"I'd been looking at the spot. I've had experience with statewide politics before, running for [state] treasurer. I was president of the [North Carolina Association of County Commissioners]. Then the governor called and asked if I'd do it," Young told Xpress. "I'm excited."
Since that Tuesday call, Young has also gained the endorsement of outgoing Chair Jerry Meek and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, along with those of 70 other Democratic officials from across the state, he said.
Young was a Buncombe County Commissioner for 16 years. In 2008, he declined to run for re-election to pursue an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for state treasurer.
Meek departs a party that was anything but unsuccessful in the 2008 elections, with the Democrats racking up impressive victories at the state and local levels, including the first time since 1976 that the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate.
Young says he'll try to build on those gains.
"Jerry Meek did a great job of building a grassroots effort and increasing our fundraising capabilities, and those are two things I really want to build on," Young said. "The biggest challenge is going to be keeping the people who turned out in the last election — many of them first-time voters — involved. If we can keep them excited, there's a lot we can do."
The party's executive committee will meet on Jan. 31 to vote on Meek's successor. The other contenders include: Luke Hyde, the Democratic chair in this congressional district; Jim Neal, who vied with now-Sen. Kay Hagan for the party's nomination in 2008; long-time activist and campaign manager David Parker and former Anson Democratic Party Chair Dannie Montgomery.
— David Forbes, staff writer
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