PITTSBORO, N.C.–Nearly 600 North Carolina Democrats gathered in Pittsboro Saturday to choose the new chair of the state party.

Nearly five hours into the State Executive Committee meeting, and with more than 360 votes, Patsy Keever from Asheville was elected chair.

Keever hopes in her two year term, she will help replace many red seats with blue.

“We need to have somebody run for every single slot available. We cannot give away any of our seats,” she said.

Keever, former first vice chair of the party, brings experience serving the state, and she hopes to help the Democrats on a national scale in the 2016 election cycle.

“North Carolina is going to be a battleground state in 2016… we know that, that means we need are going to help elect a Democratic president,” she said.

Executive Director Casey Mann says the new chair could have a tough two-year term.

“In terms of the North Carolina Democratic Party, the chair of the party is an unpaid position, so that makes it very difficult because the person has to be a volunteer… and they are also responsible for raising the money, producing a vision,” said Mann.

Keever said county-by-county collaboration is key for candidates to have successful campaigns.

“To coordinate a program whereby we are mentoring, we are helping each other, we are providing resources to the candidates to the counties, every county,” she said.

A few party leaders also announced their resignations Saturday. Executive Director Casey Mann and Treasurer David Bland are both stepping down.

Keever has 30 days to choose their replacements.

In addition to Keever, the body elected Zack Hawkins to fill the seat for first vice chair, Veleria Levy for second vice chair and Andy Ball for third vice chair. Secretary Melvin Williams was reelected.

– Carly Swanson