North Carolina State Democratic Chair Randy Voller had a “what the hell was he thinking” moment on Thursday May 2nd event for Democratic Women of Guilford County. In remarks that he claims were “unprepared” Voller compared the legislative agenda of the Republican Supermajority in Raleigh to rape.
“The GOP that’s leading us – we don’t know where they’re taking us, but they’re raping us along the way.”
– Randy Voller
Voller’s comment was tweeted out an account operated by the Democratic Women of Guilford County. Before it was deleted it was caught by WRAL and Voller found himself on the hot-seat for saying something profoundly stupid.
In an interview with WRAL Friday, Voller tried to walk the tight-rope saying that he could neither confirm nor deny it because he wasn’t speaking from prepared remarks.
“I think it’s a complete misquote, or a redaction,” he said, then added, “I did use the term contextually.”
According to attendees of the event there was no misquote. By Friday afternoon Voller was trying to talk his way out of the comment telling The Greensboro News & Record that he made the remark off the cuff and then declined to comment on whether it was appropriate. The N&R brought up the fact that given crime statistics and the likelihood that many rapes go unreported, there was a good chance that a woman in the room last night had herself been raped.
“I don’t know that,” Voller replied. “Women and men are both victims of abusive power and violence. I personally could have been raped.”
In his conversation with WRAL Voller said “raping” has more than one meaning, and his use of it was strictly metaphorical:
“I was discussing what had just happened on the Nightmare on Jones Street,” he said. “It’s as if barbarians are pillaging and plundering. I’m talking about the destruction that’s going on.”
“It’s no different than saying that fracking is raping the land,” he said.
Still, Voller said he understands his word choice might have given offense.
“I was not intending to offend anyone,” he said. “I’m sorry if they took it that way. That’s not what the metaphor means.”
“I will refrain from using the term in the future because it’s so charged,” he added.
Voller said he didn’t ask for the tweet to be deleted, and he has “no clue” who might have done so.
In an emailed statement, the state GOP called Voller’s comments “shameful, divisive, and offensive” and called on the Democratic party to issue an apology.
“[We] hope that Chairman Voller will step down to allow voters the opportunity to engage in a respectful and dignified discussion, regardless of gender or political affiliation,” said NCGOP Chairman Robin Hayes in the release. “This is the type of shameful and disgusting political attack language that North Carolinians are tired of hearing.”
CCD readers may remember Voller from revelations in February that he was personally in debt to the North Carolina Department of Revenue and the IRS to the tune of $290,000 in back taxes and penalties. At the time Gary Pearce, a long time Democratic campaign consultant and former aid to NC Democratic legend Governor Jim Hunt, called for Voller to resign from the Chairmanship of the Democratic Party writing, “The best thing you can do for your party, state and country is resign, go back to work and pay off your taxes.”