The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 16, 2013

Democrats to meet to consider candidate

Nominee could fill vacancy left by Charlie Harrell’s resignation from county commission

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — The Edgecombe County Democratic Party’s executive committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Edgecombe County Administration Building to nominate a successor to fill the District 4 commissioner’s seat.

The vacancy was created when Charlie Harrell announced his resignation from the board at its Jan. 7 meeting. Harrell served on the board for 22 years, including a combined 16 years as chairman and vice chairman.

Registered Democrats who live in District 4 are eligible to be considered for the position.

By state law, the Democratic Party can nominate a candidate to fill the position. However, the final decision lies in the hand of the commissioners and they say they plan to interview potential candidates during a special meeting Monday, Jan. 28.

All of voting precinct 1-2 is in District 4 while a portion of District 4 is in 1-3, 1-4, and 11-1. The Democratic Party executive committee members (chair and vice chair) who live in those precincts will nominate candidates. Because the executive committee members from precincts 1-4 and 11-1 do not live in District 4, candidates from those precincts cannot be nominated.

Allen Mitchell, chairman of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party, explained that if the seat was county wide such as sheriff, then every member would be eligible to vote. Mitchell will preside over the meeting, but will not have a vote because he doesn’t live in the district.

“Those are the rules of the North Carolina Plan of Organization,” Mitchell said. “The only thing we can do is go by the Plan of Organization.”

Harrell served 22 years on the board, including 12 years as the chairman and four years as the vice-chairman. He distinguished himself as a fair politician who worked for the betterment of the county and his fellow commissioners gave him rave reviews when he announced his retirement.

“We hope that we can fill the position with some of the same qualities that Mr. Harrell had,” Mitchell said. “Someone who is committed and has a storied background.”

The Democratic Party went through a similar situation in 2001 when Florence Armstrong resigned her District 2. The Democratic Party nominated Roy Gray, although commissioners instead selected Viola Harris.