State Dems clarify: Knox in

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 7, 2004

GREENSBORO – The State Democratic Party’s Executive Committee has once again reiterated its opinion declaring Elijah Knox the party’s nominee in the Hale County Commissioner District 2 race.

The state party on Sept. 29 overturned the Hale County Democratic Party’s ruling that Knox was not a resident of District 2 thereby giving the party’s nomination to Lois Fields.

On Sept. 30, Patrick Arrington, the Hale County party’s attorney, sent a letter state party chairman Redding Pitt requesting the state party conduct a review hearing.

“It would appear that you made a decision without obtaining the facts collected by the local party. If you would only review the fact (sic), you would see that Mr. Knox does not live in Commission District Two,” the letter obtained by The Times stated.

“The decision made by the State party should be based upon facts. Therefore, I’m requesting that the State party conduct a hearing to review the evidence obtained by the local party,” Arrington’s letter continued.

Pitt denied that request.

In a letter issued by the state party on Oct. 1, and again clarified on Oct. 4, Pitt said “the full record and transcript of the hearing before the Hale County Democratic Executive Committee … is before the chairman of the SDEC. Moreover, the May 5, 2004 findings of the SDEC appellate subcommittee in Ms. Fields’ earlier challenge to Mr. Knox’s candidacy, based on precisely the same factual issues, remain uncontraverted. The request of the Hale County Democratic Executive Committee for a further hearing on the matter is denied.”

Pitt’s letter went on to add that all administrative remedies for the Hale County Democrats had been exhausted.

Arrington said that meant that the matter was settled and the Democratic Party’s nominee was Knox.

“We are one party and we have to stand behind the state party’s decision,” Arrington said. “We disagree with the ruling but we’re going to stand behind it and respect it.”

Arrington said he asked for the review because in the state committee’s initial opinion, it was clear to the local party that the state committee had reviewed the testimony presented during the local party’s hearing.

“It seems that they said [in the opinion] that they’ve made a ruling on this before, but I’m thinking that if they had looked at the new evidence they would have changed their opinion [that Knox lived outside District 2],” Arrington said.

“We’re disappointed the state did not share our opinion, but we have no personal feelings about the outcome,” he said.