Power play: Linville elected to chairman of Forsyth Commission as GOP sanctions Plyler

by Keith Barber

Power play: Linville elected to chairman of Forsyth Commission as GOP sanctions Plyler

Republican Dave Plyler (far left) was not re-elected as chairman of the Forsyth County Commission after the Forsyth County GOP declared Plyler had been disloyal to the Republican Party by supporting Democrat Ted Kaplan during the Nov. 2 election. (file photo)

The Forsyth County Republican Party’s Plan of Organization is clear when it comes to the issue of loyalty. The plan defines party disloyalty as “actively supporting a candidate of another party or independent candidate running in opposition to a candidate of the Republican Party or a Republican endorsed by the appropriate Executive Committee in a nonpartisan election.”

On Dec. 6, the Forsyth County Commission named Republican Richard Linville, a 30-year veteran of the board, as its chairman. Linville replaces Republican Dave Plyler, who has recently drawn criticism from members of the county GOP for openly supporting Democrat Ted Kaplan in the Nov. 2 election.

Nathan Tabor, chairman of the Forsyth County GOP, said Plyler was disloyal to his party by placing one of Kaplan’s campaign signs in his yard and by spending time with Kaplan on the campaign trail.

Under the rules of the GOP’s plan of organization, Plyler is not allowed to serve in any position within the local party.

“For all practical purposes, it’s just a statement and essentially a slap on the wrist from a technical standpoint,” Tabor said. “It does not affect Dave Plyler’s position as an elected official.”

Kaplan lost to Republican Bill Whiteheart, a former Forsyth County commissioner, in his quest for a second term in the at-large seat. Whiteheart defeated Kaplan by nearly 3,400 votes in the general election, giving Republicans a 5-2 majority on the commission. Debra Conrad was elected to another term as vice-chairman of the commission during the Dec. 6 meeting.

Kaplan, the former majority leader of the NC Senate, said he appreciates Plyler’s support and he hopes to return the favor someday.

“He always puts the county first,” Kaplan said of Plyler. “Dave has a very progressive bent to him that is beneficial.”

Kaplan said he believes Plyler supported him because they shared a similar philosophy of governance while Plyler and Whiteheart did not.

Plyler said he was not aware of an orchestrated attempt to remove him as chairman.

He acknowledged that he supported Kaplan in his run for a second term and would have liked have served as chairman for another two years. He characterized Linville’s election as “purely a political decision.”

“I think Richard will do a great job as chairman,” Plyler added.

Kaplan said he didn’t want to interfere with internal Republican Party politics, but stated his belief that Plyler’s removal as chairman is not good news for the citizens of Forsyth County.

“The Republican Party’s theme song should be ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles,” Kaplan said. “They’re afraid of tomorrow. Dave is not like that. He believes the way for Forsyth County to survive and thrive is to be more progressive than regressive.”

As the county stares down the barrel of yet another massive budget shortfall, Kaplan predicted that it would be wise for the commission to rely on Plyler’s leadership.

“There are going to be plenty of hard choices,” Kaplan said. “The board is so small and people make alliances on different issues. Dave will still play a role.”