Robin Hayes, the embattled chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, announced Wednesday that he will stay on as the leader of the party despite being indicted on federal bribery charges.
Hayes will, however, hand over the day-to-day responsibilities of the unpaid position to Aubrey Woodard, the 11th District Chair, while he deals with his legal issues.
“In the best interest of the party, I make this announcement today and will let our respected officers lead on a temporary basis until our regularly planned party elections this June,” Hayes said.
The comments from Hayes were his first since federal prosecutors accused him and three associates of bribery and corruption. A day before the indictments were unsealed, Hayes announced he would not seek re-election as chairman. The party elects new officers at their convention in June.
An indictment unsealed in the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina Tuesday accused Hayes, a prominent donor, and three others in an alleged scheme to bribe the state’s insurance commissioner for favorable treatment of certain businesses.
Kearns Davis, an attorney representing Hayes, has denied the charges. He predicted in a statement that Hayes will ultimately be able to return to his duties leading the party.
“After a long and distinguished career in public service at the local, state, and federal levels, Robin volunteered his time helping to support the Party and candidates for office in North Carolina. We look forward to a swift conclusion to this matter and clearing his name,” Davis said. “Meanwhile Mr. Hayes, in accordance with NCGOP Rules, will allow others to lead while he heals from recent health setbacks.”