GOP official resigns over comments on 'Daily Show' about voter ID, racist remarks

The state GOP demanded Don Yelton's resignation over what they called inappropriate and offensive comments.
October 24, 2013 3:05:06 PM PDT
There are some serious repercussions for a GOP official following an interview on Comedy Central Wednesday.

The state GOP demanded the resignation of Buncombe County's precinct chairman over what they called inappropriate and offensive comments made on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Whether you watch the Daily Show or not, if you are at all piped in to North Carolina politics, there's a good chance you've gotten the clip, or a link to it, in your email, or at least have heard about it.

Click here to watch the Daily Show report.

For Republicans, it is an embarrassment. For Democrats, it could be proof of what they've suspected for months.

"There are two things," said Chris Fitzsimon, with the NC Justice Center. "First of all, the racist comments are just bizarre."

Fitzsimon follows North Carolina politics as closely as anyone. He heads up the liberal NC Justice Center.

But like many people, the first he heard of the Daily Show interview with the Buncombe County Republican Precinct Chair Don Yelton was when he got into work this morning.

"This is a great example of what this whole bill was about and now we have a Republican official admitting it," said Fitzsimon.

"The law is gonna kick the Democrats in the butt," said Yelton in the interview.

Yelton spoke about the new state voting law with a candor you don't often hear in politics.

"If it hurts a bunch of college kids that's too lazy to get up off their [rears] and get a photo ID, so be it," said Yelton. "If it hurts the whites, so be it. If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks, who want the government to give them everything, so be it."

By mid-afternoon, State Republican Chair Claude Pope had asked for Yelton's resignation. He emailed ABC11 this statement: "I would like to make it very clear that Mr. Yelton does not speak for either the Buncombe County Republican Party or the North Carolina Republican Party."

It's not the first time Yelton's been asked to leave his post as precinct chair. In 2012, the county Republican Executive Committee said he was guilty of party disloyalty and stripped him of his responsibilities.

However, this year, he was re-elected to the same position -- Republican precinct chair.

Late Thursday afternoon, Yelton officially resigned.

For Fitzsimon and many on the left, no matter what happened with Yelton, the comments have staying power. He sums up what liberals have been saying for months.

"After all the claims about how this was restoring integrity to the process, here you have a Republican official saying no, no, this is about giving us a partisan advantage by making it harder for people who don't agree with us to vote," said Fitzsimon.

There was more to the interview.

Yelton also expressed a number of what seem to many to be racist comments.

ABC11 tried to reach out to Yelton for comment. He did not reply.

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