Former Mecklenburg County Democratic Party Chairman David Erdman was the first political victim of December's controversial effort to pick a new county sheriff. Erdman resigned in February, hoping to ease weeks of political bickering that erupted when the community divided into two camps: those who supported Nick Mackey, and those who supported Chipp Bailey, the acting sheriff.
Charlotte lawyer Mackey beat Bailey in a Democratic party election Dec. 6, but a review panel invalidated that vote because precincts had been improperly organized. Bailey got the job.
Following are excerpts of an interview Erdman had with staff writer Mark Price.
Q. Any regrets about resigning?
No. My resignation cleared the air and allowed the community to move on. … If we had not had that controversy, I'd have completed my term. It would have ended in April 2009.
Q. Do you have anything you'd like to get off your chest from that period?
I will tell you this. I am very glad that the best qualified person was picked as sheriff of Mecklenburg County. … That was the important thing for our community, and I'm glad it happened.
Q. What is life like outside the political spotlight?
I never aspired to be in the spotlight. My lifelong ambition is what is best for Charlotte and best for the state. … I'm making a lot of public appearances, which I think is the best way to serve our community at this time. I'm promoting our history and helping people think about what our future should be. … I'm giving my PowerPoint presentation, speaking two or three times a month. I have a passion for the history and geography of our city.
I do believe that, if you truly care to paint a picture of me, you'd miss the point if you didn't recognize that I am a lawyer who spends 40 to 50 hours a week being a lawyer. My life isn't politics or music; it's very much what I do as a trial lawyer. I'm extremely busy and happy.
Q. Are you still politically active?
I went down and volunteered for (8th District candidate) Larry Kissell two weeks ago to telephone voters in his congressional district. … I'm co-sponsoring (9th District candidate) Harry Taylor's upcoming fundraiser. … I'm also a big supporter of Harold Cogdell for county commission at large.
Q. Anything new on the horizon?
I've been in a recording studio twice in the last 30 days, recording a song my mother (Marian Erdman) wrote called “A Great One Passed This Way.” Its significance is that America does not have a song that is commonly sung at funerals. She has written a song which is very appropriate for singing at the funerals of all people. It would have been appropriate for Jesse Helms' funeral, for example. I've been working on a demo and I hope to help her promote it. …
She wrote it at the time JFK Jr. died. There was a big issue at the time about what music should be played at the funeral, because of the different religious faiths that would be present.
I think it's a song the music world needs.
Q. Any advice for your successor as party head, Joel Ford?
I'm delighted that he's heading the party, and I have no advice to offer him, except privately.