Although Lamar County Democratic Party chair Gary O'Connor has issued a public apology to Sen. Tim Scott and Lamar County residents for his use of a racial slur in a since-deleted April 30 Facebook post regarding Scott's rebuttal to President Joseph Biden's address to Congress, local representatives of the Lamar County, Texas Democratic Party are not accepting his resignation. 

"To Sen. Tim Scott, the residents of Lamar County, especially our Black residents, and to my family and friends, I profoundly apologize for the racially insensitive remark I made towards Sen. Scott last week. I was wrong and I apologize," O'Connor said in an email to The Paris News.

O'Connor confirmed he offered his resignation as local Democrat Party chair, however, the local party representatives have opted to retain O'Connor as party chair. In a Tuesday statement, the representatives said Lamar County Democrats join O'Connor in his apology. 

Their statement in full states: 

"On May 4, 2021, representatives of the Lamar County, Texas Democratic Party met to consider the resignation tendered by Party Chair, Gary O'Connor. 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.

"Mr. O'Connor has written a public letter of apology to Sen. Tim Scott, and Lamar County Democrats join him in this apology.

"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.

"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."

O'Connor's offer to resign and apology comes after his April 30 Facebook post gained national attention for his use of the word "oreo" to describe Scott, a Black Republican, with whom O'Connor politically disagreed. 

“I had hoped that Scott might show some common sense, but it seems clear he is little more than an oreo with no real principles,” O’Connor wrote in the since-deleted Facebook post.

Prior to deleting the post, O’Connor said “oreo” — meant to describe a Black person who is acting "white" — was a frequently used word during his time in college. 

Among those calling for O'Connor to step down as local party chair were freshman Republican Congressman Pat Fallon, Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Republican Party chairman Allen West. 

Fallon on Friday said the post was “abhorrent, insulting and unforgivable.” 

Gov. Greg Abbott offered his thoughts on Twitter on Saturday, tweeting: “This is disgusting, hateful, and completely unacceptable. O’Connor must apologize to @SenatorTimScott & step down immediately. @texasdemocrats censure him.”

West in a Facebook video Tuesday morning said he would deliver Oreo cookies to the Texas Democrat Party office until O'Connor resigned. He encouraged others to do the same. 

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6960 or klark.byrd@theparisnews.com.

Managing Editor

Klark Byrd is the managing editor of The Paris News and the editor of Paris Life Magazine. He resides in Paris with his wife, Krystle, and their three children, Charlie, Annalise and Willow.

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