North Carolina Republican Party executive director defends controversial Tweet about state Democrats

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- It's not unusual for state political parties to take shots at each other; it's expected. What makes this somewhat unusual is the seriousness of the charge and the fact the man who made it, NC GOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse, is doubling down on.

In a response to a tweet from the State Democratic Party celebrating progress made since the passage of the Voting Rights Act (Aug. 6, 1965), Woodhouse tweeted "After they murdered blacks in Wilmington @NCDemParty, passed what they called the White Declaration of Independence."

Asked why by ABC11 on Monday, Woodhouse said he's "tired of being lectured to by people with a murderous, violent history."

Woodhouse referenced the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898, in which a group of white elites in the Democratic Party organized the overthrow of the local government in Wilmington in the name of white supremacy.

"It is what it is," Woodhouse said, unapologetic. "There was a commission on it a few years ago. People don't want to admit it. They don't want to hear about it. But it's true."

In 2008, the state did put together a commission on it but the timing of Woodhouse's tweets is leaving many scratching their heads.

"That's just, it's crazy," said Ashley Hardin, from Raleigh. "I don't know what more to say than that."

"This comment didn't need to be there. What was the point in putting this up there," wondered Raleigh resident Dennis Butcher.

"To try to throw down another party because of something that happened years ago, I feel that's not necessarily right," offered Kendall Bishop, a senior at Shaw University. "He's a Republican so, of course, he's going to do what he can to support the Republican Party but I don't think part of the Republican Party as one bashing down other parties to make their party look better."

Matt Hughes, Second Vice Chair of the state Democratic Party said, "The comments that were echoed by the NCGOP are clearly very unhinged, even by their standards. This is a party that targeted African American voters with "surgical precision" and because of that they have little to no credibility on this topic."

"The tweet that was sent out last night was hyperbolic and hyper-partisan and insulting," continued Hughes, "and it's the type of thing that people have come to hate about politics today. Democrats are committed to standing up for voting rights and the Voting Rights Act and, I think, when you look at the other side there's a party that has not lived up to that promise."

Woodhouse said he was only responding to the tweet from the NCDP. "If they're going to talk about things like the Voting Rights Act - they kept blacks from voting for years. That is their history," Woodhouse said, referring to state Democrats.

"The North Carolina Democratic Party apologized for that event in 1898," responded Hughes, saying it happened about ten years ago. "That is absolutely clear. We've owned up to our past."
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