Charlotte attorney Brad Overcash is the new chairman of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party.
Overcash, 32, was the sole nominee at the party’s annual convention Saturday at West Charlotte High School, which was attended by more than 160 delegates.
Overcash – an attorney at Hagwood Adelman Tipton – was nominated by Charlotte Mecklenburg Republican Women President Claire Mahoney.
During her nomination speech, Mahoney said when she first met Overcash, her initial thought was, “What a nice, young, conservative man he is. He could be just what Mecklenburg GOP needs.”
Mahoney described Overcash as a lifelong North Carolinian who has been politically active since college. Overcash was also an N.C. General Assembly intern to then-Sen. Robert Pittenger from 2002 to 2003. Mahoney said she believes Overcash is a leader with an “ardent commitment to growing the Republican Party of Mecklenburg County.”
The new chairman said the local party needs to be deliberate in electing more Republicans and re-electing like-minded officials.
In his two-year term as chairman, Overcash said he has three items he’d like to focus on: building out grass-roots precinct organizations; working to increase voter registration; and putting a new emphasis on fundraising. “We’re going to have to raise money to move forward with our goals,” he said.
Outgoing Chairman Gideon Moore said he believes Overcash’s energy and ideas will be a benefit.
Other county officers elected included Jonathan Sink, vice chairman; Andrea Arterburn, treasurer; Adam Bridgers, general counsel; Scott Carlisle, campaign chairman; Bob Diamond, headquarters; Vanessa Faura, voter registration; Linda Jones, special events; Aaron Lay, recruitment; Lee Ann Patton, precinct organization; Guy Spann, public relations and Lynn Stewart, secretary.
The party’s annual convention fell within a week of the Republican National Committee’s release of its “autopsy” report which said it was providing “an honest review of the 2012 election cycle.” The report notes that while “Republicans are thriving at the state level,” the party needs to work on its messaging and campaign mechanics, among other things, before future elections.
Changing public views
“Public perception of the party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country,” stated the report. “When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us. … We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.”
When asked about the report, Overcash said he believes the party taking an inward look is important, but as a whole, the party is moving forward.
“The Mecklenburg County Republican Party is, as of this convention, fully united and open for business.”
Moore had a mixed response to the report. “I wish it hadn’t been called an autopsy, it rubbed some people the wrong way,” he said. But regardless of the name, Moore said, the report had valid points.
“What they identified is critical,” he said, noting locally, the party had already been working toward getting its message to voters “whatever gender or race.”
Mecklenburg County Young Republicans Chairman Larry Shaheen Jr. said he thought the report “was great. I think the party needs to take a long, hard look at leadership.”
Whether or not it’s true, Shaheen said, there’s the appearance that young Republicans have barriers to entering the party, such as having prior experience, that young Democratic leaders don’t seem to face at the local or national level.
Shaheen said something as simple as embracing social media will help improve party messaging. “(In some cases) the old way of doing things no longer works.”
Trenda: 704-358-5089 Twitter: @htrenda
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