OC Democratic Party Chairman resigns and announces State House campaign
Former UNC student Jonah Garson announced on September 22 that he was stepping down as chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party and running to represent the 56th district of NC House.
The district is currently represented by Representative Verla Insko, D-Orange, who has announced that she is not running for re-election.
In addition to his position as President, Garson is a lawyer at Parry Law, was the former Director of Voter Protection for Democratic NC Party, and is a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Executive Committee.
In a recent press release, Garson said he was grateful for the work of Representative Insko.
“Representative. Insko has been a steadfast force for the good of our beloved Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” said Garson. “I am grateful for his wisdom, guidance, good humor, wit and integrity, and for to have been a strong and clear voice for our values as a community. “
Garson was elected chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party in 2019. He led the party through the 2020 election cycle.
Erica McAdoo, who ran for NC House District 63 in 2018, worked with Garson during his campaign and expressed support for his candidacy.
“I know when he gets to the legislature he can help us overthrow seats across the state,” McAdoo said in a press release.
Phyllis Portie-Ascott, interim chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, wished Garson luck in a recent statement.
“Jonah Garson has done a great job developing and strengthening our county party, and I wish him well in the next stage of his career,” said Portie-Ascott. “We have a lot of work to do, but he left us in a good position. “
Garson told the Daily Tar Heel that his campaign will focus on issues such as affordable health care, fair public schools, protecting our environment and abortion rights. He also said he is fighting for the freedom of UNC students and faculty to lead without political interference.
“We need lawmakers who are organizers, who will fight for progressive politics in Raleigh,” Garson said. “(We need legislators) who know how to mobilize the community and build democratic power.”
Garson told a story from election night in 2010, while working for former NC Senator Ellie Kinnaird.
The Republican Party had taken control of both houses of the NC General Assembly, and Kinnaird told her she was worried about gerrymandering and Republicans canceling their jobs. He cited that moment as the reason for his decision to show up at NC House.
“I remember thinking: this is my political coming of age,” Garson recalled. “I will do all I can to build a political community around the fight in the State House.”
Garson said he was excited about the campaign because he can knock on doors and meet people on their porch, which is especially exciting after the pandemic has been isolated. He also added that he was excited about the opportunity to build civic participation communities.
“Campaigns are opportunities to build new democratic communities,” Garson said. “A campaign brings people together in the political community and allows them to build trust, so they can come out and do the important work that we need to do in North Carolina.”
As a Chapel Hill native, Garson believes voters should support him because he is a local and has the relevant experience in organizing. He said his work as the director of voter protection for the 9th district of the US Congress during the “remake elections” – which took place because voter fraud in the district tainted the election results in 2018 – and as field coordinator for several democratic parliamentary elections gave him the necessary experience.
“It’s more than going to Raleigh,” Garson said. “If we are to win the politics we are fighting for as a community, we have to organize in every corner of the state. This is the job I run for and know how to do.