LGBT Democrats elect new leaders, trans activist might run for state party chair

UPDATE: Transgender activist officially announce state party chair candidacy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The statewide caucus for LGBT Democrats in North Carolina elected a new slate of leaders to several vacant positions during a conference call on Sunday evening. During the call a transgender state party activist also announced her intention to run for state party chair.

Ryan Butler will return as president of the LGBT Democrats of North Carolina. He was first elected to who served as its first president when the caucus formed in 2011. He replaces Ralph Rodland, who stepped down in 2014.

Robert Kellogg, president of the Gaston County LGBT Democrats, had been serving as secretary. He was elevated to vice president, with September McCrady being elected to secretary. McCrady, a campaign consultant from Statesville, had hoped to become vice president, but was unable to capture more votes than Kellogg. She was later elected to the secretary’s position, beating out Greensboro’s Jonah Hermann, who worked as deputy data director for the party’s state coordinated campaign during last year’s election season. Benjamin Julen, a student at N.C. State University, was elected vice president of college outreach. Kirby Heard will continue in her position as treasurer.

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Trans activist might run

N.C. transgender delegate Janice Covington during the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Photo Credit: David Lari/QNotes.

N.C. transgender delegate Janice Covington during the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Photo Credit: David Lari/QNotes.

During announcements at the end of the call, transgender party activist Janice Covington said she had “every intention” to seek the state party’s chairperson’s seat.

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North Carolina Democrats will gather in February to elect a new chair. Current Chair Randy Voller, who has faced criticism and controversy over the past two years, will not seek re-election.

If Covington makes a final decision to run, she’ll face two other candidates — state Rep. Patsy Keever and Salisbury businesswoman and former teacher Constance Johnson.

The state party will meet in February for elections.

Covington has long been involved in Democratic politics, starting with an unsuccessful bid for the Cabarrus County Commission in the 1980s before her full transition. As an openly transgender party member, Covington became the first transgender person to be elected a delegate from North Carolina to a Democratic National Convention in 2012. She also helped to form Mecklenburg County’s LGBT Democrats caucus, and has served as the state LGBT caucus’ 12th Congressional District chair.

UPDATE: Transgender activist officially announce state party chair candidacy

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.