Liz Guinan, chairperson of the Chatham County Democratic Party, announced she would be stepping down from the position at a virtual party meeting last Thursday, Feb. 23.
She and her husband are "moving up their retirement plans" and plan to move from Chatham to the coastal North Carolina town of St. James in Brunswick County, she told the News + Record.
"I am enormously grateful for my time in Chatham County," Guinan said. "While my voting address will change, my support for the Chatham Democrats will not."
Under her leadership, the Chatham Dems swept the 2022 election — winning all locally contested seats by comfortable margins. She attributed much of the party's success at the time to effective volunteers, grassroots organizing and collaborative strategizing.
That strategy, in the words of Guinan, was to “get the hell out of the way” and let the volunteers do the work. She said the party was so successful because of relentless volunteers who believed in the platforms of the candidates and took action.
Rep. Robert Reives II (Dist. 54) praised Guinan for her efforts following his re-election.
"Her team worked day and night to organize and strategize, and the result speaks for itself," Reives wrote in an op-ed published by the News + Record. "Our slate of candidates won every race up and down the ballot. Our county had the highest rate of voting, once again beating the other 99 counties with a 65% turnout."
Following redistricting ahead of the 2022 election, Reives' race with former Chatham Commissioner Walter Petty was considered a toss-up. But Reives won the race by more than 10 percentage points, which he attributed to strong local campaign efforts.
Guinan took the helm of the Chatham Democrats in 2021 after moving to the county from Scottsdale, Arizona.
"Over the past two years, we have built a foundation that can sustain any change in leadership," she said. "We have more capable volunteers than ever; I am even more excited for the future than I was in 2021 when I ran for the Chair position."
She and her husband, Tom, always planned to retire in Arizona, but being in Chatham made them want to stay in N.C. long-term.
"After being here in Chatham, we came to love the smaller, rural community life, the change of seasons, the proximity to the beach, and the fact that the grandkids are a drive away (outside of D.C.) instead of a long plane ride," she told the News + Record.
Guinan said she may come back to Chatham in about 10-15 years to live in Galloway Ridge.
The party has not yet named a successor for the position.
Reporter Ben Rappaport can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @b_rappaport.
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