North Carolina’s loss may the North Carolina Democratic Party’s gain. Former Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who lost re-election by less than 1%, is running for chair of the state party. Wayne brings exceptional experience to the job. He’s not only been elected statewide and served in the House of Representatives, he came up through the party apparatus beginning at a very young age.
NCDP Chair Patsy Keever leaves the party in a strong position coming off a tough election year. Keever righted the ship after several years of turmoil left the party divided and in disarray. Goodwin can build on her success and make the party the central vehicle for organizing and electoral success.
Goodwin grew up in very modest circumstances in Richmond County, a working-class county that borders South Carolina. Both he and his wife, Melanie, represented the county in the General Assembly. They understand the struggles of rural North Carolinians and Wayne has always had a populist streak. As Commissioner of Insurance, he kept car insurance rates among the lowest in the nation and pushed back against hikes in homeowners’ rates.
Wayne’s involvement in party politics began early. He’s served as President of the Teen Democrats in Richmond County and went on to serve in almost every other position available. He’s been a precinct chair, county chair, district chair, president of the North Carolina Young Democrats, Chair of both the NCDP Rules Committee and Platform Committees and a member of the State Executive Committee. Nobody can argue that he’s not committee and versed in party organization.
More importantly, though, Wayne brings the fight we need in a chair. He just lost an election so he has no illusions how far Democrats in North Carolina have to go. He wants to bring a 100-county program to the party to ensure that Democrats are competing on all fronts and strengthen our grassroots programs.
Wayne’s also got the contacts and fundraising experience to keep the party solvent. For decades, the state party could depend upon tax check off money fund operations. No more. Party chairs will need to raise all of the money to keep the parties operational. That takes a commitment and relationships. Wayne has both.
In Wayne Goodwin, Democrats will find themselves with a party leader who understands the history of the organization as well as its internal operations. He’s still got the fire-in-the-belly to take the fight to the Republicans and motivate Democrats. Goodwin is the right person at the right time to lead the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >