NC Democrats Select White, Cis Male to Lead Party

by | Feb 13, 2017 | Carolina Strategic Analysis, Features, NC Politics, Politics | 21 comments

In a setback for progress, this weekend North Carolina Democrats elected a white, cisgender, heterosexual male to lead their party. The new chairman of the NCDP is former Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin, who lost his seat on the Council of State in the Trump wave. Goodwin bounced back from a narrow defeat and won an overwhelming victory on Saturday, winning his position with 92% of votes cast.

Goodwin will now be charged with the difficult task of rebuilding his party in the era of Trump. Democrats are deeply in the minority of both chambers of the General Assembly and have fewer seats on the North Carolina Council of State than at any time since Reconstruction.

Things are not all bleak for the party, however. They hold the governorship (which was won by about 10,000 votes) and control of the state supreme court (and if recent events have taught us anything, that which controls the courts controls everything). And the party has seen modest gains with affluent urban and suburban voters.

But that’s come at the expense of support from white, working-class rural voters – the party’s old, formerly reliable base. Hailing from a rural county himself, Goodwin no doubt understands the challenges Democrats face in those areas – after all, his former district in the State House gave Trump 65% of the vote.

All in all, a lot of work awaits Mr. Goodwin at Goodwin House.


  1. Ellen Jefferies

    Could the electorate perhaps have had too much progress and it’s time for dems to move back to the middle??? That is if they want to win elections in this state. Otherwise they can just keep making gifts to the republicans.

  2. Mark Hellman

    I’m happy with the choice of Wayne Goodwin as party chair. He understands the economic interests of the majority of people and fought for fairness for consumers as Insurance Commissioner. If the new Republican Insurance Commissioner shows himself a pushover for the industry and auto and home rates rise dramatically, I hope he’ll throw a big bright spotlight on it.

    Also, the public as a whole will benefit from having someone who can explain clearly how healthcare insurance works and why there are only two basic models–the regulated private insurance setup represented by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) or a single payer system (“Medicare for all”).

    By the way, have you heard the joke going around Washington that the R’s plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Affordable Care Act!

    Longtime Durham Dem though I am, I guess I’m not the cosmopolitan secular elitist I’m supposed to be, ’cause I had to google “cisgender” to find out just what the heck that meant.

    • Ellen Jefferies

      I just read the republican ACA replacement proposal. It is stunning. Clearly their clever clever plan is to make a replacement that thru propaganda can be sold to the masses as insurance for all and the effect of which will be happily obscured and/or deniable but will most likely take health insurance away from everyone the ACA helped and provide a viable step to getting rid of medicare without saying they’re doing that. The only people who will probably still be covered will be those with medicare already

    • Jay Ligon

      I’m with you, Mark. I had to google the word as you did.

      “In a setback for progress, this weekend North Carolina Democrats elected a white, cisgender, heterosexual male to lead their party.”

      Instead of reporting that the Democrats elected a white guy, as if that mattered, to lead the party, Mr. Wynne amped up the snark to create the false impression of hypocrisy and inconsistency as if the only suitable candidates for the Democratic Party would necessarily be gay or trans-gender, female and black. Wynne manages to both offend Democrats with his bigotry and belittle competent leadership. He’s the kind of Republican you can expect in the age of Trump – rude, crude ignorance.

  3. Keith thomson

    Wynne changes the subject from Raleigh Republican achievements to strip the skin off the backs of working people, to get it “in the game,” through billions of dollars of increases sales taxes and user fees, for repair services, electricity, natural gas, movie and event tickets, drivers licenses, vehicle registration, mobile homes, and dozens of other new sources of revenue. Partially offsetting their huge income tax cuts for wealthy people and corporations, with the rest shifted onto public teachers, community college and university tuition, and reduced environmental protections. Divide and rule, through wedge issues and potty politics.

    McCronyism, even without McCrony, will require a crusade uniting North Carolinians across our many differences. Wayne Goodwin, Roy Cooper, and millions of the rest of us will work together to repair the breach.

  4. Tamara Brogan

    I am very happy with the choice of Wayne Goodwin for NC Democratic State Chair and the diverse group elected to help lead the state Democratic party. We have a lot of work to do to get Democrats back in leadership positions in Raleigh and throughout the state. However, it can be done and it believe it will happen. Wayne is experienced, smart, has common sense, and I believe he totally understands the task at hand. I also feels he understands the need to update and change strategies and plans to accommodate the new political climate in NC. We Democrats need to get behind the new leadership and help them, so we can accomplish our goals of bringing the Democratic party back to lead our state.

  5. Lucinda MacK

    I hate to say it, as an ardent Democrat, but most of the posts here have completely missed Mr. Wynne’s satire about diversity. And he has a point. As comments also show. We Democrats have been all about some kinds of diversity, the kind represented by the choices for party leadership but seem completely blind to other kinds. Such as: religious — continually bashing people of Faith is a big mistake; business owners — what can’t they be valuable allies; and yes, struggling small town people watching their towns go under. They made a horrible miscalculation with Trump, but at least he went to Kingston and Selma while Hillary stuck to campuses and also hovered around Black churches, where she somehow failed to ignite enough support. I wish we Democrats would widen our idea of diverse leadership to include voices we haven’t shown we want to hear.

  6. JAFO

    There is nothing more entertaining that witnessing, self-proclaimed tolerant, people spew racism, with their every behavior.


    You forgot to mention the African American 1st Vice Chair, the LGBT 2nd Vice Chair and the Muslim 3rd Vice Chair. But nice try on being divisive.

  8. Will

    Remember when the Republican Party elected Donald Trump? Just thinking about that as I read this.

  9. Walt de Vries, Ph.D.

    Congratulations, John Wynne, for just having published the dumbest lede ever written for PoliticsNC:
    “In a setback for progress, North Carolina Democrats elected a…white…blah, blah,… to lead their party.”
    As the self-proclaimed “conservative voice” of PoliticsNC, your conservative, hands-on, buddies must be thrilled with this inept analysis. Please come back a year from now when you will have spent that entire year defending Donald Trump and the GOP legislature in North Carolina.
    How would you like that crow served?
    Wayne Goodwin (Fellow of the NCIOPL) has already demonstrated his commitment to public service and will put energy, funds and drive into recruiting good candidates and policies for the Democratic party in 2018. Wayne is the kind of candidate this state needs to make renewal of bi-partisan progress once again a reality for North Carolina.
    You called this one wrong, John.

  10. Troy

    Congratulations on your victory Wayne Goodwin. Democrats chose the right person for the job and to keep us moving forward.

  11. Jay Ligon

    The column has a smug condescending tone suggesting that Mr. Wynne and the Jones Street Republicans have convinced themselves that their super majority will never end, that Democrats are amusing but pathetic and that the arrival of Trump bodes well for Republicans.

    Maybe so.

    But all North Carolinians are not besotted with the success of reactionary policies. The courts work slower than the legislatures. They are the clean-up crew. They follow the circus and pick-up after the elephants on parade. The arrogant lawmakers have hit a losing streak in courts as their ill-considered laws meet scholars who respect the Constitution.

    North Carolinians are not gloating over the losses of major sporting events including the ACC tournaments, the NCAA venues, and the NBA All-Star games. The stigma of racist laws continues to do damage to the North Carolina brand. There is a large constituency of North Carolinians who do not wear the Klan hats or the red caps who are embarrassed by the backwater politics of regression toward the bad old days of segregation and white supremacy.

    It is entirely too early to count the support for Donald Trump as a victory for North Carolina. Trump is a cancer on the nation. We are getting weary of watching a bumbling ignoramus prove what we knew during the campaign. He is over his head and unfit for the job.

    Pulling Democrats together will be a difficult job for Wayne Goodwin, but Democrats have much to unify them. Democrats, unlike Republicans, support public education, oppose pollution, support free and fair elections, oppose the racism of the GOP, oppose foreign interference in American elections, believe that the United States is a great nation and not a Russian subordinate, oppose corporate and government corruption so prevalent in Republican politics and believe in reasonable tax policy that works for people not just the rich and the corporations. On the larger issues, Democrats are on the right side of the people and on the right side of history. The Republicans yearn to bring back the past where white men ruled. It isn’t going happen.

    Democrats are here to wipe the smug grins off the faces of Republican crooks and liars.

    • Apply Liberally

      Word, Jay. Word!
      It’s the second blog in a row by Wynne that reeks of snarky smugness.
      Perhaps when all the evidence is released on Russian meddling in our election and on Trump’s/Flynn’s Russian “dealings,” and maybe when the NCAA says no to staging any football or basketball championship games in NC for 6 years, NC voters will finally take fuller and more objective stock in the so-called leaders they helped to put in power.

  12. Donna

    This article sounds an awful lot like an effort by a republican to create division within the democratic party. Dems are not at war with white, cis males…nor with rural Christians, White, cis males are not a single demographic.

  13. Steve harrison

    John, you should change your password to something that would be hard to remember after you’ve been drinking…

  14. Stephen Lewis, Sr.

    While he may be a straight white Christian male from the country, which by the way so am I, he was also the best candidate running so its no surprise he won.

  15. willard cottrell

    I have had it with the dem party. They refuse to change. The future for us is not with the rural folks who are controlled by the christians. Their base is shrinking – both in numbers overall and it, has become untenable b/c of christian mythology. The new economy has passed them by. It is within the cities that we need to develop a new party. The growing number of defeats should be a clear sign, but alas, they allow good money to chase bad. Won’t be mine, however.

    • Russell

      I’ve been doing nation building modeling of a nation of airports for 40 years now & contemplated doing a go fund me thing to get the money for airport offices in DC. It has helped my thinking as far as governance & best practices to have run a business in NYC & worked in the Aviation industry. I of course conclude there are for my “Party” general policies applicable locally nationally & internationally. @Transcendian on Twitter if interested. I resigned my Precinct Vice Chair Democratic position over the complete loss of subsidies to smaller renewable & energy capture companies.

    • deeto

      You say that you have had it with the Democratic party because they refuse to change. My question to you is, what have YOU done to make them change? It is a party of the people. Did you ever join it? Did you ever volunteer? Did you ever attend monthly meetings of your county’s Democratic party? If your answer to any of these questions is no, then why would you expect the party to change? In the words of Thom Hartmann, “Democracy is not a spectator sport, get out there, get active, tag, your it”.

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