NC sexual harassment scandal reaches Obama campaign

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The North Carolina Democrats’ sexual harassment scandal is creating a problem for President Barack Obama and his 2012 Charlotte convention, and is spurring a conflict between Obama’s team and local party advocates.

David Parker, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, was at the helm of the state party when it approved a secret payoff to a party employee who had complained of sexual harassment by executive director Jay Parmley.

Parmley resigned his job following the The Daily Caller’s exposure of the harassment and settlement.

Parker is facing a wave of demands for his immediate resignation. The demands are being made by top state Democrats and newspaper editorials.

“The worst thing that can happen for us is that it drags out, and it becomes a national story,” said a local Democratic Party insider.

But Obama’s deputies have gambled that it won’t become a major story, and have intervened to delay Parkers’ resignation until after the May 8 state convention, said the insider.

Obama’s deputies want Parker to stay until the new Democratic nominees for the races for governor and lieutenant governor races can accept his resignation and help select a replacement, the person added.

The replacement will be approved by Obama’s deputies, whose state organization is larger and better funded than the local Democratic Party, according to the party insider.

“I don’t think there’s a single day that the Obama people don’t think about Obama first. … Team Obama’s first job is to promote the president, not other Democrats on the ticket here,” the insider said.

Obama’s team is willing to wait even though Parker is also member of the host committee for Obama’s convention. The 88-person committee consists of state Democrats and business leaders.

Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the “Charlotte in 2012” host committee, did not respond to The Daily Caller’s questions.

The host committee’s two honorary co-chairs are Sen. Kay Hagan, and Gov. Beverly Perdue, who has announced she is not running for re-election in November.

Perdue exacerbated the problem Tuesday by telling a North Carolina reporter to “get over it,” after the reporter asked her about the scandal.

The host committee is an offshoot of the Democratic National Convention Committee, which is legally independent of the White House, the Obama 2012 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

A spokeswoman for the convention committee, Joanne Peters, declined to comment, and referred the TheDC to the host committee.

Addie Whisenant, the southern regional press secretary at Obama for America, said TheDC’s “report is totally false.” She declined to say which part of TheDC’s article is false.

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