October 25th, 2013
10:01 AM ET
10 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. Gurgyl

    NC is worst than third world nation now under Pat McRory. NC better get rid off all the Rethuglicans from top to bottom. Drive evil away. Be educated. This state needs educated youth. Period.

    October 25, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Data Driven

    The representation of most "tea party" thinking, crystallized.

    I'm really looking forward to the posts from conservatives who keep accusing people like me of always "bringing race into it".

    Uh, yeah. You first, "tea partiers".

    October 25, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They try to make me look like a fool ..."

    Proud of his bigotry, is he?

    October 25, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Searcher

    I actually thought the "interview" was SATIRE because no smart, sane GOP'er would say this crap out loud! I was wrong....

    October 25, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. Jules

    Maybe he will join the clown bus and run for the GOP nomination.

    October 25, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  6. Gary

    In a state that has a church in every corner. Gotta love those good old right wing christians.

    October 25, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    -"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.
    ***************
    Wonderful. Now we hear the " some of my best friends are_____" defense. If race is not an issue for the Tea party, then why has there been a consistent string of incidents from GOP party officials where they DO make race an issue? To their credit, the NC GOP has been swift in their condemnation of this, but its clear that, at least in private, a number of them are comfortable with resorting to the same sad, pathetic stereotypes that the Fringe Right has always fallen back on. You couple this with the revelation that the challenger to Thad Cochrane has appeared numerous times at new Confederate forums across Mississippi with a man who, among other things, accuses Lincoln of being a follower of Karl Marx ( when its doubtful, to say the least, that Lincoln ever read the " Communist Manifesto"), as well as Rand Paul's " Southern Avenger", and you have to ask how tight their lids are screwed on. Is this level of contempt and hatred acceptable, as well as being unapologetic about it? And the GOP wonders why they are provoking such strong backlash.

    October 25, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems always lie. All he meant was that the Dems can no longer use voter fraud, to impact elections, as they HAVE BEEN, especially in the last two Presidential elections.

    October 25, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  9. rs

    You just have to love the irony that this stooge (on TV) brags about blocking Democratic voters, uses racial epithets, and generally admits to the GOP's voter suppression program the very week that the NC GOP is performing it's outreach to minorities programs. Even better- that the comedy channel is the source. See what you COULD be doing CNN?

    October 25, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  10. Winston Smith

    It's a shame we live in a time, when people just can't be themselves. And, for those not accustomed to what was just said, it's called sarcasm. Many right wingers and republicans as a whole don't understand this concept. It's just too advanced.

    October 25, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. rs

    "I've been laughed at by Democrats since I left the party. They try to make me look like a fool,"
    _________________________
    They didn't have to try hard at all, actually!

    October 25, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rick McDaniel

    The Dems always lie. All he meant was that the Dems can no longer use voter fraud, to impact elections, as they HAVE BEEN, especially in the last two Presidential elections.
    *****************************
    No, he did not. He was congratulating himself and the GOP on enacting a plan for voter suppression. Voter fraud is, well, a fraud: its only being used by the GOP to cover up their failure to win the Presidency in the last 2 elections. They certainly were not concerned about it when they won.

    October 25, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    The Dems always lie. All he meant was that the Dems can no longer use voter fraud, to impact elections, as they HAVE BEEN, especially in the last two Presidential elections.
    ______________________
    Do us a favor Rick-watch the video. The guy admits to voter supression. Meanwhile- you cannot provide any facts to back up your claim. YOU LIE, sir!

    October 25, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Just ore gop vote rigging and they will still lose the house, the dems only need 18 seats to take the house and end this GOP obstruction!!!!!

    October 25, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  15. DannyTV

    "he does not speak for the republican Party"...the HELL he doesn't...he was CHAIRMAN!!!!!

    October 25, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Ol' Yeller

    @Searcher
    "...because no smart, sane GOP'er would say this crap out loud!"
    And none did.
    BTW- Smart AND sane GOP'er!?!? Can you name one prominent republican (other than maybe Christie) who have both these qualities? (Jeopardy music...)

    October 25, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Larry in Houston

    OMG . . . if this type of stuff continues, 2014 may be a landslide.....especially since McCain is so depressed about what the Republican Party has become....He has been quoted as saying that politics in the republican party hasn't been this bad in his 30 yr career. He knows that it's moved so far to the right, that people are moving out of his party. too bad they got Hi-Jacked by the cruz & palin effect, (along with the fox media) (which promotes the right wing agenda)

    October 25, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  18. S. B. Stein

    That is why these "voter ID" laws are rediculous. Many of them are set up in such a way that there is less of a chance that the poor (which are more likely to be minorities) to get the vote. Do these people want to go back to where land owners are the only ones who are allowed to make laws?

    October 25, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  19. joe

    and you wonder why americans of good sense fear the rise of the tea party. they are crazy. crazy. crazy

    October 25, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    . They're trying to say, 'Look at this guy. He's racist.' The whole question isn't about racism."

    "We can't avoid these issues. We need to bring them up and talk about them," he added.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Actually Yelton I agree.
    You being asked to resign is NOT about you being racist. Heck they knew that about you long ago, per you own admission, and yet you were allowed to hold on to your post.
    No. It is not about you being a racist.
    What you being asked to resign is stricly about is you running your mouth on national televison and showing the Democrats the GOP play book.
    THAT they will NOT put up with.
    Tell your Black friend we all said hi.

    October 25, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. c

    Rick McDaniel

    The Dems always lie. All he meant was that the Dems can no longer use voter fraud, to impact elections, as they HAVE BEEN, especially in the last two Presidential elections.

    -----

    Blah blah blah blah blah. blah blah blah blah blah

    It's never that your candidate was a loser, your platform was offensive and catered only to the wealthiest in this country. It's always that the other guy cheated. Please, provide us proof of this massive fraud you claim.

    October 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. CA Independent

    I had predicted as much. Nice cherrypicking the quote there...

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

    He also said:
    "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."

    So typical. Yeah, they were stupid comments. Naturally, this is further twisted into:

    rs
    -The guy admits to voter supression.

    Quite a leap there, So I guess he's suppressing lazy people? Of course, this has nothing to do with voter "fraud" suppression. Oh yeah, that's not supposed to be real. right...

    October 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. TONE

    So it is ok to speak that way because you have a black friend? these people give me stitches i am laughing so loud i think i broke a rib i am sorry i find this funny, this statement i have a black friend is too old invent another.

    October 25, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Data Driven

    @SB Stein,

    ". Do these people want to go back to where land owners are the only ones who are allowed to make laws?"

    Pretty much. Another popular idea among these reactionaries, as promulgated by conservative "intellects" like Mark Levin, is the abolition of the 17th Amendment. They don't want the people voting for Senators anymore.

    Seriously. Spend some time looking this up. And weep.

    October 25, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. rs

    This piece of video should get John Stewart, Aasif Mandvi and the Daily Show some sort of award- seriously. They just nailed the GOP for voter supression (i.e. voter FRAUD) on a national cable program. This video simply needs to be played in every state from now until 2014.

    The GOP simply cannot save itself from its own hatred.

    October 25, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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