The fledgling campaign of Shaundra McKeithen — who got 48 percent of the vote in a losing bid to take over the District 5 City Council seat from Estella Shabazz — says supporters of Estella's husband, Yusuf Shabazz, have now conspired to keep McKeithen from challenging him for the County Commission seat he now holds.
"Shortly before noon today, Shaundra McKeithen arrived at the Chatham County Democratic Party headquarters and attempted to qualify for the 5th district County Commission Election," says a spokesperson for McKeithen's effort.
"McKeithen was told by party officials that she would not be allowed to qualify in spite of recent directions from the state Democratic Party to the contrary," the spokesperson says.
At issue is McKeithen's alleged endorsement of non-Democrats in past non-partisan elections.
Chatham County Democratic Committee (CCDC) bylaws say, "No CCDC member, acting in his or her role as a CCDC member, shall publicly support a candidate other than the Democratic nominee in a General Election."
However, state party bylaws say:
"No Party member shall publicly support another candidate other than the Democratic nominee in a General Election; provided, however, nothing herein shall prevent any Party member from making any endorsement in a non-partisan election."
The Chatham County Democratic Committee, however, has provided text messages that they say prove McKeithen isn't being denied on this or any other basis. They say she has simply declined to finish the paperwork, possibly to garner positive news attention.
McKeithen said, “I will not be intimidated. I plan to seek this office. And I know that justice will prevail and the state Democratic Party will not allow bullying and intimidation at the local level. I plan to return on Tuesday morning to qualify.”
The qualifying period goes on all this week.