Robert Cordle, the chairman of the North Carolina state Board of Elections, abruptly resigned Tuesday after making a lengthy, misogynistic joke to a crowd of 600 elections officials on Monday.
“I sincerely apologize to those who heard my joke at the elections conference on Monday and all those affected by my words,” Cordle wrote in a resignation letter to Gov. Roy Cooper (D). He added that his resignation was effective immediately.
Gerry Cohen, a member of the Wake County Board of Elections who was in attendance at the conference, told TPM that Cordle’s joke was “bizarre.”
“He led off with a greeting, which is not unusual for the meetings I’ve been to through the years,” Cohen said. “It took a while for people to realize that it was really a lengthy, filthy joke.”
“He started talking about cows and steers not being able to mate,” Cohen continued. “It was simply bizarre. Not misogynistic at this stage, simply bizarre. I was just thinking at this point, I’m never going to get those five minutes of my life back.”
“He then got into making an analogy that a steer couldn’t mate with a cow and started an analogy to a wife that wouldn’t have sex with her husband,” he said. “And I was like, what?!”
Cohen described a very mixed crowd with a large number of women in attendance, and the palpable discomfort and bafflement of his table as Cordle’s joke continued.
“This is the kind of stuff — it’s never right obviously — but the kind of stuff I remember from meetings 40 years ago,” Cohen remembered. “These are the kind of off-color jokes I haven’t heard in a while.”
Cohen added that while his position is not a partisan one, he identifies as a Democrat, as does Cordle who was appointed by Cooper.
Correction: The person in the photo originally accompanying this story was misidentified as the Cordle in question. We regret the error.