VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - The head of the Virginia Beach Republican party resigned Monday night after accusations that he forwarded a racist email.
David Bartholomew, Chair of the Virginia Beach Republican Committee, received and forwarded a racist joke in March, which can be read here .
After reading Bartholomew's email, Congressman Glenn Nye said, "This type of racist behavior has no place in politics. I call on Dave Bartholomew to resign immediately. I also call on Scott Rigell to join me in condemning this divisive, narrow-minded behavior by demanding Bartholomew's resignation."
Rigell, Nye's Republican Challenger, told WAVY.com, "The email and the fact it is not only received but transmitted is awful, and I repudiated it within minutes that this had happened."
Rigell also made a statement. "The email sent by Republican Party of Virginia Beach Chairman David Bartholomew is reprehensible. It stands in stark contrast to the core values of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, and my personal belief in a colorblind society. I call upon Mr. Bartholomew to immediately resign his position as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach."
Rigell called the President of the Virginia Beach NAACP Georgia Allen. "The call went a long way with me," said Allen, .I'm extremely disappointed that in 2010 that someone would make such statements."
Rigell is well aware of the potential damage and is quick to point out Bartholomew had nothing to do with the Rigell for Congress campaign. "I believe that Terry and I and the business we have built that people know us."
The NAACP's Georgia Allen told WAVY.com she got a call from Scott Rigell-apologizing for the hurt caused by David Bartholomew and also condemning what Bartholomew did.
Ken Longo was named as the new Chairman.
WAVY.com also spoke with Gary Byler, the chairman of the 2nd congressional district and a friend of Bartholomew.
"Dave had never displayed to me an iota of racism. It's not who he is. It's not he way he was raised," says Byler.
So we asked Byler why Bartholomew forwarded the racist email.
"He did not know he was forwarding racist material. It just got forwarded."
The racist email that was forwarded by Bartholomew seven months ago didn't resurface until last night. The timing is suspect to Byler.
"Obviously, two weeks before a campaign, some cynical, political operatives have gone after Dave in order to try and help Rigell and the campaign."
When WAVY.com asked to speak with Bartholomew, Byler said, "Well, it's been a tough night for Dave and to be honest with you, Dave has never been a front guy in front of the cameras...We're looking to move forward and keeping the focus on the candidates who are running, not on a chairman who has stepped down."
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