Late-breaking news over a domestic-violence conviction — and the ensuing fracas within the GOP — didn’t stop Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Timothy Johnson from sweeping to victory in the election for vice chair of the state party on Saturday.
Johnson defeated incumbent Vice Chair David Sawyer by a vote of 731 to 556 among the more than 1,600 delegates assembled in Raleigh. He is the first African-American to hold the position. In his platform, Johnson has promised to expand the party by pursuing younger voters, Hispanics and African-Americans while training new volunteers to be more tech savvy.
After WLOS TV news reported on Johnson’s 1996 domestic-violence conviction just days before the party convention, he issued a statement asserting that the issue was behind him, with an endorsement from his ex-wife attached. Meanwhile 11th Congressional District Chair Steve Duncan criticized Johnson and said that party members felt like they were deceived. However, other party members leapt to his defense and on Saturday the Carolina Stompers conservative activist group called for an investigation into the financial management of the 11th District GOP committee.
— David Forbes, staff writer