Former Oklahoma Democrat chairman achieves notoriety in new state

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Some Oklahomans leave the state to become famous elsewhere. Others go on to be infamous in other states.

Jay Parmley, executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party, has resigned in the face of accusations of sexually harassing a male party employee.

The executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party resigned Sunday as calls for his ouster mounted amid questions regarding a secret agreement to pay a former staffer to keep quiet about sexual harassment allegations.

Jay Parmley, who served a year at the helm of the party, denied harassing any employee and blamed right-wing blogs for "spreading a false and misleading story" about the incident.

"Even though I have not done anything wrong, it is clear to me that I need to move on," Parmley wrote in his resignation letter.

A report by the Civitas Review first identified Parmley as the accused party executive mentioned in emails about the harassment settlement. Parmley is the former chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

North Carolina Democratic Party executive director Jay Parmley was accused of sexual harassment by former male staff member Adriadn Ortega. Ortega left the party after the incident. Ortega has not returned calls and has blocked access to his Linkedin Network site. The Daily Caller published quotes from a chain of emails discussing the situation but didn't name the victim. Ortega was well known and well liked within Republican circles because he attended several GOP events for the Democratic Party. Republican officials saw him as a respectful and good person.

As mentioned in the Daily Caller Ortega and the Party reached a financial settlement so Ortega would not pursue an official complaint. The amount has not been disclosed nor has the source of funds for the settlement. Democratic Party Communications Director Walton Robinson also didn't return email or phone contacts with us

parmley-okdem-logo.jpgParmley quit his Oklahoma chairmanship after the 2004 elections, which were disastrous for Oklahoma Democrats -- Republicans took control of the State House of Representatives for the first time in 84 years, President George W. Bush won all 77 counties, and former Congressman Tom Coburn beat his successor Brad Carson for an open U. S. Senate seat. Parmley has been blamed by Oklahoma Democrat activists for the party's massive debt following his tenure. From a "where are they now?" story in the McCarville Report in 2006:

When Parmley left the state party, it had a huge debt it is still trying to pay off; some blame Parmley for that, but his defenders say that's unfair. The debt, right at half a million dollars, came because of Congressman Brad Carson's unsuccessful campaign for the U. S. Senate and the resources the party poured into it trying to beat Republican Tom Coburn. After Parmley left, the party dismissed all of its paid staff and operated with volunteers. It now has paid the debt down by a substantial sum and has a paid staff, even if much of it is funded by the national party and the employees are flaming liberals straight out of the Dean school. As for Parmley, Dean named him to the Democratic National Committee as an at-large member in the fall of 2005.

An interesting side issue in the Daily Caller's story on the scandal: The NC Democratic Party is actively involved in the campaign to defeat an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment. You'd think that leadership of a state Democratic Party in the South would appreciate the need to remain on good terms with socially conservative Democrats who were once the heart of the party, rather than getting actively involved in an issue likely to motivate these social conservatives to turn out and vote for Republicans. Republicans have been able to win over lifelong yellow-dog Democrats simply by contrasting the parties' positions on social issues and pointing out that "this is not your granddaddy's Democratic Party."

It will be interesting to follow the rumor mill at okdemocrat.com as the Parmley story unfolds. I imagine there will be a lot of justifiable "I told you so"s uttered by the regulars there.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.

MORE: The story has made it into the British press.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 15, 2012 6:24 PM.

Ewing re-elected; Henderson, Mansur face November challengers; county incumbents file was the previous entry in this blog.

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