The North Carolina Republican Party Central Committee, the key governing committee of the state party, met for several hours on Saturday in a regularly scheduled meeting.
The Central Committee consists of congressional district chairs, leaders of various Republican clubs, and senior party officers who provide oversight and leadership of the party. At Saturday’s meeting members discussed the upcoming March primary, county and district conventions, the party’s efforts to elect GOP judges, and on-going fundraising efforts.
However, the big elephant in the room was not discussed. Carolina Journal spoke to numerous members of the committee, and all confirmed that the party did not discuss the possible exit of State Chairman Michael Whatley, who is expected to be elected the new national Chair of the Republican National Committee, at the request of Former President and likely GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“It simply was not discussed,” one committee member told CJ. “Chairman Whatley did not address it, and the committee did not ask. He will tell us what we need to know when the time is right.”
“The elephant in the room, remained in the room, undiscussed,” said another committee member.
The members were granted anonymity to be able to freely discuss party business.
Carolina Journal reported last week, that RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel had contacted senior North Carolina Republicans and informed them she would resign at the end of the month, after the South Carolina primary which may all but clinch the GOP nomination for Donald Trump.
Another committee member said the meeting was “upbeat” and that committee members believe the party is in “strong shape,” should Whatley become the first North Carolinian to head the RNC.
“We have a strong Executive Director in (Jason) Simmons, we have a strong staff and party finances are in sound shape at this point in the election cycle. While nobody wants to lose a chair right before an election, I think we will be able to roll on without missing a beat, in part because Whatley and President Trump will play a large roll in setting the direction of the party through the end of the year.”
Still another committee member told CJ, “I personally think it is a proud moment for the party. If Trump wants Whatley, we must have been doing something right, here. I personally am not worried. Whatley has put the infrastructure in place for a successful transition.
Earlier in the week the staff at headquarters was told to avoid speculation and to focus on the “tasks at hand,” including assisting all 100 counties have successful county conventions, as well as congressional district conventions in April when roughly half of the North Carolina’s delegates to the National convention will be selected.
Several committee members told CJ they believed the State Executive Committee, a larger governing committee with several hundred members including county chairs and GOP members of the legislature would likely follow the recommendations of Whatley and President Trump in selecting an interim State Chair for the rest of the election.
Two members told CJ they thought Vice-Chair Susan Mills, a Cumberland County public schools teacher would be a good sound choice for the short term until the party can have a “full debate” on the future of the party in the summer of 2025, when a new NCGOP chair will be elected to a full two year term at the State Convention.