October 25th, 2013
10:01 AM ET
12 months ago

North Carolina GOP precinct chair resigns after racial remarks

Updated 10/25/2013 at 6:43 pm

(CNN) - The GOP precinct chair of Buncombe County in North Carolina resigned Thursday after the state's Republican Party called for his resignation over a racially-charged interview on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

In the interview, Don Yelton made racially charged remarks and said North Carolina's new voter ID laws will "kick the Democrats in the butt."

Yelton stepped down from his post in an interview on Asheville radio station WWNC.

“I resign my position as precinct chair. Gladly. I'll give it up. To heck with it, I don't want to be part of a group that is that mealy-mouthed and that gutless,” he said.

It all began when Yelton's interview on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" aired Wednesday night. The satirical news show did a segment on North Carolina's new voter ID requirements that Republican Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law in August.

"The law is going to kick the Democrats in the butt," Yelton said. "If it hurts a bunch of college kids too lazy to get up off their bohonkas and go get a photo ID, so be it. If it hurts the whites, so be it."

"If it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks that want the government to give them everything, so be it," he added.

While Yelton said in the interview he's "been called a bigot before," he argued in his defense that one of his best friends is black.

North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope swiftly called for Yelton's resignation.

"The North Carolina Republican Party finds the comments made by Mr. Yelton to be completely inappropriate and highly offensive," Pope said in a statement, adding that Yelton "does not speak for either the Buncombe County Republican Party or the North Carolina Republican Party."

Yelton told CNN affiliate WLOS on Thursday that he stands by his comments and brushed off any criticism.

"We can't avoid these issues. We need to bring them up and talk about them," he added.

On the radio show, Yelton went on to blast political correctness and reject the idea that he was hurting his party’s efforts at appealing to a wider audience or misrepresenting the GOP’s reasons for backing voter ID laws.

“They're a bunch of chickens,” he said, referring to Republicans who disagree with his approach. “I'm embarrassed for the fact that they don't stand up and fight for what's right.”

Yelton said he doesn’t regret any of the statements he made on the “Daily Show” and adamantly contended he was not a racist.

“I am not racist, never have been, and the ability of the local people and the media and the outlets to twist this into a racist issue shows exactly how willing the people are to be taken advantage of,” he said.

CNN reached out to Yelton Friday morning, but he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In September, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block parts of the new North Carolina law, which requires voters to have a photo ID, shortens early voting, eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting and restricts the counting of some provisional ballots.

This summer the Supreme Court struck down a Voting Rights Act requirement for North Carolina and other states with a history of discrimination to get permission from the Justice Department or a federal judge before enacting voting law changes.

The high court's decision gave the states the green light to proceed with voter ID laws, which critics say disproportionately affect minorities, while opponents say the regulations prevent voter fraud.


Filed under: North Carolina
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. rs

    Wow – seems to me that he hit just about everybody....the only common theme was "lazy"....I guess the left got things in a knot because they simply can not comprehend the truth. If you are too lazy to get a photo ID, then you really don't need to bother to vote.
    _______________________________________
    Sure- get an ID- when there isn't a DMV nearby, and despite what the guy says, they cost money. In regards to the University students- they already have verified residency (to go to State University), but their state-issued IDs aren't good enough. What a load. Why should peple have to get an ID, and re-register simply because the GOP get them thrown off the Vvoter rolls. Especialy when there are "1 or 2" people who vote more than once in a county of 50,000?

    October 25, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. NameButch

    This is nothing more than one racist organization telling one of it's more up front racist to tone it down. What a joke. The Republician party embrace racism in their heart, but act non-racist in order to not appear being racist...what a joke!

    October 25, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. rs

    This guy was basically booted from the party and asked to resign because of his stupid comments. What more would you want?
    ____________________
    Oh, I dunno, maybe charge the GOP with (self-admitted) voter fraud?

    October 25, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Marcus (from...?)

    @A True Conservative – Richard Pryor made me laugh a lot with that 'In who do you believe? In me or in your lying eyes?' sketch of his. You're not even close to make me smile with yours man.
    Fact: Yes he talked about 'lazy students', then he talked about 'white (people)' (without adding any 'praise' to them) and then he talked about 'lazy blacks' (and to these ones he added a few more words...).
    Watch the video or read the article.
    And stop trying to emulate Richard Pryor! (as if...)

    October 25, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake up People!

    Quick question.......

    Since he is on record bragging about voter suppression will Issa begin an investigation or is he too worried about website glitches
    -------------------------------------------------
    No mami, we can't do that because all of the money for congressional hearings and investigations is currently being allocated strictly and solely to bring down anything to do with or remotely associated with the President.
    So sorry... lol!

    October 25, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. thinking outside the box

    The thing that I love is that everyone screaming for requiring a photo ID to vote don't realize that when you track things back far enough there has to be some form of non-photo ID to get a photo ID. We are not born with them. So how secure are photo ID's? The Arizona law allows a driver's licence but not a birth certificate plus social security number. Guess what you need to get a drivers licence in AZ? A birth certificate and social security number. If those are not secure and safe forms of ID for voting how can a drivers licence be secure and safe? If you are worried about for birth certificates and SS numbers in voting why are you not concerned about them to get the licence?

    October 25, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    Yellon slipped up and the truth came out yet AGAIN. Look for a new "token" to take center stage to make us feel they are a welcoming party.

    Good luck with that.

    October 25, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Charles

    This guy wasn't fired because of his racist remarks. He was fired because he was honest about the fact that the new voter laws in NC were designed to keep blacks and poor people, who tend to vote democratic, from voting. If you saw the entire segment, he admits that voter fraud happens maybe once or twice an election. Not enough to influence the outcome of an election. But these new laws are basically poll taxes from the Jim Crow era. They will prevent thousands of poor and minority people from being able to vote. It is a much bigger kind of voter fraud then the fraud the GOP claims it is trying to prevent.

    October 25, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Charles

    This guy wasn't fired because of his racist remarks. He was fired because he was honest about the fact that the new voter laws in NC were designed to keep blacks and poor people, who tend to vote democratic, from voting
    -------------------------------------------------
    That's exactly what we've been saying here on this thread Charles.
    Thanks for joining us.

    October 25, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. jack

    so if he were black or hispanic and made a comment about lazy blacks and or lazy college kids would he still be racist ?

    October 25, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. rs

    thinking outside the box

    The thing that I love is that everyone screaming for requiring a photo ID to vote don't realize that when you track things back far enough there has to be some form of non-photo ID to get a photo ID. We are not born with them. So how secure are photo ID's? The Arizona law allows a driver's licence but not a birth certificate plus social security number. Guess what you need to get a drivers licence in AZ? A birth certificate and social security number. If those are not secure and safe forms of ID for voting how can a drivers licence be secure and safe? If you are worried about for birth certificates and SS numbers in voting why are you not concerned about them to get the licence?
    _______________________
    My favorite Arizona DMV issued ID story is from when I had to register a user to a community service- 15 year-old-boy with an AZ ID card with his address listed as Nogales, Sonora... so much for the "validity" of Red State issues IDs.

    October 25, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. jack

    people – all people are asked to show id everyday. it is pathedic thats dems try to use this as some evil ploy by rep to keep someone from voting. with this logic stores should not have the right to ask someone for id for alcohol or cigs.... is that discrimination or injust ?? any reasonable person would and will say no – so why is it such an issue to protect one of the most important acts you can do as a citizen ????

    October 25, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. rs

    jack

    so if he were black or hispanic and made a comment about lazy blacks and or lazy college kids would he still be racist ?
    ________________________
    Well he wasn't Black, but to answer you question, yes. His real point though was that this law would "kick Democrats in the butt" because the people the law would deny the right to vote (i.e those "lazy" Blacks, and "lazy" college students-who already have state-issued IDs) tend to vote for Democrats- that is what the guy confirmed. Straight-out voter fraud. Win your elections by denying the right to vote to the other party's voters.

    October 25, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Wake up People!

    Thank you Dominican Mama and Ole Yeller!

    @Charles.
    Welcome!!

    October 25, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. NC

    I have traveled along the east coast from N. Y. to Florida, to the deep south and states in the Midwest. This is a racist country no doubt. It is amazing what people will say about others when they are talking to someone that looks like them.
    There is no excuse for NC or any other state to deny anyone their rights as a citizen. There is freedom of speech and there is just pure hate and ignorance. I think some people are afraid because our country is changing and they have no idea how to cope and accept change. Have a Blessed weekend everyone and I am signing off for good.

    October 25, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. Proud Mary

    Birds of a feather flock together. These ones are all Gooney Birds!

    October 25, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Oh, I dunno, maybe charge the GOP with (self-admitted) voter fraud?"

    Works for me. This isn't the first time someone from the GOP has recently admitted it is their intent to suppress the vote against Democratic voters. I suspect he won't be the last person to admit it either. Rather reminds me of their flag pins and the pride they associate with such ... stuff.

    These folks are quite proud of themselves and their bigotry.

    October 25, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Mikey

    @rs – Yes, that's the big story here. Who cares if this yokel is a bigot. He flat out admitted that the purpose of the law was to prevent likely democratic voters from voting. Just like the guy in PA who made a similar comment about voter restrictions allowing Romney to win PA (which he didn't, anyway). Far right Conservatives stand on their pious values, but many (most?) are actually unethical cynical Machiavellians for whom the end justifies the means.

    October 25, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    Bigots have always used specific adjectives to describe blacks. Lazy and shiftless are just two of them. And if we are educated and dare stand up to them, were uppity.

    October 25, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Michael Benjamin

    "The North Carolina Republican Party finds the comments made by Mr. Yelton to be completely inappropriate and highly offensive," Wink, wink. This is really what the party believes but obviously can't admit it.

    October 25, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    @ Charles
    I hope you stay with us. I really enjoy reading the truth from time to time.

    @ Ed1

    Didn't you outgrow lying years ago?

    October 25, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. pk

    WTF!!!!! This guy knows no boundries of his racism! He's too stupid! Typical of a GOP'er though...

    October 25, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Jersey Girl

    I saw this on Jon Stewart's show the other day & was shocked about what he said. I am glad there were repercussions. Now we gotta get an official in TEXAS to admit the same thing – that their voter suppression goal is blocking MARRIED WOMEN from voting. Obviously they are afraid of WENDY DAVIS winning for gov! Crazy Republicans. They will soon be in the minority across the U.S. when the "minority" voters become the majority! Lol.

    October 25, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. What's in that tea anyway?

    This is why the GOP/Tea Party of hatred , divison, bigotry, ignorance and intolerance is less popular than head lice. Go figure .....when these folks speak the truth on the picture tubes we are all grateful 2014 is coming – LOL

    October 25, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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