News from a WLOS report that Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Timothy Johnson pled guilty 13 years ago to aggravated assault charges involving his former wife are now troubling his run for the state vice-chair position. Some party officials have said they should have known sooner, while Johnson has stated that the incident is behind him and is touting an endorsement from his ex-wife.
Johnson pled guilty in 1996 to aggravated assault in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. He was given an 18-months suspended sentence, and ordered to move to Toledo and undergo domestic-violence counseling.
In the WLOS report last night, 11th District Republican Party Chair Steve Duncan blasts Johnson for not letting party officials know about the conviction earlier and says that party members who supported Johnson now “feel like we were so deceived.”
In a statement on his campaign Web site, Johnson says that the news coming out so close to the vice-chair vote at the state GOP convention (in Raleigh this weekend) is suspect.
“There seems to be an attempt to discredit me, bring shame to my family and to publicly promote a distorted view of a particularly disappointing time in my life,” the statement reads. “On a very stressful Christmas of 1995 my ex-wife and I were at an unhappy place in our lives which I will not discuss in depth. I stepped forward and accepted my responsibility which resulted in a plea deal putting this behind us to expedite the legal process, accept a job in another city and work on saving my marriage and keeping my family together. We remained together for several years after this. In addition, she supports my efforts, as well as did Ronald Reagan and John McCain’s previous spouses in their decision to run for an office in state party leadership.”
Johnson also volleys back at his critics.
“One of the criticism of our party has been the perceived nastiness and underhanded tactics employed by some,” he writes. “This perception has turned to reality for the state party races of Chairman and Vice Chairman.”
Attached to the statement is an endorsement from Johnson’s ex-wife, Ofelia Felix-Johnson, who writes that “were I a resident of the state I would vote for him.”
Johnson was elected chair of the county party after a period of considerable infighting, including the resignation of one party chair and another’s declining to run when his own criminal record came to light.
Johnson’s full announcement is below.
—David Forbes, staff writer
Staying Positive, Committed and Determined
Over the last year, I have honorably represented the North Carolina Republican
Party in the most professional, decent and respectful manner. I have been elected
and re-elected the Chairman of the Buncombe County Republican Party, elected
Delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, interviewed
by radio and television stations on behalf of the Senator McCain/Governor Palin
ticket, Senator Dole, Mayor Pat McCrory and local candidates/issues. Information
on my life has been available to any with a desire or need to know.
One of the criticism of our party has been the perceived nastiness and underhanded
tactics employed by some. This perception has turned to reality for the state party
races of Chairman and Vice Chairman. What is even more amazing is the number
of individuals who think they know facts, won’t go directly to the source for answers
and feel it is fine to invade people’s personal privacy passing along one side of often
Those who may believe they are working in the best interest of the party or
possibly hope to aid competitor’s races began a personal investigation into my
private and personal background with that information apparently shared with
numerous individuals across the state. There seems to be an attempt to discredit
me, bring shame to my family and to publicly promote a distorted view of a
particularly disappointing time in my life.
On a very stressful Christmas of 1995 my ex-wife and I were at an unhappy place
in our lives which I will not discuss in depth. I stepped forward and accepted my
responsibility which resulted in a plea deal putting this behind us to expedite the
legal process, accept a job in another city and work on saving my marriage and
keeping my family together. We remained together for several years after this. In
addition, she supports my efforts, as well as, did Ronald Reagan and John McCain’s
previous spouses in their decision to run for an office in state party leadership.
In 1995, I also came off of active duty in the United States Army to re-locate to
Ohio to be closer and help my mother who subsequently died on December 23,
1996. These two years marking the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
highlighted again my need to keep God first and continue my commitment to family
first as well of duty to my country. I do not claim to be perfect or have moral
superiority but realized then all too painfully that we all fall short but by the grace
As was asked in the Bible, I have put that behind me and am marching forward for
the greater good of this nation which I believe is best served through the principles
of the Republican Party. I will not lower my standards to life’s gutters and will only
engage in honorable fights for this nation and party that I love. In Fred Smith’s
book A Little Extra Effort, Chapter 6, page 61 he refers to a poignant scripture for
“Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because
you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must
finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” – James 1:2-4
This party needs people who have been tested and come up strong. We need those
who were willing to fight on the battlefields for democracy as we engage in the
political process and we need those who are willing to reach out to those who share
our principles as we rebuild, re-grow and renew. I represent all of this and more.
I am Timothy F. Johnson and I want your vote for Vice Chairman of the North
Carolina Republican Party.
Ex-Wife Supports Candidacy for NCGOP Vice Chairman
Re: My support for Timothy F. Johnson
I have been made aware that my ex-husband is a candidate for the job of Vice
Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party which I whole heartedly support
and were I a resident of that state I would vote for him.
It has also come to my attention that people in the Republican party
are trying to use potential issues from our marriage in an attempt to
smear Tim’s reputation and chances to win the race. When we took
our marriage vows, we like so many including President Reagan, former speaker
Newt Gingrich or even John McCain hoped that the union would last. Differences
sometimes occur and words and actions may happen which require a separation;
however, the love and regard for the people involved doesn’t change. My ex-
husband has met his obligations to me and our children, our relationship is cordial
and I support whatever positive endeavors Latessa and Tim may choose to engage