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WILMINGTON — After being charged with six felonies by a Wake County grand jury state Rep. Thomas Wright has lost the support of the New Hanover County Democratic party.

Tuesday the local party asked Wright to step down. Since the investigation started the governor and a number of state officials have called for Mr. Wright to give up his state representative seat. But it wasn't until the indictments came down that the local democratic party followed suit.

Wright, an eight-term state representative, had his campaign suspended by the Board of Elections in September. The party says this decision to ask Wright to step down would allow Wright to focus solely on his legal matters while it finds a candidate who can best serve the people in Pender and New Hanover Counties.

New Hanover County Democratic party Chair Jim Morgan said, "Given the seriousness of the indictments and the fact that the Board of Elections had suspended his campaign, we have come to the conclusion that it would be in Mr. Wright's best interest as well as the best interest of his constituents that he step down to focus on his defense and allow the democratic party to find a replacement."

Morgan says the local party has informed Wright that they want him to give up his seat. Morgan said Wright says he won't resign from his office, and the local party doesn't have the authority to force his resignation.

Speaker of the House Joe Hackney announced Tuesday afternoon that the House ethics committee will now resume its investigation of Wright.

The committee put its work on hold while the district attorney conducted its criminal investigation.

Hackney says he'll call a special session of the House if the findings warrant the House could expel Wright.


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