Democrats bicker over board picks


Special to the Telegram

Thursday, February 7, 2019

TARBORO — Members of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party Executive Committee on Monday selected their three choices to serve on the county Elections Board, but not after a protracted discussion and raised voices.

Members chose Dr. Florence Arnold Armstrong, current election board chairwoman, as its No. 1 choice to be considered to repeat as chairwoman. The No. 2 choice was current board member John Wooten while the No. 3 choice was Marghi Sowerwine.

The vote did not take place until a vote on a motion by Viola Harris that ballots be cast in secret, which was challenged by committee chairman Roosevelt Higgs. Higgs said it made "no sense" to cast secret ballots — but the committee disagreed, approving Harris' motions by a vote of 66.5 to 2.5.

Initially, committee members were critical of the fact that they had not been notified of the time line required to meet state law and that apparently no effort had been made to inform them.

Numerous members asked why no emails had been sent or phone calls made, only to be told no composite email list existed that could be used for notification and that phone calls simply were not made.

State Rep. Shelly Willingham told the group that, "fighting among ourselves, like I've seen tonight, is not good. The Democratic Party in Edgecombe County is black and white and if we don't come together, we will lose all that we have worked for."

Prior to adjourning, Armstrong told committee members, "I'm going to do what's right. I don't care whether you like it or not. What I witnessed tonight was stupidity ... and you voted for me.

"There's too much running your mouth and there's too many show horses and not enough workhorses."

Armstrong told the group that when she is required to go to Raleigh, she expects to not go alone, as she said she has had to do in the past.