- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Lamar County Democratic Party has refused to accept the resignation of party Chair Gary O’Connor for using a racial slur against Sen. Tim Scott, South Carolina Republican.

Mr. O’Connor apologized and submitted his resignation Tuesday for his Facebook post describing Mr. Scott as an “oreo,” but party representatives said that the smear was “incompatible with his core values,” according to a statement provided Wednesday to The Washington Times.

“On May 4, 2021, representatives of the Lamar County, Texas Democratic Party met to consider the resignation tendered by Party Chair, Gary O’Connor,” the statement said. “Our local Democrats have taken the last few days to reflect upon this incident.”

“After much discussion — especially among our local Black Democrats — we chose not to accept Mr. O’Connor’s resignation,” the statement continued. “Mr. O’Connor has written a public letter of apology to Sen. Tim Scott, and Lamar County Democrats join him in this apology.”

Mr. O’Connor expressed his gratitude for the party’s support.

“I am grateful that those who actually know me and the many years I have worked locally for racial and other forms of equality were able to forgive my insensitive and inappropriate remark on my personal Facebook page,” he said in an email.

Texas Republicans, led by Gov. Greg Abbott and Rep. Pat Fallon, called on Mr. O’Connor to resign over his “oreo” comment posted after Mr. Scott delivered the GOP rebuttal to President Biden’s April 28 address to a joint session of Congress.

“This is disgusting, hateful, and completely unacceptable. O’Connor must apologize to @SenatorTimScott & step down immediately,” Mr. Abbott tweeted Saturday.

The “oreo” smear refers to a Black person who is seen as “Black on the outside, White on the inside,” according to the Urban Dictionary.

In his now-deleted Facebook post, Mr. O’Connor said, “I had hoped Scott might show some common sense, but it seems clear he is little more than an oreo with no real principles.”

Republican Party of Texas chairman Allen West announced he would send a package of Oreos to the Texas Democratic Party, and encouraged others to do the same, saying, “because I’m sick and tired of the duplicitous hypocrisy of the true party of racism.”

In the statement, Lamar County Democrats defended Mr. O’Connor’s record.

“Gary O’Connor has led Lamar County Democrats for seven years and his life of service, collaboration, and activism for racial justice is well known throughout this community. His recent remark is incompatible with his core values,” the party said.

The statement concluded: “Lamar County Democrats recommit ourselves to conduct our private conversations and our public social media discussions with anti-racist, pro-reconciling attitudes and language. We strongly condemn bigotry of any kind and will continue our historic efforts to work for justice and equality for all our fellow citizens.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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