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Effort Afoot To Oust Cabarrus Democratic Leader Over Non-Support Of Kissell

Cabarrus County Democratic Chairwoman Grace Galloway admits she’s not happy with 8th District Congressman Larry Kissell and has not outright endorsed him. In response, members of the party's local executive committee wants to remove her from office. 

Galloway is bothered that Kissell has said he will vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and that he won’t explicitly endorse President Barack Obama. But she says the last straw was when he voted against late-term abortions in the District of Columbia. 

"That just floored me," Galloway says. "It just blew me away. And I said no – I cannot. You’re making it really difficult for me, Larry. Really, really difficult.” 

Since 2006, she has supported Kissell and even voted for him in the primary. Records show that she gave $1,750 in financial contributions to his campaign since 2008. 

In her view, it’s Kissell who has abandoned the Democratic Party. That’s why she supports the write-in candidacy of Democratic Antonio Blue, the mayor of the small Richmond County town of Dobbins Heights.

"I’ve never ever said I would not hand out documents that had Kissell’s name on it," Galloway says. "I simply add Antonio Blue’s name and advise people that they have another choice.  My job as the Cabarrus County Chair is to make sure the electorate is informed.”

That reasoning doesn’t sit well with the Cabarrus County Democratic party’s board. At least three of the six members signed a petition that calls for Galloway’s removal. One of the members, Sophia Wilkerson, says she felt intimidated by the process and has since had her name removed.

“I was leaving because we had an executive board meeting and they said, 'No you need to stay too'", Wilkerson says. "And I said, 'Stay for what?'And then that paper came up. Everyone else that was present evidently knew but me." 

A hearing will likely be held in January before the North Carolina Democratic Party. Galloway says she believes the petition was initiated by someone outside the county’s board. David Ford, the second vice chair of the local Democratic party, declined to comment other than to say in an email that he’s a Democrat, who “follows the rules of engagement" and supports Larry Kissell.

Even if Galloway survives the challenge to her chairmanship, Galloway says she will step down in March anyway, when her two-year term expires.