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    Fired North Carolina Democratic Party director hired in Va.


    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The Virginia Democratic Party's newest executive director is set to start this week, two months after being fired from a similar post in North Carolina.

    Robert Dempsey will run the day-to-day operations, party spokeswoman Ashley Bauman said Monday.

    Dempsey was let go as the North Carolina executive director in February after less than nine months at the position. North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller has declined to explain the firing, calling it a personnel matter. But Voller told local activists on a phone call in the days before the firing that he and Dempsey disagreed about party operations entering the 2014 elections, according to Chris Hardee, chairman of the North Carolina party's 3rd Congressional District. Hardee was on the call.

    Dempsey declined to comment on his dismissal, other than to say he wanted to take the party in a different direction than the chairman.

    Dempsey is a Buffalo, N.Y., native who has worked on political causes around the country. He arrived at the North Carolina post after Democrats suffered significant losses in the 2010 and 2012 elections in the state, giving Republicans control of the legislature for the first time in 140 years.

    In Virginia, Dempsey will find a different situation. Including Gov. Terry McAuliffe's victory, Democrats swept all three statewide offices last year and took control of the state Senate this year.

    Dempsey said he wants to help strengthen the party at a local and county level in Virginia. He replaces Lauren Harmon, who lasted less than a year in the position.

    Earlier this month, the Virginia Republican Party named Shaun Kenney as its new executive director.

    The Virginian-Pilot first reported Dempsey's hiring.


    Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.

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