"I am dedicated to Democratic victory at all levels, and have worked simultaneously for Democratic candidates, both progressives and conservatives," Simerly writes in an e-mail announcement. "But party rules would require me to vacate the role of Party Chair or any Party Office in the event a Democrat challenges Heath Shuler in the primary" due to her role as director of field and outreach for his campaign.
"The rules are clear and fair; they intend to unify our Party and ensure that each Party Officer supports all Democratic candidates equally," Simerly adds. "That is the kind of unity our Party needs and deserves... I am sorry to leave the race. I look forward to serving you by other means. I remain dedicated to the Democratic Party. I continue to will work with you for Democratic victory—just not as an Officer of our Party."
On March 25 Asheville City Council member Cecil Bothwell, at the time the other declared contender for the spot, withdrew the day after declaring his candidacy. Bothwell said he planned to run in the 2012 primary but later declared instead that he would challenge Shuler as an unaffiliated candidate.
Simerly's withdrawal leaves no declared candidate, at the moment, for the position. Democratic Party officials will decide the chair at their annual convention this Saturday, April 9, at 9 a.m. at the Buncombe County Courthouse.
— David Forbes, senior news reporter
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