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

30 thoughts on “Carney elected Buncombe Democratic Chair

  1. invisiblefriend

    In the picture, its pretty obvious they are looking at the same thing, and not very happy about it.

    My guess is that the new guy is muttering under his breath to the other guy “I cant believe we have to sit at the same table with so-and-so”

    any other guesses?

  2. Poly

    That is a terrible image – they both look like they ate the worst thing for lunch and it’s about to come back up.
    Nice job trying not to flatter anyone’s looks MX.

  3. bill smith

    @Jerry-TP and others believe there is a conspiracy to show torsos. Although in the past he has claimed it a liberal conspiracy to show Republican torsos…


  4. Ken Hanke

    “Odd torso shots…”?

    I could be wrong, but I think it refers to the vertical compositions, which don’t fit well in the format of the layout. Stylistically — even though it’s vertical — the cropping of the legs makes it akin to the old “Hollywood shot” that used to be favored by movies a considerable while back.

    I’m personally still more concerned over this dinky font that looks like we’re trying to write things on the head of a pin.

  5. bill smith

    [i]I’m personally still more concerned over this dinky font that looks like we’re trying to write things on the head of a pin. [/i]

    Either i have super-human eyesight, or you need to adjust something with your computer.

    “Ctrl +” should do the trick.

  6. @Bill Smith: I do believe that your memory is faulty. In the previous thread where I brought up the odd-looking torso shots,, I mentioned nothing about a conspiracy, YOU were the one who mentioned it. Tsk, tsk.

    @Ken Hanke: The solution to that (if they really want to show torsos) is to use a real camera, back up a bit, and crop the resultant photo to make a pleasant wide shot that includes the trademarked MX-Torso Shot™. Or, combine two shots side-by-side.

    In regards to the tiny font, I just crank up the screen size by pressing the ctrl button and rolling my mouse wheel until it at a size I can see, then when I’m done, I crank it back.

  7. Ken Hanke

    My question about the size is why it needs to vary from article to article? Only some of them need artificially enlarging past the 100% point.

  8. boatrocker

    Don’t worry, people. Asheville politics can’t be any more muddled and convoluted than they already are-

    I’m personally just happy as all get out that we finally have another politician who plays the fiddle in power, for better or worse.

    I’m hearing a lot of Kenny Baker in his playing but haven’t ever raided his music collection. Thomas Jefferson played the fiddle too and look at all those unpopular ideas of dissent for societal improvement via written form that he crafted. Carry the fire.

  9. Barry Summers

    Is that quote right?

    “…we will deliver a slate of vetted and tested candidates and we will rise above them and over them and through them like a righteous tide.”

    Doesn’t sound too pleasant for the candidates, really. And once you trample, drown, or disembowel your own candidates, how do you propose to win elections?

  10. Nelda Holder

    Stressful, Mat, stressful.
    And: “Stressful.” Period goes inside the quote.

  11. Barry Summers

    I don’t understand. My joke gives you stress? Might I recommend one of those squeezy balls?

  12. No, sorry. That’s just the word as used by Mr. Carney in his announcement to run for the post. It’s on Scrutiny Hooligans (to which I have nicely provided a link above).

  13. Barry Summers

    Ah yes, the “I Have Mastered My Emotions” speech. A classic. A sincere good luck to Mr. Carney.

    And I’ve scoured these comments on both sites – could it be that I’m the only bottom-feeder that sees the joke about the BC Dems being a circus and the new Chairman is a ‘carnie’? Could it be? What did I win/lose for being the first to break out that joke?

  14. AVLokel

    “Together we are going to rise and seek our destiny… we will maintain the moral high ground, we will deliver a slate of vetted and tested candidates and we will rise above them and over them and through them like a righteous tide.”

    Wow! This sounds like Tea Party propaganda. Who is this guy?

  15. Barry Summers

    For one thing, he’s a bluegrass musician. Now, Old Timey I could see. But bluegrass?

  16. invisiblefriend

    “We will deliver a slate of vetted and tested candidates and we will rise above them and over them….”

    Thats not very nice to rise above and over someone you delivered.

  17. bill smith

    [i]And: “Stressful.” Period goes inside the quote. [/i]

    Maybe you should read the quote.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.