Tom Fetzer - Later Career and Political Activity

Later Career and Political Activity

After choosing not to run for a fourth term in office, Fetzer served as a teaching fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and director of the Center for Local Innovation at the John Locke Foundation (he was succeeded in this position by his future opponent for state party chair, Chad Adams). He then accepted a position with the United States Tennis Association in New York before returning to Raleigh several years later. He re-engaged in state and local politics, although not as a candidate but as a political consultant. In 2009, he ran for chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party. He was elected chairman on June 13 on the second ballot at the party convention.

During his tenure as NCGOP Chairman, Fetzer entered into a public feud with Tim D'Annunzio, a candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 8th congressional district. D'Annunzio was blasted by Fetzer over an article in the Charlotte Observer that headlined decades old court documents of a divorce proceeding that portrayed D'Annunzio as "a self-described religious zealot". D'Annunzio called for Fetzer's resignation, and threatened to sue Fetzer for $5 million if he did not issue a public apology. Fetzer stated that D'Annunzio is "unfit for public office at any level," among other things. D'Annunzio at the time was in a heated runoff for the Republican nomination for the seat held by Larry Kissell. D'Annunzio's attorneys at The Mitchell Law Group wrote that Fetzer was asserting that D'Annunzio has not overcome his mistakes, which they see as a lie, which would not be protected by the same Constitutional rights that govern political speech. Fetzer eventually settled his defamation suit.

In a statement, Fetzer said that D'Annunzio has not pointed out any untruths. "Everything I've said about Mr. D'Annunzio comes from public court documents. He has yet to point out that anything I have said is untrue. His fight is not with me, it is with the truth and his own record. These are the tactics of a millionaire bully, and I will not be bullied."

Fetzer chose to leave the post of NCGOP Chairman five months before his term expired, and was replaced by former Congressman Robin Hayes on January 15, 2011.

Fetzer became chairman for Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in North Carolina in December 2011.

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